In the United States, more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Being obese can increase your risk of a number of serious diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
When a person’s weight is in a healthy range, it has benefits for the whole body as well as the mind.
However, losing weight can sometimes feel easier said than done. It’s quite common for people to bounce off a diet plan they just started, and roughly 80% of people who manage to lose weight end up gaining some of it back within a year.
Are you sick of attempting to adopt a weight loss plan only to feel like you can’t ever stick to it? We’ve put together this list of tips to help you stick to your diet and exercise plan so you can look and feel your best.
Shift Your Mindset
Believe it or not, your success with diet and exercise has a lot to do with your mindset. According to psychologists, your core identity and how you see yourself can predict your actions. One study from Syracuse University found that the more a woman is dissatisfied with her body, the more likely she will avoid getting out there and exercising.
On top of that, another study found that just thinking that you’re overweight can actually predict gaining weight in the future.
When you worry or get down on yourself, your body releases a stress hormone known as cortisol. This hormone can actually increase the fat distribution around your midsection. For this reason and others, it’s important to understand the role that your mood plays on your overall health.
Consider learning stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing or yoga, or simply engaging in relaxing activities like listening to music or taking a bath. Another important component of your overall health as well as weight loss is ensuring that you’re getting as much sleep as you need every night.
Find Your Reasons “Why”
One really important thing to figure out that can help ensure that you don’t bounce off your diet plan is understanding why you want to lose weight in the first place. What is your motivation?
This is a time when it’s good to be as honest as possible with yourself. You will likely need to accept that you will need to make habit changes in order to be successful. Be straight with yourself about whether or not you’re ready to do what is necessary to achieve your goals.
You will want to prepare before you embark on your journey rather than starting a diet on a whim. You will also want to work up to certain new habits over time, and you’ll want to anticipate any obstacles you might face. This can help you avoid sabotaging yourself or bouncing off your diet entirely.
Empower Yourself By Learning
One way to help you stick to your diet plan is to learn more about different foods and how they impact your body and wellbeing. Additionally, learning about the many benefits of exercise for your overall health can also empower you to see your weight loss plan more as a journey to holistic wellbeing rather than simply reducing the number that pops up on the scale.
Engage in Mindful Decision Making
When you stop to think about it, it’s amazing how much we do simply on ‘autopilot.’ Becoming aware of the need to deliberately choose what we’re doing and what we’re eating can make a big difference when you’re trying to lose weight.
It can help to keep a log of your food choices as well as how you feel and what your mood is like. The goal is to create a conscious connection between the decisions that you’re making and the thoughts that preceded them. Through this process, you might learn why you tend to make unhealthy choices when you do.
Create Small, Attainable Goals
It’s easy to get excited when coming up with your weight loss plan to imagine extreme, sudden changes in how you look and feel. The best way to get to where you want to go, though, is actually through small, sustainable goals regarding things that you have full control over.
Learn the Power of Positivity
Many of us get caught in negative cycles of thoughts and surrounded by negative people. If you feel like this statement applies to you, consider how you could surround yourself with more positive people and encourage the adoption of positive thinking. This can help to price an emotionally healthy environment that gives you the space you need to invest in yourself.
Find Sources You Trust
There is so much information available these days about diet and exercise that it can be pretty overwhelming. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to go about it, it’s just about what works for you.
That being said, sometimes having someone to help guide you can be essential. Otherwise, it can be difficult to weed through all the different advice about the best foods, the best exercises, and the best lifestyle habits.
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Consider Healthy Ways to Reward Yourself
It isn’t uncommon for people to pick up the habit of food being a reward. This can end up creating a nasty cycle of rewarding yourself for doing a good job with your diet during the workday by indulging in less healthy food.
Rather than viewing exercise as a punishment and food as a reward, try to shift the way you think about it. Both exercise and eating are ways that you help yourself feel your best and care for your body.
There are a lot of other forms of rewards that can be more suitable when you’re on a diet plan for weight loss. Whether it’s a day at the spa, allowing yourself an afternoon off to do something fun, or simply buying yourself something you want, consider alternative rewards to help keep you motivated.
