How to Succeed at a Diet

Perhaps your pants are feeling like they have shrunk a size or two? Or, maybe the warm weather has reminded you that it is soon to be “bathing suit season”. Either way, realizing that it is time for a diet is the first, and most important step to losing weight and becoming healthier.

According to Loyola University Physician, Jessica Bartfield, M.D., “only twenty percent of people who diet actually lose weight and keep it off.” This number is staggering.

There are several factors that contribute to diet failure:

  1. Improperly tracking calories consumed and calories burned
  2. Poor sleep habits
  3. Inadequate water consumption
  4. Cravings
  5. Social Pressure
  6. Body Rebellion – headaches, dizziness, crashing

These triggers to diet failure can be very helpful in planning your diet strategy. Knowing ahead of time what your obstacles may be will put you in a position to plan accordingly. Regardless of the diet you are choosing, the key fundamentals should be a) you are creating a deficit in calories b) eating nourishing and wholesome foods and c) observing your “diet” as a lifestyle change.

8 Steps That Will Help you to Succeed at a Diet:

  1. Track your progress. Create a chart or download an app that will track your weight and measurements. Commit to a weekly check-in to take and record your weight, body fat %, and measurements.
  2. Throw away all non-compliant food. Cravings happen, especially in the first two weeks of a diet. According to Whole30, cravings only last for 3-5 minutes at a time. Do not keep anything in your house, car, office etc. that you could grab during this time of weakness.
  3. Stock up on healthy snacks. Having a can of nuts, healthy bars, or fruit on hand in between meals will set you up for success. Make sure that you have plenty of easy-to-grab food around.
  4. Diet with a friend. Doing a diet with a friend will help you remain accountable! If nothing else, you will have someone to trade recipes with and lean on during moments of weakness.
  5. Give yourself a penalty and a reward. Before beginning a new diet, write down a penalty for failing your diet and a reward for achieving it. Giving yourself a penalty will make you think twice before making an exception.
  6. Prep, prep, prep. I can’t emphasize the importance of food preparation enough. Pick out your recipes ahead of time and dedicate two or three days a week to making storable and freezable meals.
  7. Get plenty of sleep. Inadequate sleep changes your fat cells. According to a study by the University of Chicago, when your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess.” In just four days, your sleep-deprived body’s insulin usage will be disrupted. When this happens, fats will circulate in your bloodstream and your pancreas will overproduce insulin. Eventually, the excess insulin will store fat in body tissue and organs. Not only will this affect weight loss, it can also lead to diabetes and several other chronic health conditions.
  8. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water will help you feel more satiated and will also help your body burn more calories.

It only takes 66 days to change a habit

It’s important to remember that many people gain the weight back quickly after finishing a diet. Thinking of your “diet” as a lifestyle change will help you achieve long term health and optimal weight success. The best way to achieve this is to continue healthy eating habits that you learned during your diet. Remembering that it only takes 66 days to change a habit will help you to overcome your bad habits and create new ones. You can do it!

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2 thoughts on “How to Succeed at a Diet

  1. I have found that step one, keeping track of what I eat is so powerful but some of the apps make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. I think its about finding the best one that works for you. I also am a big fan of having healthy snacks available for those moments of weakness.

    1. I totally agree with you, Laura! It can be a lot of work, but it’s so important to know what you are taking in calorically and also in terms of nutrients on a daily basis. I’m so glad this works for you too.

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