Cutting down on calories and increasing exercise -- if that's all there was to weight loss, we’d all be thin. But things get in the way of our losing weight and keeping it off, like fad diets and their promises of quick weight loss.
New diets are fun to try. In fact, diets can be successful and we lose weight. However, problems come up when we start to miss our favorite familiar foods.
Gradually, we go back to our old ways. Two-to-six months later we've gained back the weight we lost, and the only thing left of the diet may be feelings of failure, guilt, anger, and shame.
After a while, we find a new miracle diet and we try again. When this diet becomes unbearable or boring, our old eating habits return and slowly we regain all that’s been lost.
For many of us this on-again, off-again diet method can lead to early aging and poor health. It slows down our metabolism, too, making it even harder to lose weight the next time around.
To lose weight and keep it off it's important to discover what your overeating habits are, and change them.
One way to become aware of your eating habits is to keep a food diary for a few days at a time. Write down in your diary what foods you eat and how much, what time you ate it, where, and how you feel physically and emotionally.
After a few days, you can look at the diaries for behavioral patterns to your eating habits. You might discover that you eat at certain times of the day to avoid boredom, or simply for pleasure.
Maybe you’re eating in certain situations, like watching TV, when you have certain emotional or physical feelings, when you're in certain places, or when you're stuck inside the house during bad weather.
You'll discover your own patterns for eating, and what triggers you to eat when you're not really hungry. These are the habits that need to be changed.
Try to replace your old automatic eating habits with new ones that help your weight control program. For example, you could substitute low-calorie nutrient rich snacks for the higher calorie ones.
Plan your meals a week in advance; this can take a lot of the tension away from deciding what to eat at the last minute. Prepare only the amount of food you plan to eat, so you can avoid being tempted to munch on leftovers later.
Drink plenty of water. This can help you feel full and lessen the need to snack.
Remember, change takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep working at the things you want to change for a healthier, happier you.