Mindset is everything – yes, even when you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s often the last thing on people’s minds (pun intended).
When you start a new diet, you become so fixated on calories or macros, what you can eat, what you can’t, and how often you exercise, that you might not consider the emotional and mental challenges that come along with it.
By changing your mindset to one that focuses more on health and not on restrictions, you can set yourself up for success.
Studies repeatedly show that NOW is the best time of day for you to start that healthier diet
Here are some things to remember about developing the right kind of weight loss mindset:
Ditch the Diet Mindset
Why Having a Diet Mindset is a Bad Thing
Obviously wanting to lose weight and actually doing it effectively are two entirely different things.
There’s so much information out there that it becomes overwhelming. Hundreds of diet plans, workout plans, structured plans like WW or Keto, counting calories and/or carbs, and so much more.
A diet mindset goes beyond just figuring out which diet du jour to try, but the obsession and unhealthy habits of being on a “diet” create.
What is a Diet Mindset?
When you have a diet mindset, you focus only on what you eat. The problem is that it’s not usually just eating a more balanced diet, but restricting your calories, cutting out carbs, or eliminating entire food groups.
You may even try to eat as little as possible in order to lose as much weight as you can.
These extremes create an obsession with counting calories, burning fat, and trying to “win” at weight loss.
It can lead to unhealthy habits, starvation, over-exercising, stress, and other self-defeating behavior.
A Better Solution
Instead of developing this extreme diet mindset, decide to take it slow, by changing one unhealthy habit at a time.
Make a list of what you believe are your unhealthy habits, then decide how you will change that habit.
Do you drink a lot of soda? Replace it with sparkling water.
Is your diet high in refined sugar? Try more natural ways to get in sugar, such as fresh fruit.
Do you snack throughout the day? Try adding more protein and fiber to your meals, so you can feel fuller, longer.
The key is to think about weight loss in the long term.
Sure, you could follow a strict diet and lose weight quickly, but will you keep it off? Probably not.
Take it Slowly
It will take time for your body to adapt to this new lifestyle. Think of it this way: it took time to put the weight on your body, so it’ll take some time to take the weight off.
What does this mean? Don’t go on a diet and obsess over your weight. Simply begin to eat healthier and move around every day and your weight will naturally regulate to a healthy level.
Dieting is not a natural way to live.
Yo-Yo Dieting is Wrecking Your Body
If you have ever tried to lose weight, you probably have some experience with yo-yo dieting.
It’s extremely rare for someone to pick one method of weight loss and get it right the first time.
And while there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things, yo-yo dieting can do a lot of damage to your body, and actually make it even harder to lose weight.
What is it?
Yo-yo dieting is essentially when you continue making changes to your diet and/or fitness routine, often to the extreme. Many yo-yo dieters don’t just start and stop the same “diet” or method of losing weight, but often bounce from one diet to the next.
This is most commonly seen with different fad diets and trends, such as trying low calorie, then WW, then Keto or Paleo, then back to low calorie, only to go to a juice fast next.
You tend to stick to each one for a short time, then either stop dieting for a while before starting the next one or jump immediately into an altogether different eating plan.
Yo-Yo Dieting is Actually Worse Than Not Dieting at all
Yes, it’s true. You might think that even if you’re bouncing around between different diet plans, that at least you’re losing or maintaining your weight and it’s a good thing, but it definitely isn’t.
Underneath the surface, you are doing way more damage to your body and mental health than if you never attempted to change your eating at all.
First of all, yo-yo dieting inhibits your metabolism. Your metabolism is smart, but it can’t handle constantly restricting calories, then over-eating calories, then restricting, then over-eating again.
If your yo-yo dieting includes changing up your macros in between big binge sessions over and over again, your metabolism will likely slow way down to compensate.
It’s also really hard on your hormone levels. When you have dietary restrictions, especially extreme ones, you tend to increase the amount of cortisol that your body produces.
This can be bad for your heart health, among other things.
When You Get Stuck in the Fad Diet Loop
It’s really easy to get caught up in diets you see on the news, social media, or if it’s something that all your friends are doing. This makes it hard to stick to just one method, wondering if there is something better out there.
If you keep getting stuck in this loop where you want to bounce from one diet to the next, try these tips instead:
Take your time to research the diet or lifestyle beforehand. Before you consider starting any type of weight-loss method, diet, or lifestyle change, do your research! This alone can often deter you from fad diets that just aren’t for you, or that aren’t based on scientific studies.
Realize that you are an individual with individual needs. Just because your friend, sister, co-worker, or social media buddy are doing a specific diet and being successful with it, does NOT mean you have to do it too. What works for one person is not going to work for everyone.
Consider your preferences and food allergies. A common mistake made with yo-yo dieters is that they go to these extreme diets without really understanding what it will be like.
