When you’re successful, dieting can seem well worth the effort. It feels oh-so-good to slip into those jeans you packed away and take in the attention that suddenly comes your way. The real test is when everyone gets used to your new slimmer self and the compliments fade away. When life returns to normal and you’ve had a stressful day at work, it can be all too easy to restart old habits. Unfortunately, most of these fads simply don’t work.
But long-term dieting and weight loss is possible. The question is, how do you go from lasting a few days to lasting a lifetime? These tips will help you find success.
1. Make sure you’re ready for change
Of course you want to lose weight, but are you ready to? Losing weight takes time, effort, and sacrifice. You’re going to have to say no when you want to say yes. You’re going to feel uncomfortable when everyone digs into the bread bowl and you have to sip water and pretend you don’t care. The question is: Is weight loss worth it? If you’re ready to give up in order to regain control of your body, then (and only then) should you begin a long-term diet.
2. Remember, it’s a lifestyle
You may naively think when your weight reaches that magic number, you can return to your old habits and still maintain your new figure. Guess again. After you reach your weight loss goal, you may relax a bit too much, and before you know it, your weight has rebounded and all that effort you put in is lost. When you’ve discovered healthy eating and exercise habits that work for you, you’ll naturally want to continue them. These habits should be the type that you can continue for the rest of your life. With that in mind, be careful what diet plan you initially choose as it will be part of your new, everyday lifestyle.
3. Have a solid exercise routine
In addition to eating well, having a regular exercise routine will help shave off unwanted fat and keep your body toned and lean. The experts at Bodybuilding.com suggest incorporating weight training three to four times a week. The other two or three days, alternate in some high-intensity cardio. High-intensity interval training workouts are a great way to burn fat and increase your metabolic rate, and they pair well with weight training.
4. Keep track
If you aren’t keeping track of everything you eat, chances are likely you’re consuming more food than you need to lose weight. Use a calorie counting mobile app like LoseIt! or the Weight Watchers point system to stay in control of what you eat. FitBits or journaling have a similar effect. If you’re not into the effort it takes to constantly track your daily habits, weigh yourself regularly to keep an eye on your body’s reaction to a new diet and fitness plan.
5. Be prepared
Every dieter faces challenging situations. There will be moments when sticking to your diet feels plain torturous. Prepare for these events in advance. If you know cheesecake (your favorite) will be served at your co-workers goodbye party, make sure you have eaten a healthy snack before you show up so you aren’t starving.
If that isn’t enough, pack yourself a healthy treat to enjoy once you’ve resisted temptation and have returned to the safety of your desk. Planning out a strategy for those difficult situations is vital to maintaining a new diet plan.
6. Stay hydrated
You know by now you’re probably not drinking enough water, so it’s time to take your intake up a notch. Prevention says studies show those who drink up to seven glasses of water a day eat around 200 less calories per day than those who only drink a glass. Staying hydrated keeps you feeling fuller for longer between meals — and you won’t be reaching for snacks. It turns out when you’re feeling hunger, you might actually just be thirsty.