Weight Loss Secret #4: Find a suitable plan that fits you, don't go it alone, and make sure to set realistic goals for yourself. This approach does not have to be a fad diet!
If you are a veteran dieter, someone who has tried diet after diet, ask yourself this, "Did any diet I ever went on work long term, or did I just gain back all the weight that I had lost originally?"
A wide variety of diets are available, each claiming to be the one, the answer. You are familiar with these advertisements, "Try this, its so easy to follow!" or "You can do it ---I dropped 20 pounds in a week, you can too!"
You try the diet and what happens?
Maybe you did initially lose weight, but chances are you didn't keep the weight off. Very few people experience long term success following a fad diet.
Think about how many thousands and probably millions of diet books there have been on bookstore shelves throughout the years, with more and more coming out all the time. Each claims to have the answer.
This "magic" diet will ultimately fail if it doesn't contain 3 essential elements. Without these, chances are very slim that weight loss will be maintained after the diet is over.
What are these three elements?
The first is goal setting.
Think about where you are, where you want to go and then set some realistic goals to get you there. For example, let's say your goal is to lose 50 pounds. That is a huge goal, the enormity of which doesn't allow for shorter term success.
Breaking that large goal down into smaller goals helps tremendously. Think of it in terms of a series of manageable goals, for example losing five or maybe 10 pounds as your first goal with this overarching goal of losing 50 pounds. Make your goal something that's realistic to strive for.
Once this goal is achieved, set another 5 or 10 pound weight loss goal. Take it slow, although admittedly this is hard to do.
Too often the reasons themselves for losing weight are short-sighted. Trying to lose 15 pounds by next Friday to fit into a pair of jeans that you want to wear to a party is not a very realistic scenario for losing weight and keeping it off.
And who wants to lose weight only to eventually gain it all back again?
A successful eating plan must also be individualized. Does this sound familiar? "My friend Mary lost
15 pounds following the Atkins diet eating mostly meat and protein foods. Since it worked for her, I'm going to try it too."
One problem. You detest eggs, you hate fish, and you really don't care for meat at all! What you really like are breads and grains and other carbohydrate-containing foods.
Do you think the Atkin's diet is a good fit for you? Is it realistic to expect yourself to eat meat and other protein foods exclusively for any length of time? Of course not, you are only setting yourself up for failure!
A deprivation cycle ensues by this refusal to allow yourself foods that you really enjoy. The diet is made into such drudgery that it's too hard to stick with for any length of time.
Once you go off of the diet, as many people found out with the Atkins diet, they quickly gained back any weight which had been lost.
Successful eating plans also have some sort of accountability built in. Weight loss can be a lonely road, and studies have shown that the support and encouragement one receives from others while trying to lose weight can make all the difference between success and failure. Whether it is a nutritionist, a coach or even a group of people who are involved, having someone who truly understands what you are going through, someone that you can share your successes and even your disappointments with, is critical.
When evaluating any diet or eating plan, make sure it is a good fit for you and that it contains accountability and goal setting elements.
Here's to your long term weight loss success!