Dieting sucks. We all hate it. Even those who have been “successful” at it – have to keep doing some of the things they did at first.
Those who are successful at it though, recognise the mistakes and work around them.
Getting started is even harder. Here are 5 things common to ALL dieters – both new and old:
They get comfortable with postponing until tomorrow
It’s really easy to push anything off until tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like we won’t do it, because we tell ourselves we’ll still do it. So it eases our minds, while in reality, it’s giving us an excuse.
Successful dieters have these thoughts, but they don’t listen to them. They do what needs to be done, because what they want most matters more than what they want right NOW.
Excuses now will turn into problems later.– Unknown
To overcome this, simply give yourself a reward for performing the task you need to do, and get it done as best as you can. Don’t worry about perfection – progress makes more strides, and absolutely no-one is perfect.
They get comfortable on weekends
What does a Saturday look like to an average dieter? Rest. Relaxation. Pigging out on foods they stopped themselves from eating during the week. No gym. Drinking alcohol and getting drunk, while eating greasy foods at the same time (steak and beer anyone?).
It’s not about the one thing they do – it’s about how they look at the weekend. A typical dieter looks at the weekend as a way to get away from the “healthy lifestyle”.
Of course when we see this as a way to “get away” from something, we’ll tend to go overboard with what we felt we were denied. Thus over-drinking, over-eating, overindulging.
However, a winning dieter looks at weekends as a chance to get in tune with their goals – to their advantage. Catch up on your cardio, get some decent sleep, don’t go overboard with alcohol (which are empty calories), and stick to your waking time.
It will build consistency and make the Monday that usually feels dreaded flow instead. Building a steady routine helps you stay on track and not fall off the wagon.
They don’t focus on progressive overload
The common myth is to mix up your workouts; change exercises every 2 weeks to shock your muscles. This could not be further from the truth.
Typical dieters who aren’t successful will switch out a routine every 30 days or only do 2 week challenges with no plan for afterwards. They change the exercises completely from yoga to running to spin classes, yet wonder why they look the same after 6 months of regular 4x a week attendance.
Successful dieters not only understand the importance of keeping active regularly, but how you have to stick to one thing for a period of time and get good at it. When you get good at something, you need to make it harder to push yourself into growth.
In training, we call this progressive overload. There are so many ways to do this – add more weight, more reps, skipping for 2 minutes instead of 3, more advance yoga poses. This is where change is made. You only change when you grow. And you only grow when you constantly challenge yourself.
They stick to a program and learn the essential exercises that take them to their goal, and they get really good at it. Even if it takes 6 weeks, 3 months or 6 months.
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They overlook the mental aspect(visualisation)
Typical dieters don’t picture how they will look and the habits they will have 6 months, 1 year, 5 years ahead.
They think of only today tomorrow and maybe next week when they’ll be at that wedding (gotta lose those 10 pounds to fit in that dress). It’s easy to get in the moment about what you want right now, because that’s what we want the most.
Those who diet and keep the weight off for the long term think not only about how they will look, but also the action they are taking and how they will keep it up in the future.
In the beginning, visualise how you want to look in 6 months/3 months/ X period of time. When you have hit your goal, you have to visualise how you’d want to be living in weeks to months ie the lifestyle choices you’d need to have to maintain it.
This is a sticking point for alot of people – to a typical dieter the idea that you have to exercise for the rest of your life and watch what you eat sounds like torture or punishment.
Not to a successful dieter – they know that it will take some changes in the beginning but it gets easier over time and becomes so natural for you because it becomes who you are. They also focus on small sustainable changes to avoid getting overwhelmed and quitting.
Make the habits part of your everyday by imagining the “future” you as now – that’s how you make it normal. Visualise visualise visualise.
They care what others think
In the times we are living in, a person who makes conscious effort to improve their health is sadly going to be a minority. When you are in the minority, living your life can become the talking point of others, even those close to you.
An aunt can comment on how you didn’t put enough on your plate, or how you don’t have to go to the gym on a Saturday and just “take a rest”. You may be told or you’re getting too obsessed – when you’re really just being consistent.
I recall a time when I was a student when I brought my homemade lentil salad for lunch whereas most bought cafeteria food, and a senior student looked into my Tupperwear container and commented “what is that? that looks so boring”.
Successful dieters know to ignore what others may say about what they choose to eat, exercise, and when they forgo a night of heavy drinking to sleep early. They know that their path is their own and others may not understand what they are trying to achieve – and they take it in their stride and move along towards their goals.
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Dieting is so hard, and it can definitely by mentally taxing! Thank you for writing this blog, and keeping us informed.