Do you automatically give up every time you have a day "off plan" on your diet? Are you absolutely sick of having zero willpower, caving in to one piece of chocolate and then binging on the whole bar? Do you feel like you're a complete failure and that you'll just never lose this weight? Don't worry, you're not alone! It doesn't take a geeky scientist to work out that most diets don't work long term, otherwise you wouldn't be finding it so damn hard! Would you?
A crap tonne of people find it really hard to be consistent with eating healthy foods. Why is that? One 'bad' meal or 'bad day' leads to a complete meltdown, served up with an entire week of bad choices to follow. It's a common issue and I've come up with three main reasons why this happens (and what you can do about it!).
1. Aiming for Perfection
A common mistake most people make when starting out on a weight loss journey is aiming for perfection from Day 1.
This is what I like to call the 'I'm either ON my diet, or I'm OFF my diet' attitude. Cue the loving partner with their 'she's on a diet again' side glancing roll of the eyes. 'Fuck you', you think. This is MY life, and I'll show you this time. Only this time, your halo slips again and you've proved their doubts right. Again.
So how about this. How about you stop aiming for perfection and just aim to change one or two things right now - and better at them that you were yesterday. Once those things become easier, add another thing. So how about today you start with drinking a couple more glasses of water than you did yesterday and continuing this throughout the rest of the week. Nailed it? Great! Next week keep the water intake up and swap one of your unhealthy snacks for a piece of fruit instead.
Stop trying to change everything at once. You're pretty awesome, but you're not perfect. Nobody and nothing is.
2. Cutting Out Your Fave Foods
Tell me if this sounds familiar...
Sunday night. 9pm.
"That's it, as of tomorrow - NO MORE WINE" (chocolate, beer, crisps, biscuits, whatever).
You're cutting them out and that is that. No more. Done.
Monday morning. 10:30am. Barbara the boss's secretary has just royally pissed you right off. You need a biscuit. You have a biscuit. You've fucked it again. Might as well start next Monday.
If you cut out your favourite foods (or even entire food groups like carbs), you're setting yourself up for a massive learning curve. As soon as you deprive yourself of something, it's all you can think about. That's human nature.
So why not try this instead. Cut DOWN, not out. Swap a couple of your biscuits for something a bit healthier and don't beat yourself up if you cave in. It's not the end of the world, and next time you'll be better prepared.
3. You're Expecting Too Much
Have you set yourself up from disappointed right from the get go without realising it? I see this ALL the time. Outrageous weight loss goals like losing 10lbs in a week (or even a couple of weeks) is unrealistic and expecting far too much from yourself.
Often when you set yourself wildly exaggerated weight loss goals like this, you'll be disappointed when things start to slow down or even stop. It's hard to stay motivated when that happens. Cue: tumbling off the wagon again in epic style.
Instead, think about setting more realistic, long term goals and then splitting those long term goals up into smaller chunks. I'm breathing a sigh of relief just writing that. Feels better, doesn't it?
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