Is a weight loss diet part of your New Year’s plan?
If you’re making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, you can up your chances of success by creatively and purposefully making a plan. Willpower is way over-rated. So are very restricted diets. Here are some diet resolutions that actually bring success.
For ideas specific to diabetes and prediabetes, check out Resolutions for Diabetes and Prediabetes.
5 Weight Loss Diet Strategies That Really Work
- Focus on the process, not on the outcome. Emphasize your new behaviors and habits instead of the pounds lost. It’s your habits that will carry you through long term. Too often dieters focus on how much weight they can lose or how quickly they can lose it. I don’t see real success with this. Losing weight and keeping it off require new habits. Focus on behaviors and the process of building new habits. Learn the 5 steps to building healthy habits. And turn your goals into specific behaviors. A vague goal – like eating better or eating less – won’t get you very far. Set your goals so they pass the stranger test – if a stranger reads your goal, he or she will know what you plan to do. Here’s an example: Every Monday this month, I’ll take 5 pieces of fruit to work for an afternoon snack for each workday. It’s a behavior (for which you have 100% control) and it’s specific.
- Eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal and snack. They’re low calorie, filling and drastically underconsumed. Yes, if you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables, you have lots of company, according to the CDC. Diets rich in these nutritional treasure troves are linked to less obesity, as well as less type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Make it easy on yourself. Prepare extra veggies or a larger salad at dinner, so you can enjoy leftovers for lunch. Stock up on canned and frozen produce. Start making a list of how you can pile on the fruits and veggies.
- Aim to end every meal feeling better than when you started. Ideally you’re a bit hungry when you sit down and pleasantly satisfied when you finish. Weight loss diet or not, it’s not a smart idea to eat to discomfort or to eat foods that aren’t satisfying. Check in with yourself during your meal and after eating to see how you feel. Try to eat mindfully and with intention.
- Build in treat foods. Give up the notion of cheats and focus on treats. Yes, you’re entitled to treats even if your pants are too tight or if the scale hasn’t made you smile lately. (By the way, find out what are the 5 things you should know before stepping on the scale.) Treat yourself regularly to the foods you love. Learn to fit them in to your healthful eating pattern instead of “cheating” on them. Chocolate is my thing, and I look forward to it daily. I’d much rather you eat a couple squares or a handful of chocolate-covered almonds every single day than to gorge yourself once or twice a week and then beat yourself up about it. Give yourself permission to love the living daylights out of it. I do! Then remind yourself that a little bit of fun food in an otherwise healthful diet is just fine.
- Vow to use empowering language. Words matter! “I’ll never lose weight” or “I’m doomed to get diabetes” are terribly negative statements. And they’re very unhelpful. Instead turn your thoughts – which are not facts, by the way – into empowering words. “I wish I had made better food choices” is more accurate and less defeating than “I’ll never lose weight.” Few words are more negative than never and can’t. Often I hear people say things like, “I can’t eat in that restaurant.” What they really mean is that they choose not to eat in that restaurant because there are few menu items that fit with their goals. Someone else might say, “I can’t have chips in the house because I can’t control my eating.” It’s more accurate to say, “I choose not to have chips in the house because I haven’t yet learned to control my eating. Listen for the can’t, the never and other negative words. Vow to deliberately choose more empowering language.
Really, there are many more than these 5 strategies to help your weight loss diet. I chose these because they come up often in my work and because they all emphasize permanent habits, behaviors and ways of thinking. What tips can you share for creating New Year’s resolutions or anytime goals to support weight loss?
Please share your tips in the comments section.