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How to create a diet plan you don’t hate and to stick to it
Thursday, 17 January 2019 08:38

You've probably heard of a million dietary plans to help you eat better and lose weight. But many diets, fad or otherwise, require restrictions I can't sustain and I expect immediate results I'll never see. With all the problems surrounding diet plans, how can you pick one that actually works? All it takes is a little self-knowledge and dose of reality.

With the enormous number of diets in the world you'd think you could find one that doesn't suck. Oftentimes you don't fail because of your choice, but because of how you approach it. To pick a diet that actually works, you not only need to remove the options that don't fit your needs but also understand the personal roadblocks that get in your way.

Set Realistic Expectations

You can pick any diet you like, but if you expect to see any significant results in a day, a week, or even a month you'll set yourself up for failure. When you start restricting what you eat, it feels like you've made major sacrifices and deserve some sort of payoff—or at least an indication—that your hard work will make a difference.

Unfortunately, you won't get that kind of immediate satisfaction. All diets take commitment and you won't see results quickly. But if waiting three months or so to see a significant change seems like a lot, think about all the years you've spent failing to meet your fat loss goals.

If you know you'll struggle to remove certain foods from your diet, Ian yourself off of them. Going cold turkey will only cause cravings. Unhealthy eating will make it harder for you to lose weight, but if you don't spend time adjusting to the different foods your diet requires you may end up with another failure. Make sure you plan for a transitional period and don't just jump head first into your new diet.

Pick a Sustainable Program

You can't approach a diet successfully without knowing how you relate to your food. You need to understand what you like, what you don't, what you expect to crave, and so on. Don't approach this as "choosing a diet", but rather "choosing an eating style." Unlike a diet, an eating style is sustainable, can be done for the rest of the life, and implies more flexibility. Ask yourself: "Can I eat this way the vast majority of the time?". If the answer is "yes," you've made a good choice. If the answer is "no," choose something else. Don't make any change you don't believe you can keep.

Chose a Diet That Creates Good Habits

If you've found an “eating style” you think you can sustain, you've whittled down your options to the best. Before you choose one, however, you ought to consider a few more things. You need to create good habits but you need flexibility and balance. For instance, you need to cook more so that you can cut down on processed food. That said, choose a way of eating that enables you to still have a social life. You should be able to go to most restaurants and order something—even if just an appetizer and a side dish—that meets your needs.

To make sure you cook, just plan meals ahead. Learn a few staple dishes first before you start your diet so you don't throw yourself into a ton of overwhelming work. You can have a lot of fun cooking if you learn to play and make simple things that you enjoy.

Tailor the Diet to Your Needs

Although the basic tenets of nutrition are universal (i.e.: eat plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, eat fermented foods, have very low amounts of added sugar each day), everybody is different in how they respond to eating styles. Listen to your body first and foremost. One person's dietary panacea can be another's dietary kryptonite. Be weary of dietary plans that make outrageous claims and/or that demonize healthful foods. A way of eating that encourages you to eat unlimited quantities of certain foods as long as they're "allowed," or that implies that the second you eat a "not allowed" food you are essentially giving yourself cancer, should raise a red flag. Think about what you need and create a plan you know you can stick to. If you find you can't make the progress you want after a few months, you can always make adjustments along the way to better suit your goals.

Don't Forget to Exercise

Make sure that any weight loss program you consider is partnered with a solid and consistent amount of physical activity. If the program you're considering looks good but doesn't contain any specific exercise information, consult your doctor to design a safe and comprehensive exercise program.

Consult a Professional Before You Jump In

This post offers advice but you should never make major changes that affect your health solely based on something you read online. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician before you significantly change the way you eat.

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