Developing and maintaining a diet mindset that is both healthy and effective can be difficult given our traditional views on conventional dieting. In general things tend to get easier the longer we persist with them, unfortunately dieting is perhaps the exception to this rule.
By nature diets are restrictive, whether it’s counting calories, measuring carbs to protein ratios or avoiding sugar, we tend to focus most on what is forbidden.
Some believe that this is counterproductive, tell people they can’t have something and you’ll quickly see how far they go to get it…or at least how much time then spend actively missing it.
Entering into any form of weight loss program requires the correct mindset in order to succeed and perhaps the best start is to have realistic expectations.
We are surrounded by promises of ‘quick fix’ diets and weight loss programs, ‘eat this or drink that and you’ll lose fat faster than a Kardashian marriage’, ‘Drop two dress sizes by avoiding this food’ truth is fast diets (or fads) are not healthy, they generally don’t work and if they do you can almost guarantee it will be at physiological detriment, the weight will come right back and be harder to shift next time.
The mentality that once the target weight is reached ‘normal’ eating can resume is pretty much where the problem lies.
Reaching and sustaining a healthy weight or creating the desired physique with curves in all the right places is a total lifestyle product and unfortunately not often quickly attained.
The benefits of a lifestyle approach to weight loss are abundant, not only will results last longer but they will be the product of good health.
Importantly though a healthy diet and lifestyle are easy to maintain once the foundations are set. Unlike a diet that can be mentally exhausting leading to increased stress, which in turn will obstruct your goals. Such changes though are initially difficult, you are effectively trying to break and replace some well-worn habits, and to do this the correct mindset is essential.
This being said there is a time and place for restrictive diets that have a distinct endpoint. They can be extremely beneficial in implementing such total lifestyle changes, a short cleanse or detox diet may be the perfect way to prepare both mentally and physically for sustained change.
Essentially though we need to view ‘our diet’ not as ‘a diet’, there are many beneficial eating plans available and choosing the right one to sustain long term is no easy task. Many things must be taken into consideration when planning such a transition, genetic predisposition, your family, work and social situations and commitments, even the availability of free time and personal tastes will all impact upon your ultimate success or failure.
There is little point in choosing a gluten free or vegetarian diet if steak sandwiches are your all time favourite meal.
Incorporating foods and activities you enjoy can turn exercise from a grueling chore into a fun pastime and food restrictions into creative possibilities.
We know the power of determination can achieve wonderful things; we’ve all seen or heard stories of amazing transformations people have made, generally after a health scare or major life event. But your catalyst need not be so drastic, developing the correct state of mind to embark on your weight or health transformation journey is the first but very important step.
Some key tips for managing your diet mindset are:
- accept mistakes
- enjoy in moderation
- be flexible
If you really want that chocolate bar then enjoy it don’t suffer it, you’ve taken a scenic flavoursome diet detour but the course is still straight.
Focus on the whole picture not the scales; is that 5k walk you’re doing every day available getting easier? Remember gradual permanent changes in your lifestyle will generate the most significant results.
A goal without a plan is just a wish; plan to achieve your goals!