When you’re trying to lose weight, even a few bad habits can add up to a large setback. The problem is not just the extra cream you put in your coffee every day. The worst dieting habits relate to how dieters perceive food and eating. Here are five of the biggest bad habits people fight within their weight loss struggles:
1. Bringing Temptation Into Your Home
Dieters report that the number one thing that derails their eating is unplanned snacking. What most of them don’t admit is that they’ve made it easy (almost inevitable) to give in to cravings because they bring tempting snack foods into their homes.
Solution: If you have a history of issues with food cravings, emotional eating, over-eating, self-control, or binging, you absolutely must refuse to bring tempting snack foods into your house. Don’t feel obligated to bring tempting food into the house for your children or spouse. Your family should be able to sacrifice a few snacks on your behalf.
Denial is what makes you bring a bag of cookies into your home while telling yourself “I’ll just have one a day”. Denial is also telling yourself you’ve been exercising a lot when in reality you only got to the gym twice this week.
Solution: Of all the people you should be honest with, put yourself at the top of the list. Don’t try to convince yourself that you have self-control if you don’t. It’s important to be honest about your weaknesses so you can successfully overcome them. As well, don’t rush to celebrate a “success” at something if deep down you know you could have done better. It is important to really push the boundaries of your comfort zone when you’re adopting a new healthier lifestyle. You will know when you’ve truly succeeded by the great feeling of accomplishment.
3. Cheating When No One is Watching
Dieters set the best traps for themselves, and none is more twisted than the trap of food guilt. When you’re on a diet that tells you that brownies are “bad” and “off-limits”, it can actually make them more desirable. By perceiving foods as “forbidden”, you lay the perfect trap for yourself because human nature can’t resist a little taboo now and again. The result is often sneaking foods.
Solution: Don’t eat in secret, ever. Don’t eat in your car, and don’t eat in your bedroom. If you’re going to indulge in a treat go out and do it in a public place. If you’re going to have a donut, have one over coffee with all of your coworkers. Don’t let eating delicious food become something naughty and therefore secretive.
4. Lacking Consistency
If you have ever claimed to have “tried everything” when it comes to dieting then consistency is probably your worst habit. Part of consistency is staying true to your diet plan, but that’s not the whole of it. Consistency is also avoiding the habit of “jumping ship” and moving on to a new diet plan every few weeks. A diet is often a big change for your body to adjust to; it may be getting fewer calories than it was used to, or more protein, or less fat. It won’t adjust overnight. It may not even adjust within a week.
Solution: If you’re trying out a new diet give it at least a month. Three months is even better. Review your progress on a weekly basis and rate your consistency within your plan. Try to be at least eighty percent compliant every week. If after several weeks of being compliant you are still not seeing weight loss, choose to make changes within your diet first instead of just moving on to a new diet.
5. Disconnecting From Food
Sometimes when you’re on a diet food can seem like the enemy. Even avid cooks start avoiding the kitchen like a plaque when they start a diet. They replace their home-cooked meals with pre-packaged diet foods, taking away both nutrition and activity they enjoy. It’s no wonder that some people become so bitter about being on a diet!
Solution: The most healthful, filling, and delicious foods are those made from scratch. Taking the time to prepare your meals when you’re dieting keeps you more in touch with the foods you eat and keeps you from feeling alienated from your food. The more you learn to cook healthful food yourself, the more you will be able to adjust your diet to suit your tastes. Healthy eating will come more naturally to you with every meal.
Weight loss isn’t just a change of size or shape, it’s a change of lifestyle. The habits that have led to your weight gain took years to establish and won’t be changed overnight. Identify the situations that trigger a bad habit and form a plan today for dealing with them. View each situation as a challenge, not an obstacle. Habits are formed through repetition, so the more challenges you successfully face the closer you are to gaining control over your weight.