Successful dieting requires change. Change is by its very nature uncomfortable. Dieting requires you to move from that familiar comfort zone of hamburgers and French fries. In fact, discomfort will be the new norm. When you are uncomfortable, you are working the plan. Discomfort is your GPS to diet success. As I have said over and over, to successfully diet—lose weight—you have to treat your body to some buffeting. It isn’t going to get a cookie every time it feels like it. It isn’t going to run out and grab a Blizzard just because you saw a commercial for it. Diets shake up the system. Successful dieting says no to excess and yes to healthy portions. Now you may not want to hear about this, but it is going to happen if you diet. Weight loss journeys are just that, a journey—an expedition into the unknown. It’s going where you have never gone before. Your feelings and emotions will try to drag you into the diet failure abyss. But you are going to get stronger and healthier and overcome the discomfort. You will welcome change because it is changing your whole life for the good.
Today is another milestone in my life. Yep, it’s my birthday. I will probably go out to eat. Isn’t that what we do on birthdays? We have had a tradition in our family since our kids we old enough to go out to eat. We always allowed the birthday person to pick where they wanted to eat. One year when our daughter was three, we were in Kingston, NY on assignment with IBM. We asked her what she wanted for dinner and she immediately said Kentucky Fried Chicken. We tried to persuade her to pick one of the restaurants around such as an Italian restaurant as there were many good ones in the area. But she wanted KFC. So we got KFC and sat in our motel room and ate KFC. I’m not sure why that stuck in my mind with all the other birthdays we celebrated at various restaurants, but it adds to the memories of good times and good food. Both of us are on diets today. I’m not sure what that says about KFC but it does say that going out to eat a lot will pave the way for overweight and obesity. Caution is in order as I will decide where I want to go for my birthday dinner or lunch where I can eat ‘on plan’.
I hear someone quietly say, “Why can’t I lose weight?” I don’t know anything about you, but I’d guess you start a new diet every week. Monday is your diet starting day. You find a new diet and say hey I’m only going to eat grapefruit this week. After two days you have lost 2 pounds. Two days later you are thinking this is stupid and you begin looking for another quick weight loss diet. Unfortunately, weight loss doesn’t come from “trying” things. It comes from sticking with it. That’s the hard part. Consistency is the key to continuous weight loss. Find a diet you can live with and one that works and then stick with it through thick and thin. You will lose weight if you stick to the plan. No cheat days, no excuses about having to go to a party. This requires a commitment level which you might never have been able to do before. There are no quick shortcuts to weight loss. If you are going to lose weight ,you have to know you will face every diet obstacle known to man, but you can overcome with consistency. Keep the plan before you and trudge on when the going gets tough. When the going gets tough, the tough eat a carrot stick.
When are the most dangerous times of day for the dieter? If you eat your meals and snacks, that covers most of the time you are awake. But for many people, evening is the most dangerous time. There are many reasons for this. There is that time when you finally collapse on the couch and questions begin strolling through your mind. You feel tired, probably don’t want to think about anything and begin to question life’s big questions. What am I doing here? Why bother with dieting because I only fail? Your feelings are raw, and you’re tired which are two ingredients for disaster. You need comfort. You’re stressed just thinking about all you have to do tomorrow. You are lonely or you are sad. You ponder your purpose in life. You think that the only relief is food, and so you go eat something. If you’re smart, you won’t find any junk. Maybe an apple will help. But knowing that this is a dangerous eating time will equip you with a plan. Maybe a planned light snack. Maybe reading a book. Maybe watching your favorite TV programs. Or maybe get some extra sleep. Don’t let the evening time be your diet demise. Work out an action plan for the evening yawns.
Someone said that the second day of a diet is the hardest. That’s when the immensity of the whole diet process hits you. You sailed through the first day and you thought I will make it this time. Then comes Tuesday morning and you’re saying oh no I’m on a diet and I can’t go out to eat with my co-workers for lunch. There is such a thing as a three-day diet. But not too successful for weight loss over 2 pounds. Plan ahead. Plan a week ahead. Plan tomorrow’s eating today. Then work the plan. Some experts think that most diets last 17 days. That’s when everything begins to fall apart. You have eaten salads until you are sick of lettuce and tomatoes. One diet called the 17-day diet takes into account this problem and changes the diet up a little. Some people just need a little help in seeing that what they are doing has real meaning. You can make it through the second day and the third and so on. Get an image in your mind of how better you will feel, how better you will look, how much more energy and fun you will have when you reach your goal. The best is yet to come. It all is possible, and remember His grace is sufficient to carry you through day two and beyond.
