It’s easy to blame diet failures on a lack of willpower, but willpower isn’t meant to be the only tool you use. It’s more like a safety net for when life spins out of control.
Basing your weight loss efforts only on willpower can actually work against your diet goals, says Martha Beck, PhD, life coach and author of The Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace. For instance, research shows that trying not to think about something – like that frosted chocolate brownie – can actually make you focus more intensely on it. When you’re rested, relaxed, and enjoying life, Beck says, you can suppress unwanted thoughts and feelings fairly easily. But when you’re stressed, annoyed, or pressed for time, resisting temptations is much harder. So rather than relying on willpower to get you through, set a goal to develop a conscious awareness of what you eat without obsessing about it.
Fill your pantry with healthy food choices. Toss out all those sugar soaked sweets and
sodas or other drinks made with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. If you prefer bottled
water to tap, keep a supply on hand. It’s easier to grab on the go. The bottom line is if
foods that are not good for you are not around you, it is easier to make the smart decision
of what you can grab and eat.
You can help yourself by finding at least one person who believes in you and your ability
to succeed at your weight loss goals. Our Genetix Program Weight Loss Counselors
are there for you every day to do just that. They have been trained to give you tips,
encouragement and help you to be accountable each day.
Don’t be afraid to start small, especially with weight loss goals. Make your goal realistic,
your counselor can help you do that. Make it easier enough to attain but realistic enough
to feel motivated to continue. You can also set goals in your eating habits, changing the
amount of what you eat daily and substituting healthy foods with bad choices a little at a
Clearly, bigger portions have more calories. And calories are what it all comes down to
when it comes to losing or maintaining weight. Some foods are more calorie-dense than
others: 1 cup of raw broccoli contains 31 calories, so a double serving of 2 cups gives you
only 62 calories. But 1 cup of premium ice cream can easily hit you with 300 calories or
more. A larger, double serving can mean a whopping 600 calories. If you take in more
calories than your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat.
Create weight loss reminders to help jolt your mind out of old habits and into new ones.
Try posting a note on your fridge, reminding you to eat fruits and veggies or drink
more water. Or post notes on your bathroom or bedroom mirror with upbeat messages
like “Remember to breathe!” or “Hey, beautiful!” Post a picture of yourself when you
were thin, purchase a new top or dress of the size you want to get into and hang it where
you can see it every day.
We are all conditioned to do what we have already done. That’s the easy way. Change
is not impossible but it does take work on your part. It usually takes six months for an
action to become habitual. We have to work at it becoming a new habit and then stick
with it to be a new lifestyle that is natural to us. Above all be patient with yourself, this
does not just happen overnight but it can happen.
Before you know it, you will be looking in that mirror with that new dress on and
smiling! You can do this and you are worth it!