Friday, June 8, 2012

Checking Your Attitude When following a low calorie diet
When following a low calorie diet and controlling your weight, attitude is everything. Well, almost everything. To succeed, you definitely need a positive attitude and a good, steady supply of resolve. That means paying as much attention to what’s in your head as you do to what’s on your plate. In the following sections, you find tips you can use to help keep your attitude happy, healthy, and in check.

Finding and maintaining your motivation

Different things motivate different people to start a low-calorie diet and stick to it. You have to find your own best personal motivators by figuring out what matters most to you and what makes you feel good about yourself. Do you want to be healthy, look good, live longer, and feel the tremendous sense of accomplishment that comes from breaking bad habits and developing good ones? The motivators you believe in are the ones that will work for you.

For example, if you believe that eating a low-calorie diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and you want to be healthy, then good health is a motivator that works for you. When you’re tempted to eat that second piece of cake, you can remind yourself that eating double helpings of dessert isn’t a healthy habit because the fat in that cake may raise your cholesterol levels. Or if you’re driven by a desire to look your best, you can remind yourself that double helpings of dessert end up as double helpings of fat on your thighs.

Loosening up

Yes, following a low-calorie diet takes a good deal of determination and self discipline, especially if you have a great deal of weight to lose and plan to stay on your diet for some time to come. You have to be strict about the amount of food you eat, and willing to follow a new set of lifestyle rules.

But at the same time, changing your thinking, eating, and exercise patterns takes flexibility and open mindedness. Be open to new ideas. After all, whatever you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been working for you, so clearly you need to try something new.

You can help yourself adjust to the idea of change by challenging yourself in small, nonthreatening ways. For instance, if you normally eat the same breakfast every day, try something new, just for one morning. (You can find plenty of ideas in Chapters 6 and 12.) Think of ways you can be open-minded that have nothing to do with food, too. Buy a shirt in a color you don’t normally wear but that you think looks good on you and wear it. One of the things you’re teaching yourself with these types of challenges is that you can survive change, and you may even enjoy it. After you open up your mind to these smaller, temporary changes, you may feel more confident approaching the larger lifestyle changes with a low-calorie lifestyle.

Staying positive

With the right attitude, your chances of succeeding, sticking to your plan, and losing weight greatly increase. A negative attitude, on the other hand, only prevents you from pushing on and moving forward in your new lifestyle. If you have trouble replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, the section “Thinking mindfully,” later in this chapter, can help.

Are you ready? If all or most of the following statements are true for you, then what are you waiting for? Start managing your weight today.

  • I can make a commitment to myself to follow through on my diet, no matter what else is going on in my life.
  • I can make the necessary changes in my diet and exercise program.
  • I can spend time at the beginning of each week planning my meals and exercise routine for that week.
  • I can continue to find ways to stay motivated until I reach my goal weight.
  • I can assess my plan from time to time to make sure it’s still working for me.
  • I can figure out how to accept lapses and setbacks as opportunities to come up with new goals and strategies, not to use them as excuses for giving up.

Any “false” answers point out the areas that need special attention. To work on those areas, use the goal-setting tools in the next section.

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