Remember to look at what foods are or aren’t allowed, what restrictions there are, and what you’ll actually be eating. If you can’t have dairy because of lactose intolerance, then going on Keto where you would be eating quite a bit of cream, butter, and cheese, may not be your best option.
Your Restrictive Diet is Harming Your Weight Loss Efforts
In hopes of losing weight, some people are turning to restrictive diets, where the list of what you CAN’T have is much longer than what you CAN have. Unfortunately, these fad diets can actually jeopardize your health. Let’s take a closer look at the potential dangers.
What is a Restrictive Diet?
A restrictive diet essentially limits you from eating certain foods. While some restrictive diets may require you to abstain from eating meat, others may frown upon consuming carbohydrates. Regardless, the overall goal is usually to consume fewer calories than normal.
Why Are Overly Restrictive Diets So Bad?
So, what’s the problem? Here are some reasons why you want to avoid restrictive diets as much as possible – unless it’s needed for a health issue or food allergy.
- Triggers Overeating
The overwhelming majority of restrictive diets fail to work. In fact, they often cause people to overeat. When deprived of food, your body naturally starts to go into hunger mode. It doesn’t take long before most people hit their breaking point.
2. Causes You to Miss Out on Important Nutrients
In order to maintain optimum health, your body needs to receive all of its’ required nutrients. When eating a restrictive diet, you’ll definitely be missing out on some key vitamins and minerals. Not only can a nutrient deficiency weaken the immune system, but it may also lead to muscle loss. Of course, the likelihood of you developing certain diseases also increases dramatically.
3. Negatively Impacts Your Metabolism
Restrictive diets can cause your metabolism to slow down. This means you won’t be burning calories nearly as quickly. Instead of losing weight, you may actually end up packing on more pounds, not to mention that your energy level will plummet.
Signs Your Diet Is Too Restrictive
If you’re constantly stressing over every single calorie, this is a tell-tale sign your diet is too restrictive.
You also need to consider your personal happiness. When simply eating a meal becomes a source of anxiety, it’s time to find a healthier way of life.
Ways to Avoid Restrictive Diets
One of the best ways to avoid a restrictive diet is to focus on a balance of nutrients.
Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
While there is nothing wrong with treating yourself every so often, try to avoid consuming too many sugary snacks, processed foods, and high-fat dishes.
To maintain an ideal weight, you need to stay active.
Exercising regularly is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, you don’t have to perform any seriously intense activities. Some recommended low-impact exercises include walking, swimming, circuit training, yoga, and cycling.
Stop Dieting and Incorporate Healthy Eating Habits Instead
To lose weight in a safer way, change your diet habits slowly by following one tip at a time. Here are some of the best ways to add healthy eating habits while also changing your mindset about dieting and food in general.
Check the Condiments in Your Refrigerator
You might make a colorful salad with dark leafy greens, bright red tomatoes, and slices of cucumbers, but you may ruin its health factor with a high-fat processed salad dressing.
Start to read the ingredients in your salad dressings and other condiments. Lower fat options are good, but check the sugar grams as well – and keep in mind that 4 grams of sugar equal 1 tsp – most commercial salad dressings (including the low-fat kind) are FULL of sugar.
Think carefully about the condiments that you use, but also, note the proper portion size of the condiment too.
Look for Leaner Meats
If you rush through the meat aisle at the supermarket, then you might grab the high-fat ground beef or the chicken thighs that have skin on them.
Take more time at the supermarket to find the pork, beef, and poultry that have less fat. At home, make sure to trim away any excess fat from the meat after cooking it.
Remember that if you buy processed meat products such as fish sticks or chicken nuggets, then several types of fats or oils are added to the food during the manufacturing process.
As a general rule of thumb – avoid processed foods altogether.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
The problem with many structured diet plans is that they don’t encourage enough healthy stuff, like fruits and veggies. For example, low-carb diets barely allow any fruit and very few vegetables.
You are missing out on a lot of vitamins and minerals by following these types of diets.
Instead, start adding fruits or vegetables to every meal or snack, and your calories will be lowered naturally while you give your body the nutrients it needs.
Final Thoughts – Nourish Your Body
To change your mindset about food and health, focus on nourishing your body, not restricting your food. Don’t stress out so much on calories and carbs, and instead, look at what vitamins and minerals you are feeding your body.
Each meal should have a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat, with a good amount of fiber as well. When you fill-up on these nutritious foods, you have less hunger and cravings for the unhealthy stuff.
Another rule of thumb is to “eat the rainbow” – ensure there is a colorful array of foods on your plate at every meal.
Let’s stop the “diet mindset” now and begin to permanently change the way you eat. Before you know it, you’ll have a stronger, fitter, happier, and healthier you.
If you would like more tips to help you with your weight loss success, check out this article: 5-tips-for-weight-loss-success
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