To keep myself mentally awake is one of the cred in the Boy Scout oath. The dieter must keep themselves mentally awake. Diet obstacles are around every corner. The mind thinks and the heart believes. The heart is where our beliefs reside. There we believe that the diet is good for us and why it is good for us. The heart renews the mind. It takes the beliefs and translates them into action. We ponder on things in our mind. What comes out of our mouths are products of our heart and what is racing around in our minds. Mind renewal to our core beliefs about everything important comes from the heart. Feeding the heart with good information generates our beliefs. What we think about can affect our hearts usually in negative ways but with renewed thinking in positive ways. Keeping mentally alert is realizing that we are thinking poorly concerning our dieting endeavors and making the necessary adjustments. When you are beginning to think that dieting is hard and you want to quit, go to your heart and remember why you are dieting and how important it is to you. Don’t let momentary anxiety and depression get you down. Love the diet.
You can’t eat really healthy every day of your life. I read this statement in an article. The takeaway was to reward yourself with a little “unhealthy” treat. My daughter would certainly disagree with this diet theory. I know what they are saying. It’s hard to avoid a cookie or a cupcake forever. There are always healthy options for all treats. A healthy cookie or a healthy cake are certainly options. This theory is a little like having a cheat meal or worse a cheat day. Cheating is just that—cheating on your health. Bad habits have to be replaced with good ones. To cheat or to eat an unhealthy snack is just reinforcing bad habits. Good habits, especially regarding food are hard to establish. Bad habits easily come back to hurt you. Saying to yourself that I’ve done good this week so I deserve to have a cupcake is just adding to the diet struggle. Once you get you weight off, then you could work in a snack you don’t normally have, but make it a healthy one. There is no reason to think you deserve an unhealthy snack for any reason, especially if you think it will make your diet easier. Will you eat something on your diet that isn’t healthy? Not on your diet, but maybe as a temptation.
Much of dieting is found in the planning. If you have a busy schedule, try to plan when you’ll have your three meals in advance. This will help you avoid tempting foods that you may come across during the time of a skipped meal. Skipping meals is never good for the dieter. Unless you are on a fast for some reason, skipping meals will throw the diet off track. If you skip breakfast, which experts say is the most important meal, you will eat more for lunch and dinner. Calorie wise you could do that, but it causes stress on the body. The body has gone all night without food, that’s some 12 hours or so. If you skip breakfast, then it will be another 4 to 5 hours before you eat lunch. If you are dieting, this will cause your body to throw tantrums. Keeping your body away from hunger is a good idea when dieting. Skipping meals will cause hunger and cravings that might be hard to overcome. Plan to have your three meals and I like to add three snacks as well. Some fruit makes a great snack and doesn’t add up to a lot of calories. Plan ahead.
The easier your diet plan is the less you will think it’s hard. Plan for easy meals with simple ingredients. That way you don’t feel like dieting is a chore. I have always been one who liked variety. When Charlene was single she would make a meat loaf and it would last all week. But I have grown in my ability to eat the same thing more often. I eat a chicken sandwich for lunch a lot, and it’s enjoyable. I use one slice of 40 calorie bread, and 8 ounce piece of grill chicken and some mustard and I’m a happy camper. Today I had a turkey cutlet and it made a delicious sandwich. Along with that I have a small salad with romaine lettuce and diced fresh tomatoes with Trader Joe’s low calorie Ranch Dressing. A little lite salt and pepper and I’m good to go. It fills my need for a sandwich and still falls in the parameters of my diet. Many of the diet books I have purchased in the past have complicated recipes. The simpler the recipe the more likely we are to fix it. This is especially true when the plan calls for a minimum number of ingredients such as two veggies a cup each per meal. Simple makes for quick preparation and toss in some spices for taste. Makes a tummy happy.
Eating out is hard to do on a diet. My suggestion is don’t eat out. But if you in a situation where you are eating out, chose a place that has the closest menu to your diet plan. Most restaurants have websites and you can look at their menus ahead of time. Pick the one with the best choices for you. For example, we went to dinner on Mother’s Day. We chose Ruby Tuesday because it had a chicken dish that meets our diet requirements. You don’t need to tack on anything that isn’t on your diet. If you are meeting someone at a restaurant which they chose, then pick the item that most closely matches your diet. Salads are usually good,without the high calorie dressing. Ask the waiter to have your food prepared as you want, such as no extra seasonings on your steak or chicken. Some places marinate their meat so that’s tough to have it totally as you want. There are always items on a menu that are delicious, nutritious and meet you diet plan. Choose carefully and your diet will be happy, and you’ll enjoy a chance to eat out.