Despite how motivated you may be to stick to your new diet plan come the new year, we all know how hard it is to say no to those leftover mince pies and other winter comfort foods. Although most people’s efforts to motivate themselves appear to consist of a ‘New Year, New Me’ Facebook post, or the purchase of a gym membership that will never be used, experts say that these are motivation killers.
Diet experts say that these are no more than frivolous gestures that provide an illusion of progress, and that rather than make you want to keep going with your diet plan, they instead make you complacent and less likely to succeed. This is due to the fact that they emulate some form of progress, making you believe that you have done something towards your goal when you in fact have done nothing. This kind of method, along with setting large goals like ‘lose 20lbs’, are almost sure-fire ways of failing according to experts.
They claim that rather than setting large unobtainable goals, or doing things that don’t involve actual dieting (e.g. a Facebook post), dieters should set themselves short-term, obtainable and incremental goals. They recommend keeping a journal, in which you can write down everything that you have eaten to make sure that it is in accordance with your diet plan, and also so you can give yourself to-do lists of small goals. These can include things like ‘don’t snack in between meals’, ‘go to the gym today’ or ‘only have a main when I go for dinner tonight’. They say that these goals prevent people from giving up too easily, which is what a daunting long-term goal of ‘lose 20lbs’ would do, and instead make you feel like you have achieved something every time you complete a small goal and give you the feeling of progress.
All of these small things eventually add up to the completion of a large long-term goal, and you will have found it far easier to stick to your diet plan. Other recommended methods include talking to others on diets to share tips or even to vent frustrations and increasing time spent doing hobbies – this will take your mind off of feelings like hunger, and if it is an active activity then you will be losing weight whilst having fun!
Written by Matthew McKillop