Your weight may have spiked over the holidays, but with the new year you’ve decided you’re going to lose those extra pounds and more. Before you lay out your new year’s resolutions, consider these common dieting mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake: You Plan To Diet
Going on a diet implies you’re going to go off the diet when you reach your goal weight. Research shows this approach to dieting simply doesn’t work, yet it remains one of the most common dieting mistakes. Changing your diet shouldn’t be temporary. If you view it this way, you’re likely to regain the weight you lose. The last thing you want is to start yo-yo dieting, which can make it exceedingly difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
How To Fix: Change Your Lifestyle Around Food
Don’t set dieting as a goal for the new year. Instead, plan to make a lifestyle. For example, if you gravitate toward fatty foods, make a plan to ensure that green leafy vegetables make up half your dinner plate. This shifts you toward healthier dining.
Mistake: Your Goals Are Too Broad
Another common error is setting goals that are so broad they’re impossible to meet. Planning to lose forty pounds this year is a worthy goal – but it offers nothing toward how to achieve this goal. It doesn’t include a method or a real plan.
How To Fix: Narrow Your Focus
A good step toward losing those pounds is to reduce portion sizes. This is a tangible, narrowly defined goal, one you can implement daily. Start with choosing to use smaller plates. Then write this goal on a note and place it within view of the kitchen when you prepare food. Having a list of small, easily defined items to follow is much easier to stick with than a broad, vague goal.
Mistake: You Don’t Hold Yourself Accountable
Now that you have a goal, and you’ve put in place the steps you will follow to meet it, how will you test whether you’re on track? Often we fail to make ourselves accountable because we fear failure. Ironically, this sabotages us and makes us more likely to fail at our goals.
How To Fix: Plan To Keep Records
Perhaps you intend to weigh yourself once a week. Plan on making a note of your weight on a calendar. If you decide to increase the amount of vegetables on your plate, make an X on your calendar every time you do. Put steps in place that let you see your progress. A journal or log book can help also if you prefer to record more details. You can get a free, printable food journal here.
Mistake: You Are Too Hard On Yourself
Love chocolate ice cream? Now that you have a weight-loss goal, you’ve concluded that has to go. No more chocolate until next year. This is a classic among dieting mistakes: it makes your goal a chore rather than a challenge.
How To Fix: Learn To Celebrate
Set milestones for yourself, and celebrate these. When you shed those first five or ten pounds, how will you mark the occasion? You could decide you’ll give yourself that bowl of chocolate ice cream you love. This may seem counterproductive, adding high calories just when you’ve reached that milestone. But it’s vital to celebrate your accomplishment, and the occasional indulgence may make meeting and holding to your goals easier. It’s a personal thing – you can judge whether saying “never” is best for you… or whether a non-food reward is a better choice. Be your own best friend in this – but as a friend, help yourself celebrate accomplishments!
So when you lay out your goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them, include a note on how you plan to celebrate each accomplishment. This gives you things to look forward to – in addition to that new body you’re creating for yourself.