The diet industry is one of the most profitable in the world, with millions of people going on diets or joining weight-loss programs every year. There are so many available, the options are mind-blowing!
In spite of their prevalence and myriad options, however, diets have a staggering, near-95% failure rate according to a Scientific American study. What can you do to ensure you stay on the right track? How do you choose the right diet for your lifestyle? That’s exactly what we’re here to discuss.
Before starting any diet program, have an honest conversation with yourself and identify several things: your specific long- and short-term goals, motivation, triggers, and the strategies that will keep you committed to those goals. By beginning with these things and following our tips below, you are much more likely to succeed.
5 Strategies for a Successful Diet Program
1. Set Realistic Goals
This initial tip is multi-faceted. First, set a realistic target weight for your body, keeping in mind that very few people are actually meant to be 120 pounds. Rather than focus on the numbers on the scale, instead, concentrate your efforts on healthy goals and creating sustainable patterns, like losing a certain percentage of body fat or eliminating processed sugar from your diet. Weigh yourself once a week instead of daily. This helps you avoid becoming obsessed with your weight, allowing you to focus on exercising and eating right instead!
Another realistic goal to consider is how many times a week you can exercise. If you’re too busy to visit the gym three times a week, don’t set that goal! Set a more realistic one, like hitting the gym twice a week instead.
Along those same lines, set small (i.e., more realistic) food-related goals, like drinking alcohol only on weekends or ordering a side salad instead of fries. It’s the quality of calories you consume, not their quantity, that matters. Healthline found that it’s simply not realistic or sustainable in the long run to adopt a calorie-restrictive diet if your goal is lasting weight loss. You’ll feel better when you achieve small goals and “wins,” motivating you to stick with them and tackle bigger ones.
2. Eat Your Veggies to Succeed with a Diet Program
Aim to fill your plate with mostly vegetables, followed by a small number of proteins, good fats like avocado and fish, and grains. This balance helps regulate hunger. WebMD notes that vegetables are also a great source of dietary fiber, meaning they help food pass through the digestive system, making you feel less sluggish and increasing your energy levels.
It’s said that it can take three weeks to form a habit, so in order to change your eating, add vegetables to at least two of your daily meals. Soon, you’ll have a solid, healthy routine.
3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Exercise is a crucial part of any successful diet program. That’s because exercise supports weight loss by burning excess fat, something that diet alone can’t do. Moving your body boosts your metabolism, which, in turn, helps keep weight off, boosts your energy levels, and may even help you sleep better.
The key to successful long-term weight loss is combining a healthy diet program with exercise. As a bonus, exercise releases endorphins, AKA “the happy hormone,” so when you practice a regular workout routine, you naturally feel more positive. And as you know, a positive mindset is absolutely crucial to succeeding with a diet program.
4. Be Prepared!
Losing weight — and more importantly, keeping it off — takes significant time and effort. It’s a long-term commitment that will have many ups and downs, so you must be fully prepared before embarking on your weight-loss journey. An important part of success is preparing for the changes in your eating habits and lifestyle.
Quite frankly, going on a diet can be scary and overwhelming, which is why choosing a program that fits your lifestyle is so important. By doing plenty of research and preparing yourself both mentally and physically before even starting your diet, you are far more likely to succeed!
5. Schedule Cheat Days to Succeed with a Diet Program
No foods should be 100% off-limits in a successful diet program. By building in a cheat day or cheat meals once a week or so, you can prevent binge eating. It also provides a much-needed mental break from your diet, enabling you to stick with it. Remember, any diet that significantly cuts calories can be harmful, so introducing a cheat day (and doing it in a healthy way!) can equal a successful diet program.
One thing to keep in mind is that dieting increases your stress sensitivity. As you know, stress makes us want high-fat foods, so by allowing yourself one “bad” meal or day each week, you can alleviate that stress. You’re much more likely to succeed in your diet program if you’re relaxed and have achievable goals.
At the Dr. Urshan Weight Loss Center, we don’t believe in fad diets or promote “quick fixes” that result only in short-term weight loss. There are many better ways to maintain a healthy weight; our programs depend on natural, scientifically proven approaches to diet. We will never recommend things like diet pills, instead focusing on creating personalized weight-loss plans that will get you results! If you’re ready to learn more about the services our center offers or to book your initial consultation and body composition analysis, contact us today!