So far in Slice’s Healthy Diet Bootcamp, we’ve showed you how to set specific diet goals, we explained the crucial role of healthy snacking, we defined what constitutes a healthy meal plan for fitness and weight loss, we considered meal timing and food combinations and we reminded you it’s important to confront cravings (carbs!). This week — WEEK 6, THE FINAL WEEK!! — we are going talk about ways to stay motivated during your diet, and after it.
Each of the previous blog installments in this series tackled the most important things that come up with my clients, all of whom are working on getting into shape. As a dietitian, I naturally focus on the food, because I know it is very easy to eat 200, 300 or even 1000 calories in the blink of an eye.
Having said that, what you eat, and how you eat it, is just part of the getting-into-shape puzzle. You also need to be active. Exercise is essential to help you lose the weight, and keep the weight off, so make sure to check out Katya Moshen’s blog series, “4 Weeks to a Fitter, Summer-Ready You.” Check them out? Sorry, make that: Do them!
Healthy Diet Bootcamp, Week 6: Staying Motivated During Your Diet and After It
Summer is now just around the corner and you’ve been working hard on getting yourself in shape. How do you stay on track with these healthy lifestyle changes? This is possibly the most challenging part of weight loss (or any lifestyle change) because it is really about forming new habits and changing the way you have always done things. It’s easy to stay motivated when your nutrition and exercise program is working beautifully: your weight is dropping, your energy levels are higher, everyone is asking “Have you lost weight?” These positive outcomes are all encouraging, and keep you going. But what happens when you plateau? What about when you get busy and you can’t stay on top of it?
Well, you might let yourself slip — it does happen. But it doesn’t have to happen to you. Here are 5 tips that will help you bring momentum to that motivation!
Don’t hold yourself to a level of perfection
Perfection is over-rated. Sorry, girlfriend, but you will fall off track. You’ll overeat at a friend’s potluck dinner; you’ll have stressful life events that throw you back into the old habit of emotional eating; you’ll walk by your favorite bakery one day and find yourself drawn in and buying cookies. Not only does slipping happen — life happens. So, don’t beat yourself up. It’s OK; actually, it’s natural. You do not have to be perfect. Why? Because no one is. So, just remember that being successful with your diet doesn’t mean being 100% successful. The key is to keep moving forward after you have days like the ones mentioned above. During those days, even: Don’t throw away the day if you had a muffin for breakfast because you slept in — just have a healthy lunch.
Get a buddy
Support, support, support! You can’t do this alone. I know it may seem like you should be able to, but think about things that you are successful at — did you do them completely alone? Probably not. Get a buddy who will help keep you motivated and help you stay on track. Especially helpful when you feel like giving in to those cravings.
Keep a diary
Time and again, it has been proven that people are more successful when they keep a journal. Track what you eat and drink, and note how you are feeling. It will help you discern patterns, determine what are your challenges, and develop solutions and strategies so you can catch these sidetrackers before they throw you off-track.
Have successful role models
Like anything you want to achieve, having someone to look up to who has achieved what you are working towards is an almost indescribable inspiration. It gives you a visual, and a confirmation that what you want to achieve is achievable. Find someone who will be a reminder that you can do this! A celeb’s fine; so is a family member; so is someone in your office. If it works, it works.
Last but not least, reward yourself. Celebrate the successes, no matter how small you may think they are. Never say: “Oh, I only lost 2 pounds this week.” Booo! Celebrate your achievement! Make it a big deal and give it the attention it deserves. I bet if you gained 2 pounds you would make that a big deal. Instead of focussing on the inevitable bumps along the way, celebrate the positive. Now, that being said, make sure you reward yourself with something non-food related! A trip to the spa; a pedicure; a shopping trip — whatever makes you smile. Remember, you worked hard at this and you deserve it!
This is the end of our 6-week Healthy Diet Bootcamp. I’m sorry to see it go, but I’m sure not sorry to see your weight concerns go! Let me know in the Comments how this program has worked out for you, and please share any insights and advice of your own!
Maria Thomas is a registered dietitian and owner of UrbanNutrition.com.