I’m working on dropping 10 pounds right now. One of the commonest diet tropes I’ve heard is “most diets only last 3 days.” I’m pretty sure the reason that’s the case is because for the first few days you are still in the “honeymoon phase” of the diet – you’re still excited about the plan and focused on staying on track, because it’s the Exciting New Thing in your life.
After a few days, though, that begins to wear off. That’s when you need to figure out what it takes to keep yourself focused, so you don’t stray. Here are some of the techniques that I’ve used, or that I’ve seen others use to good effect.
Being accountable to somebody other than yourself works great! This is a big part of weight loss plans that require attendance and weigh ins – they’re not just to embarrass you – it’s to give you one more reason to stay on-target during the week. I know that for me, the challenge to post a good result in front of the person who weighs me in is a big motivator. Also…paying money to be on a program enhances that accountability for me – I don’t want to waste my money!
Group Support Sessions
Slightly different than accountability, but usually dispensed at the same time. Any plan where you get to meet with a trained leader at least once a week and exchange new ideas for ways to stay on-target is helpful. I have gotten some of my best tricks and methods from classes I attended as part of a weight loss or weight maintenance program. A good class leader will inspire and motivate, draw out new ideas from other class members, and send you out the door as fired up and excited about your week as you were the first day you started.
Having a Specific Goal
Having a solid goal with a deadline is a great motivator. “I want to lose 15 pounds by August 1st” would be a great example of a goal. Having a solid goal to meet can help on those days when you find yourself thinking, “What harm is one little bag of M&Ms going to do…?” Well, if you have a specific goal you can say, “It will slow or prevent me from reaching my goal – that’s not worth it!”
Easy to not stray when you just don’t have easy access to foods that aren’t on your program. It’s not exactly in the same category as the motivators I’ve already listed above, but clearing my environment of landmines (foodmines?) makes a huge difference in my ability to avoid diet-compromising situations.
What did I miss? How do you stay focused and avoid straying when that temptation starts to creep in after the diet honeymoon has worn off?