Starting a diet is easy but staying on it is another story. Old habits are hard to break—according to a 2009 study, it takes approximately 66 days of consistency to start a new one—and not seeing results right away can lead to you getting discouraged, and quite possibly, quitting. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. We’ve listed a few things you can do to help you stay the course.
Set Clear Goals
Are you trying to lose weight because want to get fit? Is it to look fabulous for a wedding two months from now? Or do you simply want to fit into an old pair of skinny jeans? Know exactly why you want to lose weight and list down those reasons. If you're trying to lose weight for a fleeting circumstance like a party, then you can bet you'll lose motivation as quickly as that event ends. When you're entering a new health scheme, make sure to plan for the long haul.
Slow and Steady
Crash diets do not work. We all know that. You have better chances of keeping the weight off if you lose the weight gradually using a combination of healthy eating and exercise. It entails a change in meal choices and physical activities. And since lifestyle changes do not happen overnight, give yourself time to adjust to your new eating habits and gym routine.
Motivation naturally ebbs and flows. For days when you fall off the proverbial wagon, step out and get some errands done. Or fix and organize the contents of your closet. Doing small, achievable tasks that you need to do anyway can restore your belief in your ability to meet your self-imposed goals.
Have a Meal and Exercise Buddy
People tend to stick to their resolutions more when they are accountable to somebody else. Asking a friend to be your gym or diet buddy may keep you motivated to stick with the program long enough to see results. Schedule regular workout days and show up. If they are your lunch buddy, encourage each other by ordering healthy meals together.
Use Available Technology
If you have a smartphone, and you most likely do, then take advantage of apps geared towards helping you lose those pounds. There are loads of free apps out there available to download. From those designed specifically for runners to calorie counters that keep track of the number of calories, you ingest with every meal. There are even games such as “Eat This, Not That!”, which makes you guess which meal is more nutritious and less fatty.
Ditch the Scale
It may sound counterproductive, but you should resist the urge to weigh yourself every day. Weight fluctuates daily depending on several factors, water retention being one of them. Seeing an added pound on the scale might only derail you. Aim instead to follow your meal and exercise plan for a week or two before stepping on the scale. Don’t panic when you do see some additional weight. Some people do gain a couple of pounds when they first start exercising as their bodies begin putting on muscle and losing fat.
Allow Yourself Cheat Days
Cheat days are there for a reason—so you don’t suddenly binge on a gallon of ice cream. Allowing yourself a cheat day where you eat something you love is a great way to stay on track without feeling deprived. If you want to have a chocolate chip cookie on Sundays, go ahead and have it. Just remember not to consume the whole tin and then justify it by saying it’s a cheat day. Everything should be in moderation.
Celebrate Your Victories
For every day that you follow your diet plan, consider it a win on your end. If you’ve lost five pounds after three weeks, reward yourself with a small shopping spree, or get a mani-pedi. If you meet your next goal, splurge on a weekend away at a fun resort. The point is to spoil yourself a little for sticking with your plan and reaching your goals.
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