If you need to lose weight, the entire process can be overwhelming, frustrating, and a little soul-crushing. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Average dieting tips (for those of us who have hectic daily lives) can leave you curled in the corner, in the fetal position, chanting about calories.
Most diets fail.
Not because the person fails but because children, jobs, significant others, illness, and on and on take our time and attention. With every failed attempt, starting again gets harder.
The word “diet” is a dirty word and I’d love for you to stop using it!
Let’s stop setting ourselves up to fail. While there are some people who will total up calories, find time daily to work out, and look fabulous in their gym outfits – they’re the exception, not the rule.Let’s stop setting ourselves up to fail. Be mindful of your body and what it's telling you it needs. #ChangeYourWaysClick To Tweet
Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. That means two-thirds of us aren’t doing the standard things personal trainers and dietitians suggest.
The normal way isn’t working so it’s time to try something different.
3 Dieting Tips to Discard
1. Self-denial is the key to weight loss. It absolutely is not. The moment the human psyche is informed, “you can’t have that,” is the moment you really want it. That’s when the cake, wine, and pasta are most appealing.
2. You’re going to do all the things simultaneously. There’s this expectation that you’re going to quit smoking, start eating right, and exercise until you reach your goal. While there are exceptions, clearly, that’s not how most of our brains work. There’d be a lot fewer bad habits if they did.
3. Exercising half an hour several days a week is necessary. The problem with this particular dieting tip is that it’s highly subjective. Good or bad, we’ve become a sedentary society. For a person who sits all day for their job, then relaxes all evening streaming their favorite show, half an hour of exercise likely isn’t going to happen.
Start as you mean to go on. Honestly, realistically.Start as you mean to go on. Honestly, realistically. Do it for you, not those watching you. #ChangeYourWays #GoalsClick To Tweet
Let’s talk about dieting tips systems that work because they’re meant to compliment your normal life – not pretend it doesn’t exist. Working within the framework of what you already do, what you already eat, and how you already behave throughout an average day.
First is figuring out your starting place.
- STEP ONE: Nothing extreme. No crazy fasting, no juice cleanse for a week, no pills that promise you the moon and deliver squat. This is not about buying expensive equipment, food plans, cookbooks, gym memberships, or whatever the salesperson at the supplement store manages to talk you into that’s helping “everyone” lose weight.
What works for “everyone else” doesn’t have anything to do with you.
Action Plan: Box up all the stuff you’ve invested time and money in and put them in a closet. This is a fresh start. Everything you’ve tried before doesn’t count.
- STEP TWO: Evaluate your current diet. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t pretend you eat all organic or only vegetarian if you don’t. If you have two large fries for lunch or eat ice cream for dinner, write it down.
You can’t fix an issue if you ignore it.
Action Plan: Take three normal (probably busy) days and chart what you actually eat in your phone memo or in a notebook. This is for you, no one else is going to see it, so be real.
- STEP THREE: Think about your daily movement. While one normal dieting tip is to incorporate “exercise” into your errands (take the stairs, park further from the store, or walk where you need to be instead of drive), most people are too busy for that.
It’s not going to happen. It really isn’t.
Action Plan: Along with charting your food, really think about how much (or how little) you move in the course of your real day. It’s okay if you don’t. One of my best friends literally leaves her house once a week to grocery shop. Other than that, walking to the kitchen for coffee is the biggest amount of activity.
Now that you know where you’re starting from, you can think clearly about the next steps to get where you want to go.
- SYSTEM ONE: Determine your goals and be realistic. I’ve heard people say things like, “I need to lose 15 pounds by the end of the month.” Doing something extreme, it might be possible. Unfortunately, the chances of keeping the weight off are very low.
Losing weight slowly, steadily is proven to have more staying power. I like to use the “one-pound plan” – meaning one pound per week. There’ll be weeks you do a little better and weeks you gain a bit but it’s a realistic and healthy goal. Also, remind yourself that one pound per week is 52 pounds by the end of a year.
Don’t wait for a new month or a new year. Give yourself one year to reach your goal from today.
Action Plan: Take your current weight. Figure out your total weight loss desired. Calculating an average weight loss of one pound per week, set your target weight at the end of one year (or less if you have fewer pounds to lose). If you have more pounds to lose, repeat until you reach your goal weight. Remember! It might take one year or two years or even more…but the time is going to pass anyway.
- SYSTEM TWO: Name one small change you’re willing to make. Doing the same thing you’ve always done won’t give you different results. However, while it’s admirable to change everything right now, it’s going to make it harder for you to stick to your plan. The most important thing is getting to that end result…not making yourself miserable.
It doesn’t have to be a big goal but you have to be committed to following through. It takes the human brain about 6 weeks to form a new habit. Once you feel the habit is solidly in place as part of your daily life, pick a new one and work for another 6 weeks to make it stick.
Action Plan: Choose your new “good habit.” Some ideas that have worked for me or others I’ve known: increasing daily water intake, cutting one food item you eat often that isn’t great for you (even if you keep the others), replacing one carb daily with a vegetable or fruit, or getting 8 solid hours of sleep every night.
It doesn’t have to be a big goal but you have to be committed to following through. #ChangeYourWays #WeightLoss #GoalClick To Tweet
- SYSTEM THREE: Decide your daily 10-minute exercise program. Again, it’s nice to think you’re going to start running, cycling, or swimming for half an hour every day but if you (like a vast majority of American adults) live a sedentary lifestyle, you need to work your way up.
Start small, keep it simple, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. There are literally thousands of short (free) workouts on YouTube that show you everything from stretching to yoga to tai chi to high-intensity aerobics. Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t think that if you’re not “breaking a sweat” or “getting your heartrate up” that it doesn’t count as a workout. If you don’t usually do any exercise, even a tiny bit is going to make a difference.
Action Plan: Pick your movement. If you aren’t used to working out, I always suggest deep stretching and breathing exercises. It’s low-impact, improves flexibility, and is incredibly relaxing. You can do anything you like…just do it for 10 minutes every day (whenever you can fit it in but do it).
Be consistent in a way that fits your real life – the way it is now, not the way you wish it to be.
Nutrition and dieting tips usually try to fit you in the mold of the weight loss system…and 95% of them fail.
Instead, fit your new habits into the mold of your actual life.
It would be amazing if you quit smoking or cut portions or start taking a tai chi class – but those things might not work for you at this moment. Maybe (just maybe), if you develop one good habit at a time, it will encourage you to form another and another and another.
Naturally, you won’t know until you try.
Nutrition and dieting tips are only good if you actually incorporate them into your daily routine. Otherwise, they’re just another article you read or video you watch. Nothing more than entertainment or time filler.
It doesn’t have to be that way…you can create the personalized system that works for you, your life, and your current habits. You can start right now.You can create the personalized system that works for you, and your current habits. You can start right now. #ChangeClick To Tweet
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