by Michelle Ellis
Too often, people see the success of a certain fad on friends or celebrities, and think, “Yes! I will eat nothing but apples, and I too will be super-thin!” Fast forward three days, and the sight, taste and smell of an apple is now your personal hell.1. TOTAL DENIAL, MASSIVE SPLURGE
It might seem like a sweet idea to go cold turkey when you first decide to go healthy, but believe me when I tell you, it doesn’t work for 99% of us. That 1% who have inhuman self control might be able to look at a spoon and a jar of Nutella without wishing to join them in beautiful, delicious matrimony, but the average woman cannot. So, the first of a few ways you may be sabotaging your diet? Going too hard straight away. If it means scaling down your junk food bit by bit, or setting aside specific calories to enjoy a little chocolate here and there, that’s okay! You want this change to be a permanent one, so the best idea is not to deny yourself every tiny little pleasure – just plan little ones and you won’t be tempted to eat your weight in popcorn and candy when you go to the movies this weekend.
2. CHOOSING THE WRONG DIET
Too often, people see the success of a certain fad on friends or celebrities, and think, “Yes! I will eat nothing but apples, and I too will be super-thin!” Fast forward three days, and the sight, taste and smell of an apple is now your personal hell. Choosing the wrong type of diet plan for your body and lifestyle is a disaster waiting to happen. Think about your daily needs – do you have a physically taxing job? Stay away from fasting diets. Do you have special dietary requirements? Don’t choose a diet that centers around foods you will have to substitute. When picking a diet, choose one that will serve your lifestyle first, not your weight loss. Fitting it in around your life will make it easier to adopt long-term.
3. NOT BREAKING THE FAST
I could list here the number of studies that have been done showing how skipping breakfast messes up your diet, but then this article would be way too long. Skipping breakfast in fact makes it more likely you will put on weight; because you haven’t “broken the fast” your body will conserve energy in case it needs it later. It also makes it more likely that you will binge eat later in the day – believe me! I know a personal trainer who puts it perfectly: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Read: eat more, earlier, and that midnight Pop-Tart will be no more.
4. NOT KNOWING YOUR TRIGGERS
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” So said Sun Tzu in The Art of War. He might not have imagined that war to be between you and a packet of chips, but sometimes weight loss can seem like a real battle. My advice? Know your enemy – and in this case, your enemy is your old habits. Know your triggers. When are you most tempted? Is it after dinner? On the commute home? At the movies? Learn what your personal Achilles heel moment is, and plan for it – have healthy snacks in the fridge or go to the supermarket early and buy healthier snacks before the movie. In this war, planning ahead is your greatest ally.
5. NOT EXERCISING
Now, I’ll be honest. It’s true that you can lose weight without exercising by having a good diet. However, I guarantee that exercising will make a huge difference. Getting active in whatever way you can for at least 30 minutes a day will not only give you happiness-producing endorphins and accelerate your weight loss, but it will also give long term benefits – your body will naturally lose more calories as it works at a higher calorie burning level. It will improve the health of your heart and brain, and enable pretty much every part of your body to function better – when it comes to your weight loss, why not put yourself in prime position rather than the firing line?
6. SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH TEMPTATION
I have a super-power. Want to know what it is? If there is bad food of any kind in my house, I will find it. I can follow the wafting cartoon fragrance of that cookie/chocolate/donut to its wonderfully tasty origin. I am the Liam Neeson of junk-food hunters. I have a very special set of skills. Junk food: beware. I will find you, and I will eat you. Take a hint from me – with the exception of small, organized portion-controlled treats (like in point one) try to empty your house of temptations. Not having much junk around, believe it or not, dramatically reduces the chances of bingeing on it; and viola! Your diet is saved.
7. PUNISHING YOURSELF
If you do give in to one of the last six sins, don’t punish yourself for it. We all have weak moments, and no one is perfect. What you should do is get back up, learn how you can avoid making the mistake again, square your shoulders, and battle on!
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