Practice Intentional Breathing
Consider incorporating intentional breathing into your daily routine, whether when you wake up, before your workout, or simply throughout the day. This is a great opportunity to slow down and set your intentions for your day or workout. It helps you connect with your body and can even help to reduce stress.
Lose the All-or-Nothing Mentality
When you decide to adopt a quick weight loss diet plan, it’s easy to pick up an “all-or-nothing” mentality. However, this is actually a lot more likely to lead you to bounce off your weight loss goals entirely. If you set unrealistic and strict activity and dietary goals, your setting yourself up to be disappointed and give up.
Rather than simply focusing on losing weight, it’s a good idea to think more about your whole health. This includes both your physical health and your mental health.
Give Yourself the Time You Need
The best weight loss plan isn’t the one that helps you lose weight the fastest, but rather the one that helps you reach your goals and keeps you where you want to be. Patience is absolutely essential during this process and everyone loses weight differently.
Rather than having longer-term goals that are more abstract, focus on shorter-term actionable goals. Maybe this means committing to taking a 20 minute walk every day or incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet every day. Whatever your goals are, actionable goals can be a lot more useful than grander, less concrete goals.
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Examine Your Unhelpful Thoughts
It’s easy to get into patterns of thought as a person. While this is sometimes useful and healthy, other times we can have troubling thoughts that dictate our behavior.
Becoming self-aware of your thoughts can be a good idea to help boost your mental health, and it can also help you stick to your weight-loss food plan and exercise routine in a healthy way.
Learning how what you’re thinking is influencing your behavior is one of the most effective ways of making new habits and having them stick. For example, if you have a negative internal dialogue when you look at yourself in the mirror or if stressful thoughts always send you to the fridge, the first step to changing your ways comes from recognition of your thoughts.
Treat Yourself Like You Would Treat a Friend
We are always so much harder on ourselves than we would ever be on others. This is particularly true when it comes to our ideas about body image and beauty. Rather than scrutinizing yourself and criticizing yourself endlessly, step back and think about how you would treat a friend if they were in your position.
You will be much more likely to meet your goals if you are kind to yourself than if you are unforgiving. Give yourself the compassion and respect that you would gladly give to any of your friends.
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Move Beyond the Scale
A scale can be a useful metric when it comes to weight loss, but it’s not the only metric. Being at a healthy weight is a lot more complicated than what your scale says. Weight loss can also be about feeling good, looking how you want to look, feeling able to move around in the way that you want, alleviating pain and discomfort, and improving your mood and energy.
A lot of times, people put way too much emphasis on the number they see on the scale. In reality, though, it’s totally normal to have fluctuations in weight even within the same day, up to as much as 5 or 6 pounds. This means that weighing yourself every day might not be a very helpful metric when it comes to your diet plan for weight loss, and could end up discouraging you for all the wrong reasons.
Don’t Let One Bad Decision Throw You Off Your Goals
It’s easy to ascribe “good” or “bad” as a descriptor for different kinds of food. In reality, though, all food is just food, and there is nothing wrong with allowing yourself a cookie or a glass of wine every once in a while. The problem is when eating patterns become habits that build up over time and contribute to an undesirable outcome.
Be Realistic and Focus on What Is Attainable
Everyone is going to start their diet plan for weight loss at different places. When you decide that you want to change your lifestyle and lose weight, it’s easy to try and radically change a number of your habits overnight. While it’s great to have a picture of how you want to live, make sure that you are creating a realistic plan for yourself.
For example, if you want to cook for yourself more but you have little time and little experience with cooking, don’t expect that you will start cooking healthy meals from scratch every weeknight. Similarly, if you’ve never gone to a gym before, going for a 15-minute walk as a goal rather than expecting yourself to start lifting weights at the beginning is a more attainable goal.
When it comes to weight loss, you have to start where you are. Making changes will take time, and doing so gradually will help ensure success.
Are You Ready to Start Your Weight Loss Journey?
As you can see, a lot of what you should do in order to help stick to a weight loss plan is also good for your overall health and wellbeing. After all, you are a complex system, and decreasing the number that shows up on the scale is only one part of the equation.
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