Climbing Back on a Different Wagon

We’ve reached the point in January where many (or most) people who started a diet on January 1 have fallen off the wagon.  Plans to completely revamp their eating and/or exercise have proven to be too unrealistic and so they are dropped, completely.

I propose another plan.   This is one where you learn from the mistakes you made in your stringent New Year’s resolution and revamp it to something more realistic; as opposed to letting it all go.

When it comes to dieting or exercise, we tend to be all-or-nothing people (especially in America).  Either it’s kale and mung beans or half-pound fat burgers and onion rings.  Somewhere in the middle is the slow route to healthy and its the one most people overlook.  But it works, you will lose weight, just not as quickly as you once envisioned.  And you can maintain a healthy weight and still have all of the foods you love (just not all at once and in large quantities.)

The first step to getting on a realistic plan is resetting your expectations.  If you lose a pound a week, you are on the right course.  (I can hear the groaning now.)  “But I want to lose 40 or 50 lbs, in say 4 weeks.”  Not only is that unrealistic, it is dangerous.  Most of these unrealistic expectations come from the diet industry.  It is replete with lies and false ads.  Unfortunately we’ve all seen enough of them that we have started to believe them (and we want to.)

Once you wrap your brain around the idea that you should not, and will not lose 5-10 lbs. a week, its time to find the best way for you to slowly work your way to better eating.  If you like the power of the group, I can’t recommend Weight Watchers enough.  Yes, it costs more than a diet book, but it also has the highest success rate of any plan out there.  It is a long-term investment in yourself.  IF you follow it (and that is a big IF) it works and it will teach you how to eat in a way that is possible to use for the rest of your life.  

If you are not a group type person, then there are lots of apps (many free) that will help you track the foods you are eating and the amount of exercise you are getting.  (And that is the magic formula).  You will be accountable to no one, which can be both a blessing and a curse, but you will get a realistic picture of why you have gained weight and what you need to do to lose some of it.  These cost (alot) less than joining Weight Watchers and you pay in your learning curve.  You are on your own to figure out the right foods, the right amounts, the right exercise, etc.  But often that is the best way to find the plan that is absolutely custom designed for you although because its a hit and miss process the weight might come off even more slowly at first.

Today’s post is your late-January pep talk.  My time behind the scale taught me that this is the time when so many are on the verge of quitting.  Make today the day you pick yourself up, give yourself a pat on the back for the few pounds you have lost already or all the trips you did make to the gym (and if was freezing cold, give yourself extra credit).  Take another look at your motivation for starting in the first place then rewrite your plan.  It’s January 29th, time for plan B.

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