Breaking down? Why you can’t stick to your diet and 5 easy fixes

How many times have you vowed to start a diet only to break it before the day ends?

Racha Adib
Racha Adib - Special to Al Arabiya English
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How many times have you vowed to start a diet only to break it before the day ends?

The vicious cycle of starting a diet, slipping then starting again from zero can get you angry at yourself. Calling yourself “fat,” a “failure,” or “out of control” may affect your self-esteem and self-worth. Yet, with all the negative feelings associated with breaking your diet, you can’t help but what wonder why you can’t get yourself to stick to it.

The answer lies not in your lack of discipline or desire, but in your overall approach to dieting. Here are a number of tips to make sure you get your diet off to a good start and maintain it in the long haul.

Find out if you are a perfectionist when it comes to dieting. Do you begin your diets on the first day of the week? Do you describe food as good or bad? Do you eliminate you favorite foods or an entire food group? When you slip on your diet, do you give it up completely and go on a food binge? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions then you could be. The “all or nothing” approach is difficult to maintain. It’s only human to slip from time to time, and the solution is not dropping all the effort you’ve put into your diet.

The key to avoid the “all or nothing” thinking is to shake the idea that losing weight is something you do perfectly for a limited period of time. The fact is, most people who lose weight and keep that weight off make healthy, lifestyle changes in which they practice portion control, incorporate exercise, and find ways to prevent emotional eating.

Just the thought of eliminating your favorite foods can make your life miserable. The right diet is about moderation, not deprivation. Again think of your diet as a lifestyle change in which no foods are good or bad food. Every now and then, consciously allow yourself one of your favorite foods that may happen to lie on the unhealthier end.

If you find that notion difficult, at the beginning you can control your indulgence by allowing a “cheat meal” once a week. Eventually you’ll learn to balance your diet out by making healthy choices most of the time in addition to an occasional give in to cravings.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. While it’s great that you’re determined to begin a healthy journey, but without a proper plan you might never hop on that bandwagon. Make sure you’re prepared. What kind of diet will you be following? Who will prepare your meals for you? Do you know what you’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow? Is it nutritious? Will you be exercising and how often?

Sit down and think about these questions and establish a routine. Most people have success when they reduce the number of choices they have instead of having too many choices. For example, you may want to have two or three choices that you consistently eat for breakfast. You can always switch it up when you get bored. If you find it difficult to create a plan yourself, seek the help of a licensed dietician who can plan the right diet for you that fits in with your dietary needs and the lifestyle you’re following.

People often give up when they don’t see results. Often they are achieving results but they either never see them or belittle them when they do. To see results you must track your progress. There are so many ways you can do that – weigh yourself every week, measure your body composition every month, track your waist circumference or simply try getting into your skinny jeans – and no matter how small your accomplishment is, reward yourself. After all, you’re one step closer to a new, improved, healthier you.

When it comes to losing weight, doing it together is better. Instead of doing it on your own, consider starting your own mini diet club. Research show that friends who slim together have a higher chance of finding results. Women who diet alone have only a one in five chance of keeping the pounds off for a month or more. However, those slimming with friends have at least a one in three chance of continuing to stick to a diet and keeping the weight off for four weeks or longer.

The social support you receive, whether its help in overcoming challenges or getting inspired to lose weight by your friend’s results, can motivate you to keep going. Choose your dieting pals wisely. Look for someone who is reliable and won’t give up easily, someone who has a healthy and balanced approach to dieting, and someone with whom you can celebrate when you succeed.

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