Ah, February. The time of the year when my email box gets flooded with desperate emails from women who started yet another diet (Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Juice Detox – you know the drill) full of hope and New Year’s commitment, only to strain, suffer, deny, and deprive and still not lose the weight. Almost always they subject lines read “My Diet Doesn’t Work,” or, even worse, “I’ve failed at another diet.”
It sucks. It sucks to put all your hopes into a diet plan AGAIN only to have it fail AGAIN. It sucks to struggle with food plans and workouts and still see no results. It sucks to get your motivation mojo up year after year only to feel like a failure just days or weeks when the magic fix isn’t so magic after all.
So, what are you supposed to do when you diet doesn’t work? I mean, it’s calories in/calories out – right?
Calories in/calories out is only one aspect in weight loss – and it’s affected by a whole stream of things – hormones, stress, sleep, mood…and on and on.
So what’s a gal to do?
1. Stop the yo-yoing. Dieting – especially calorie-restrictive diets – creates a system that teaches your body to hold on to fat. It slows your metabolism. And it sets you up for a pattern of failure – and that’s not good for your health, your motivation, or your attitude.
2. Be the tortoise. You remember the old Tortoise and Hare story, right. The tortoise picks a pace he can sustain and keeps moving. That’s what you need to do. No fancy get-there- quick diet or exercise program is going to work – not long term. You simply can’t keep it up. Willpower runs out. Life gets in the way.
Choose behaviors and strategies that you can keep up – 2 months from now, 2 years from now, 2 decades from now. If you can’t imagine following a meal plan a year from now – don’t start following it now – you’re wasting your time. Eating and moving are forever activities – so piece together a strategy that works for you no matter what’s happening in your life.
3. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep (no more “I’m too busy to sleep” humble-brags.) If you have a real sleep problem, get some help. Find healthy ways to de-stress, and/or cut out things that aren’t serving you. Say “yes” to yourself more often – even if it means saying “no” to other people.
4. Be patient. Fat loss occurs over time. It’s the result of making more healthy choices than unhealthy ones. Practice making more healthy choices – and focus on that. They add up – day by day.
Stop giving the power of your health and well-being to the diet industry. Start taking control of your weight loss journey – one day, one bite, on move at a time. Make 2014 the last time you ever say: “My diet doesn’t work.” If you’re interested in learning more and developing a plan that works for you, contact me or comment below – and I’ll help you get real, sustainable results.