The No. 1 thing most diets have in common is the lack of stick-with-it-ness. Many of us equate the word diet with short-term deprivation, something you go â€œonâ€ and ultimately go â€œoff.â€ In a survey out this week, a UK food company found that of those who diet regularly, two out of five quit within the first seven days, one out of five last a month, and the same number–just 20%–make it to the three-month mark. Iâ€™ve seen this pattern often. Before working with me, most of my clients have dieted repeatedly, and while each attempt â€œworkedâ€ for weight loss, it wasnâ€™t doable long-term. The solution: pinpoint the pitfalls, and implement savvy strategies to fine-tune your approaches. The five real-life tweaks below can keep you from throwing in the towel, so you can succeed at sane, sustainable weight loss. headache-both-sides-400×400.jpg , physical and mental fatigue, irritability, digestive upset, and brain fog; feelings some of my clients have referred to as withdrawal, and others have deemed zombie-like. Nobody wants to feel this way, and the truth is, changing your diet for the better should leave you feeling energized, light, clear-headed, and happy.
How to fix it:
Revisit your history, and vow not to repeat previous missteps. You know your body better than anyone, which means you probably know exactly whatâ€™s made you feel miserable in the past. When I ask my clients about this, I tend to hear the same responses over and over – too few calories and too little carbs seem to be the biggest culprits. And when I ask, â€œIf you could go back in time, what would you do differently that may have helped you feel more balanced?â€ most people have an intuitive response thatâ€™s right on target, such as building in an extra snack, increasing portions, or adding back some fruit. While it may seem illogical to eat more when trying to lose weight, trust your body. Yes, you need to cut back to shed pounds, but undercutting your bodyâ€™s basic needs can compromise your metabolism and your health, which is why you get such strong â€œstop it alreadyâ€ signals. To succeed, take a Goldilocks approach â€“ not too little, not too much, just right.
diet-food-teeth-health-400×400.jpg generally indicates that your diet is imbalanced or inadequate, which can cause your body to conserve energy, and resist weight loss.
How to fix it:
To lose pounds and inches without perpetual hunger pangs, include healthy foods that boost satiety and keep you fuller longer, namely those high in lean protein (organic eggs, poultry, fish, beans and lentils), fiber (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils), and good fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive and coconut oils). A 350 calorie meal of one cup of vegan black bean soup, topped with a quarter of a chopped avocado, two cups of grilled asparagus, and a half cup of cooked quinoa, will leave you feeling a whole lot fuller than a 350 calorie frozen diet dinner. Another smart strategy is to choose foods that allow you to eat more volume without racking up excess calories, including water-rich fresh fruits and veggies, and airy starches, like organic popcorn and puffed whole grains. One half cup of organic corn provides about 15 grams of carbohydrate, about the same amount in three cups of organic popcorn, and one half cup of brown rice packs about 22 grams of carbs, roughly 8 more than one cup of puffed brown rice.
day-1-woman-eating-cheesecake-400×400.jpg or depression, and culminates in either binge eating, or diet abandonment.
How to fix it:
Ditch the â€œall or nothingâ€ mentality. In that mindset, one small diet deviation triggers thoughts like, â€œWell, I blew it, I might as well go all out!â€ which keeps you stuck. If youâ€™re worried about overdoing it, allow yourself small splurges in ways that reduce the chance of overeating. For example, once a week, split a dessert at a restaurant, or buy one cookie from a bakery rather than bringing home a box.Â Also, be sure to include nutrient-rich weight loss friendly foods that feel like splurges, such as almond butter, avocado, and dark chocolate. Not being able to look forward to and savor your food is a surefire recipe for disaster.
christmas-pie-dress-400×400.jpg (where munching on popcorn and candy isnâ€™t allowed), or go out dancing and volunteer to be the designated driver, so you can sip on H2O all evening. If you get push back, concretely explain why your goals are important to you (e.g. eating better helps you sleep, so youâ€™re more productive at work, makes your heartburn go away, keeps your migraines at bayâ€¦), and ask for support. Your friends may feel like theyâ€™ve lost a partner in crime, but if they care about you, theyâ€™ll make peace with adjusting the way you spend time together.
lowcarb-binge-400×400.jpg , and use Health.com as a resource. If youâ€™re feeling pulled towards the pantry, hop online to check out success stories, read up on meditation, or do a little yoga â€“ each of these things can help dial back the intensity of your feelings, and reconnect you with your broader objectives.
Cynthia SassÂ is a registered dietitian with masterâ€™s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen onÂ national TV, sheâ€™s Healthâ€™s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counselsÂ clientsÂ in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller isÂ S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia onÂ Facebook,Â TwitterÂ andÂ Pinterest.Â