If you’re wondering how to stick to a diet when nothing seems to work then read on.
Have you ever given up on a diet or supplement plan? Did you get excited with initial results but over time you saw old habits – and weight gain – creep back in?
You’re not alone and the £2 billion UK diet industry has little to show except for disappointment, rising obesity rates and lifestyle related disease.
You know what you should be doing, and repeated attempts to improve your health demonstrate your desire to change.
So what is the problem?
The reason diets don’t work is because change – any change, even a small change – is hard. Diets usually require BIG changes that are too much effort or too uncomfortable to do forever.
Unfortunately however, if you do want to see a change you have to, well, change. Change something.
What you do day in and day out makes you who you are. What happened last time you tried dieting for a few weeks or months? Chances are you saw some changes, but the likelihood is that your old habits crept back in and before you knew it you were back where you started.
This is because change is hard, and making change stick is hard. Here’s what to do about it:
Make a change that’s easy. Make it so easy that you can’t fail. So easy that if I asked you to score your confidence on a scale of one to ten, you would just gasp ”pfff, of course I can do that”.
Okay, so what change should you make?
That depends, but if anyone knows you, it’s you. You are you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So when it comes to deciding what change to make, you could probably answer that question yourself. If you want some inspiration however, a great place to start would be right here.
Make it easy. Seriously easy. We all need a ‘WIN’, and from there you can make progress one win at a time.
How Alison Stuck To A Diet
Alison is bright, capable and highly successful in many departments of her life. She has a fantastic career, social life and family. She is desperate to lose weight however, and like so many of us has been going from one diet to the next for years.
The result? Alison lacks energy, feels sluggish and struggles to concentrate at work. She hates the way her body looks in the mirror and avoids some social occasions due to feeling fat. In addition she has been advised by her doctor to change her lifestyle or risk becoming diabetic.
Alison took some time to reflect, and noticed the following traits to her lifestyle (limiting factors):
- She never exercised or did any physical activity beyond shopping.
- She is starving after work and eats a donut most days on the way home.
- She skips meals at times to compensate for overindulging at other times.
Addressing all of these points together would be a massive overhaul of Alison’s life, and she feels the easiest one to address that would have the biggest positive impact would be point 3 – eating a donut after work.
How To Stick To A Diet? Find One Habit And Make It Easy
Our Conversation Goes Something Like This:
Nico: “Which limiting factor would you like to work on?”
Alison: “I’ll cut out the donuts, while I’m at it I’ll cut out all treats and sweets”.
Nico: “Ok, out of ten, how confident are you that you can do this for two weeks?”
Nico: “So what would make you more confident?”
Alison: “I’ll focus on just donuts – I’ll stop eating donuts” she tells me.”
Nico: “Awesome, so how’s your confidence looking now?”
Nico: “What else could we do to make things easier? What could you eat instead?”
Alison: ”Ok, maybe I’ll have an apple instead”
Nico: “Ok great idea, how would that work for you?. If you’re hungry on your way home would an apple satisfy you?”
Alison: “I’ll make sure I have a apple in my car ready for me to eat. I can do that”.
After further discussion it becomes apparent that Alison eats doughnuts after work because she is starving due to skipping lunch – compensation for the guilt of eating donuts in the first place. To break this vicious cycle Alison decides to focus on having lunch every day.
Alison: ”Skipping lunch means I think incessantly about eating all afternoon, so by the time I go home I have an uncontrollable urge to eat something sweet. Ensuring I eat lunch will mean I will feel satisfied at my desk, It’ll allow me to concentrate better at work and not be starving when I finish. If I keep a bag of apples ready in my car ‘just in case’ an after work snack in needed I don’t think I’ll need a doughnut at all”.
Nico: What’s your confidence in remembering to eat lunch so that you aren’t starving, and so you don’t have the need to eat donuts after work?”
Alison: ”Pfff, oh of course I can do that, having lunch is easy. I have a canteen at work that sells healthy options so there is no excuse. I’d say 10/10”.
Keeping in mind that Alison has tried diet after diet. She needed a new approach. She needed to learn how to stick to a diet so that she could do just that – stick to it – and not allow old habits and weight gain to creep back in.
This process of finding Alison’s ‘limiting factors’ and then figuring out how to break them down into easily winnable actions allowed Alison to identify and start working on one small change – one habit she could practice – for between two and four weeks until it feels easy and automatic. At this point it is time for her to think about adding the next habit – and so on one habit at a time. There is no rush. Take as much time as you need before adding further habits.
Practicing skills and creating awesome habits helps move you away from habits that hinder your progress, and towards habits that help you. One habit at a time you will move towards being your best self and this results in lasting change.
Habit based nutrition teaches you the skills to make lasting change in what you do. This approach will teach you how to stick to a diet – or any goal – so you achieve it.
Skills are broken down to make them, well, easy. Developing skills and habits that work towards becoming your best self takes you far beyond just ‘weight loss’.
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This article’s about sticking to diets, but if wasting money on supplements is something you feel you’ve been doing then save time and money with the essential supplement guide and discover what – if any – nutritional supplements you might benefit from taking.
Thanks for reading. I’m, Nico Valla, your guide at One Habit Nutrition and I’m here to guide you to better health, performance and body composition.
I offer habit based nutrition skills coaching which is a sustainable alternative to diets. I can help you to develop the skills that will allow you to eat move and live better.
In turn this will help you to achieve improved health and body composition and to perform at your best.
Nutrition coaching is unlike diets. It is a process of client led skills coaching and support that empowers you to achieve lasting change.
If you’re wondering how to stick to a diet and fed up of quick fixes, you’re feeling confused about food and exercise and feel like you’ve tried everything then get started with online nutrition coaching here.
Please get in touch if you’re wondering how to stick to a diet or you’d like to discuss how skills coaching can help you to achieve your goal.