Learn to Control Your Diet without Letting It Control You

Posted: Feb 11 in Health And Wellness, Nutrition by

Going on a diet usually means following a strict set of guidelines.  You know before you even start exactly how many calories, points or fat grams you’re allowed to consume and your favorite foods are almost always taken off the menu.  You’re led to believe that all you have to do is jump right into the plan and soon you’ll be shedding the pounds. 

Some people have no problem following a strict regimen and are happy to let their new diet plan carry them to successful weight loss.   For most of us it just isn’t that easy.  We start off with the best intentions but within a few days, or even hours, we find ourselves binging on cupcakes and feeling like a failure.  Just the idea of being on a diet seems to send our mind and body into panic mode.  If that sounds like you, then maybe it’s time to try a whole new approach to cutting calories.

Choose a Plan that is Healthy and Convenient

Once you’ve decided you want to lose weight, choose a healthy diet plan.  Fad diets are rarely good for you and it’s important to find a plan that will help you change the way you eat forever, not just for a few months.  It’s also a good idea to pick one that lets you eat real food you can make from ingredients found at your local grocery store.  Pre-packaged meals are convenient but they’re often loaded with sodium and other preservatives and pricey enough to make them impractical for long term use.

Ease Into Your New Diet

After you’ve chosen a healthy diet plan, take some time to ease into it.  Start by keeping a food journal but don’t restrict yourself right away.  Instead, eat as you normally do but make sure to write everything down along with the measuring units your diet uses whether its calories, points, etc.  At first there will probably be a big difference between how much you’re eating and what your diet plan tells you to eat but that’s okay.  You are learning to take control of your diet instead of letting it control you. 

It’s a good idea to start adding veggies and fruit to your diet but don’t force yourself to use them as replacements for your favorite foods just yet.  Give yourself as much time as you need but be aware of everything you’re eating.  Little by little you’ll find yourself voluntarily cutting out extra foods throughout the day.  These small changes will start to make a difference and soon you’ll notice that the numbers are going down with very little effort from you. 

Feeling deprived is the biggest factor when a diet fails.  Giving yourself the initial freedom to eat what you want takes away that feeling and gives you the power to make healthier choices and ease into a plan you can live with.  Within a few weeks you’ll have achieved dozens of little accomplishments and you’ll be well on your way to reaching the required food limits recommended by your diet plan.  

Plan Your Menu in Advance

Once you’ve eased into your new diet, the next step is to create a daily meal plan.  This means you will have to plan and shop ahead of time so you know what you’ll be eating.  You can do this on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis but it is very important that you have this guideline to work from.  Trying to wing it on a diet will almost always guarantee its failure.

You’ll also want to make sure you incorporate some high protein options in your menu.  There are going to be days when hunger will set in and you’ll need an extra boost to avoid a diet melt-down.  Having single servings of nuts and high fiber snacks will keep you from binging on the wrong foods and sabotaging your diet.

Know Your Weaknesses and Plan around Them

Another reason many diets fail is because they force you to ignore your appetite and your weakness.  You’ll have a much better chance of success if you work around your cravings instead of trying to pretend they don’t exist. 

For example, you may be the kind of person who loves a big breakfast or who can’t imagine life without a bedtime snack.  Plan your menu so that enough of your food allowance is available for the times that present the biggest challenge for you.  Of course that will mean cutting calories somewhere else but it will be much easier to eat a smaller dinner when you know you can enjoy a bigger breakfast or that bedtime snack without feeling guilty.

It’s time to stop feeling like a failure just because you haven’t been able to stick to a diet.  Starting a healthy eating plan is just like any other effort to get into shape.  You wouldn’t expect a beginning runner to start with a 10k marathon and you shouldn’t beat yourself up just because you find it impossible to drop from 3000 daily calories or more down to 1500 overnight.  Easing into a healthy diet may take a little longer but it’s much easier to stick to and will give you a better chance at successful weight loss.  

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