When it comes to weight loss and dieting, there is often a mind boggling difference between what we are told will work and what actually works. A quick Google search for ‘weight loss tips’ or ‘weight loss strategy’ throws up endless quick fix, faddy, typically restrictive diets and a range of “secret” ingredients and products. All for sale, of course.
So what actually works? In my experience, the first step should involve setting a goal and making a promise to yourself that you will achieve that goal. Making this promise will be a big step for many people, who might fear the possibility of failure. The best way to address this is to ensure that the goal is realistic, capable of being measured and, if necessary, capable of being broken down into smaller milestones. And if you a fan of motivational quotes, I personally love the following from Wayne Gretzky, a former professional ice hockey player: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
Education, education, education! It is important to understand how many calories and how much protein, carbs and fat you
need based on your health and fitness goals. The next step is coupling this with an understanding of what you are putting into your body. I think this is a vital life skill, especially given the amount of misleading and even incorrect information thrown at us by food companies. MyFitnessPal is a fantastic, free app that helps you monitor and better understand the food you are eating.
What if I have a bad day? For most people, dieting is not going to be smooth sailing. If things plateau / slip along the way, it is important to: (i) focus positively on the progress you have already made; (ii) reflect on why things went wrong and learn from the experience; and (iii) draw a line in the sand, redefine your goal if necessary and move on.
Consistency is key. It is important not to be impatient and to remember that results take time. This is one of the messages I hear top fitness professionals repeat over and over and over again. Once you have set your goals and you start following a particular diet, have the confidence to stick to it. At the same time, remember to monitor your progress and change your approach if things aren’t working.
Finally, enjoy the food you eat and learn what works for you. There are people who can eat dry chicken, broccoli, plain rice and the odd handful of nuts forever, but this is totally unrealistic (not to mention completely unnecessary) for most people. You can and should incorporate treats, cheat meals and even entire days off into your diet. By introducing this element of flexibility and by finding an approach that fits into your lifestyle, you will not only enjoy your food more, but you will also be less likely to slip up and more likely to eat consistently.
As you can see, I am of the opinion that the success or failure of any diet is going to rest on you, your mindset and the framework you put in place to make the right nutritional choices. In other words, (brace yourself for a cheesy sign off) the real secret to successful dieting … is you!
See more at: http://www.freshfitnessfood.co.uk
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