How to stick to a diet?

by | Nutrition Questions Answered

Why is it so hard to stick to a diet and not cheat? Many fad diets that claim to work are not sustainable for the long-term. They come with many rules and restrictions that often backfire. Most do not stick with a diet for long even if they see initial results. Have you been on a diet, come close to your goal, and then found yourself going backward?

Help! I keep cheating on my diet.

You are not alone. This is a very common phenomenon for dieters. They are really diligent about following the rules of their diet, but then something happens. They get invited out to eat, they have a stressful day, or they succumb to the temptation of the sweets sitting out on the counter. Then they feel awful, defeated, and like they have to start back at square one.

Finish Line Mentality

Even those who see great results from dieting can struggle to keep things going in the long term. Going on a diet can sometimes feel a bit like a race. You have an end goal in mind and you make changes to reach that goal, but the changes never become habits. At Well-Balanced Nutrition, we call this the finish line mentality.

A few years ago, I had the wonderful experience of participating in Toastmasters. My mentor in the group encouraged me to earn the competent communicator title which required that I give 10 speeches. It was quite exciting. I was time planning, practicing, and presenting a new speech nearly every month. I felt more confident and competent by the end of that year. Then I stopped going to Toastmasters… Luckily for me, I still enjoy practicing and doing public speaking events; however, I stopped gaining new skills and feeling as confident as I did while attending the meetings. This is an example of reaching the “finish line.”

It’s not you, it’s the diet.

Going on diet-after-diet can start to feel like a wild roller coaster ride. At times it’s fun and exciting, but more often it leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated. I bet you could ask a friend or coworker and they would explain this has happened to them too.

Maybe, you thought this time is different and you were not just going on a diet but making a lifestyle, yet you fell off the wagon anyway. Whenever someone takes on a new way of eating we remind people that wellness is an ongoing journey. Making small, attainable changes that can turn into long-term habits is the best approach to reaching your health and wellness goals and that requires continued effort and growth.

 What to do instead of dieting?

Not surprisingly, we recommend the Well-Balanced Way. This includes a few steps you can start today!

  1. First, assess if you are falling victim to the diet mentality. It promises big results if you just keep your willpower strong. Unfortunately, will power is not a great source to rely on.
  2. Second, it is important to make the decision to ditch the diet approach and go another way. It may seem silly, but stating it out loud and/or writing down your goal is a very important step in the journey.
  3. Third, focus on your habits and your unique nutrition needs. Healthy habits are the things you do routinely that honor and serve every aspect of your health and well-being.

Food for thought:

A diet is not like an antibiotic. You do not go on a diet for a period of time to cure yourself of “fatness.” Instead, make the changes and choices that are going to serve you over the long-term and that honor your body.

Lucy Hayhurst

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I need to become in order to achieve this goal?
  • What resources do I need?
  • Who will be on my team?

Would you like a nutrition coach to help empower, educate, and encourage you? We are here to help.

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