Let’s face it. Dieting is no fun. Some call it a lifestyle change or a fitness regimen, and I suppose that’s a way to be positive about it. But it’s still a diet, and it’s hard work. Full stop.
And, unfortunately, as inevitably happens to every dieter ever, after a couple of months (or sooner!) the point is reached where the challenge of dieting outweighs the joy of seeing our clothing get looser.
And, of course you are surrounded by the comments of not just the diet companies, but others (usually those that have never been on a diet), “it took you a long time to gain this weight, so you have to accept that it’s going to take you a long time for you to lose it”, or, “don’t worry the next 3,624 months will fly by in no time”, or even this, “don’t worry, your body will thank you in the end”. Uh huh.
None of which, I might add, are helpful. My body is too busy planning my assassination to get back at me for eliminating pizza, so I’m not expecting any kind of thanks!
Changing the way we consume food is a challenge, and a very personal journey, and it has to be made a priority … or it won’t work.
So, if you’re at the point where you could ravenously down a bag of potato chips and some dip, 2 cheeseburgers, fries and a medium pizza all in one sitting but you don’t want to because you’ve made a commitment to your health … here’s 7 solutions to consider:
Find something to do.
Remember when our moms said “go outside and play”. They were trying to teach us a way to beat our boredom. This is sort of that, but different, and it works. I have always found that the times I have been able to stick to a diet the best were when I had a project going on. Right now it’s this blog, but in the past, I have done a variety of things to keep my mind off my next meal.
Is there a home improvement job that’s been put on the back burner or a large cleaning project that would occupy your spare time? Maybe even a creative project that you started that needs finishing (or just plain start a new one!). I know some of these things don’t sound fun, but they aren’t supposed to be fun, they are meant to keep your mind occupied and stop it from going to the food zone.
Exercise – even if it’s just going for a walk.
I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before – exercise causes our bodies to release endorphins, which are feel-good neurotransmitters from our brain, so they can help beat the blues, blah, blah, blah. The thing is though, it’s true. The other upside I find is that exercising refocusses my mind on what I am trying to accomplish with my change in eating habits … er, sorry … diet! I always start out not wanting to do it, but at the end of the workout, I’m glad I did, and I am always shocked at how good I feel.
Eat so your blood sugar is stabilized.
Make sure you are eating low glycemic foods at every meal and snack. This will stabilize your blood sugar and help avoid cravings. The less hungry you feel, the easier it will be to continue. Here’s my post on the Glycemic Index which explains the whys. It does work.
Sometimes “I don’t want to” can turn into “can’t” – don’t let it.
When I was in my 20s, I began a running regimen. I was running one day with my brother-in-law who is an avid runner. He runs in marathons now, and it’s quite inspiring! Unfortunately, my running career ended with the birth of my first child.
One day when we were running together, I said to him, “I can’t do this anymore”, and he replied, “It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s that you don’t want to do it”. Hmmm. It’s an interesting way of looking at things, and while there will always be things that we truly can’t do, there is a difference between “can’t” and “don’t want to”, and we need to learn the difference between the two. This can relate to dieting too. Let’s leave the can’t for the impossible things.
Go through your old clothes.
I have a number of clothing items in my closet that don’t fit me, but that I can’t bear to get rid of because I really liked them when I bought them. Some of them are things that I purchased in my size only to find when I got them home that the size was small-fitting, but instead of returning them, I kept them thinking that when I lost weight I would be able to fit them. Try some of them on. You will be surprised what fits you, especially if you have lost 10 lbs. or more. This will serve as proof of what you have already accomplished, and inspiration to keep going.
Try to think of a diet like a job that needs to get done.
When we are doing any kind of job, we know there is a beginning, we know there is an end, and we can control how fast we complete the task. Dieting is different. We can certainly take the steps to finish the task, but we have no control over how long the process takes, and we can’t speed it up. This is frustrating.
Sometimes, I think of it like this though. Once I finish a successful day of eating what I need to to stay on my diet, I make a point of thinking, “I don’t have to do that day ever again”. It’s over, and finished. I still have to do the days that are ahead, but I don’t have to do that one again. It’s like have a stack of files at work that all need work done, and each time you do one, you are on to the next and don’t have to do it again.
It’s just as important to look behind as it is to look ahead.
I also look towards the end, around the time when I am supposed to reach my goal, and I think, how will I feel if I reach this point in time, and I ditched the diet two months ago. I will realize that if I had stuck to it, I would be done.
Move the goalposts.
It you are really struggling, promise yourself that you will only continue for another two weeks, and then you will stop and pick things up at a later time. This is usually enough time to regroup, lose a bit more weight and gain some momentum. You are giving yourself control and the permission to stop if you need to, but you probably won’t have to.
Changing our diet habits is not an easy task, but you can do it. Keep your eyes on your goal, and take it a day, an hour, a minute or even a second at a time if that’s what it takes. It will be worth the effort in what you will accomplish in terms of health.