Navigating a fat-loss diet comes with challenges, but losing the weight followed by maintaining your new weight is a far harder hill to climb. Setting up habits to make sure you can make that transition is important in assessing whether you will successfully sustain your diet.
Embarking on a weight loss journey often brings with it a sense of excitement. There's a goal you're striving for - a number on the scale, a body fat percentage, or fitting into clothes you once used to wear; there is a direction you are looking to go.
Maintaining it afterward feels a little less sexy. The goal is no longer to lose but to maintain. In this case, there isn’t a whole lot of change occurring, and the real change is the capacity to now maintain the results you worked hard to get.
So why is this so challenging? Here are five reasons you might struggle to maintain and succeed with your diet.
1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
A primary reason for diet failure is setting expectations that are too high. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to burnout and derail your efforts in the long run. If you’ve never spent time driving a car, aiming to be a Formula-1 champion in 2 years is a bit out of reach.
While having big goals can be important, it's equally important to set realistic expectations about those things that you aspire to do. If you expect dramatic weight loss quickly or aim to drop certain food groups completely, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, focus on sustainable changes. Changes that you could see yourself being able to continue to do for a long time. If you can’t see yourself doing it for a long period of time, it probably isn’t a good idea.
2. Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
Proper planning and preparation play a vital role in successful dieting. Without a well-thought-out plan, you are more likely to succumb to unhealthy food choices and temptations. If you find yourself making impulsive decisions about what to eat, it may show a lack of preparation. Meal planning, grocery shopping with a list, and prepping healthy snacks in advance can help you stay on track.
When you fail to plan, you may rely on convenience foods or opt for unhealthy options due to lack of time or accessibility. By investing time in meal preparation and planning, you set yourself up for success and avoid common pitfalls. If meal prep is difficult, find foods that are super easy/quick to prepare but still align with foods that support your goals.
With our RP Diet App, you can enter your meals ahead of time to help you plan your diet. It even generates a shopping list for you, ensuring you have everything you need without doing any math!
3. Eating Your Feelings
Emotional eating and mindless consumption can be significant barriers to successful dieting. If you turn to food to cope with stress, boredom, or emotional distress, it can sabotage your efforts.
Emotional eating is typically driven by a desire for comfort rather than genuine hunger. Similarly, mindless eating, where you consume food without attention to portion sizes or your body's cues, can lead to overeating and hinder your progress. Developing mindfulness around your eating habits and addressing emotional triggers can help you establish a healthier relationship with food.
If you are mindful of your hunger cues and can assess whether you are hungry vs craving something, it can be a bit easier to prevent mindless eating. If you slow down your eating, put down the spoon or fork between bites, and take your time while you eat, it can prompt more awareness of how much you are eating.
4. Lack of Support
Embarking on a diet without adequate support or accountability can make it difficult to sustain your efforts. Aiming to surround yourself with like-minded people who share similar goals can provide encouragement and motivation. If you feel isolated or unsupported, it's easy to become discouraged and revert to old habits.
Consider bolstering your support network. You could join a community like the RP Facebook group or find an accountability partner. For the ultimate level of support, consider the guidance of an RP Coach. They won't just offer you a personalized diet plan, but also a comprehensive support system. Regular check-ins, constant communication, and constructive feedback form the backbone of the coaching relationship, ensuring you're never alone in your journey.
5. The All-or-None Mentality
Adopting an all-or-nothing mindset can harm your dieting journey. This mindset often leads to guilt, self-criticism, and giving up on the diet altogether. If you can't see yourself eating the way you are planning to eat forever, it's not a good diet for you.
Consistency is one of the best predictors of success. People fall into the trap of believing that one slip-up or deviation from their plan means total failure. This would be like taking a different road to your destination to see the scenery. You still end up at the destination but enjoy your trip more.
Allow room for flexibility, and when you encounter massive setbacks, learn from them and grow!
Recognizing these signs that could challenge the sustainability of your diet is a crucial step toward long-term success. Establish realistic expectations, emphasize planning, manage emotional eating, seek support, and avoid all-or-none thinking.
Change takes time and patience, but most importantly, consistency. Be kind to yourself and stay focused on the long-term goal. With these tactics in place, you'll not only sidestep common diet pitfalls but also pave your way to sustainable, successful dieting.