It’s one thing to say you’re on a diet, but it’s another thing to be successful at dieting. Being successful is usually the result of finding that balance between the calories you are putting in and the calories you are expending. Seems easy enough! But, if you are lacking a sufficient plan, lack real motivation, are not getting enough sleep or don’t understand how your body reacts to the food you eat, it can be difficult to ever see results. If you find yourself failing over and over again, and are feeling frustrated, perhaps its time to take a good look at what is causing you to fail. Here are 7 reasons your diet could be failing you!
1. Lack of Motivation
If you are lacking real motivation for your diet, you need to identify a real, compelling and motivating reason why you are on the diet in the first place. Is it to step on stage for the first time? Do you want to get back into your skinny jeans, look fab in that little black dress you want to wear to a special event or wear a bikini for your next beach vacation? Whatever the motivation is, it has to be important to YOU. And, it must be important enough to make you say “no” to temptation and “yes” to your plan.
2. No Goals
Without goals, it is very hard to track success. Set yourself up for success by identifying both short and long term goals for your diet. Be sure to make them SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive. Start small by making weekly goals like changing cream for milk in your coffee or eating more protein. Your first long-term goal might be fitting into a bikini, while your next long term goal could be stepping on stage. Each goal you set should keep you motivated enough to keep going and meet your next goal.
3. No Diet Plan
Without a set diet plan, it is really easy to get off track. If you don’t know how many calories you’re putting into your body, aren’t tracking how much protein, carbs and fats you are consuming and are eating certain foods at the wrong times, you are only setting yourself up to fail. Be sure to come up with a solid diet plan that is low enough in calories to cause a deficit to ensure weight loss, but not too low that you set yourself up for failure. Depending on your body type and activity level, you shouldn’t consume less than 1200 – 1600 calories per day.
Aim to eat five to six small meals per day, and make sure each one includes protein. Eat at least half of your meals with a source of high fiber carbohydrates like sweet potato, oatmeal, brown rice or whole grains. The remaining should focus on green leaf veggies and a source of essential fats like flax oil, nuts or olive oil. Eating small meals more frequently will help stabilize blood sugar levels, which means you will be less likely to cheat or go off your diet. If you are unsure how to construct a diet plan, find a nutritionist or dietician that can help.
4. Lack of Consistency
If you are not consistent with your diet, your results won’t be consistent either. You can’t expect to make your goals if you are not doing everything in your power to work toward them; there is no “off time” from a diet. The best way to meet your goal is consistency, and the best way to attain consistency is to use a schedule. Schedule your meals, schedule your meal prep, schedule your grocery shopping, and of course, schedule your workouts. By being really consistent, it becomes a habit, and by becoming a habit, it becomes a seamless part of your lifestyle. It also makes it easier to identify where things are going wrong and how to fix them.
5. No Portion Control
It’s one thing to have a diet plan, but if you are not measuring out your food, it is hard to know how much you are actually eating. Invest in a digital food scale to weigh your meats, a set of measuring cups to measure out your carbs and a set of measuring spoons to portion your fat sources. If you are not eating at home, remember meat, chicken or fish servings are usually 3 to 5 oounces, or the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Carbs, like rice, potatoes or beans, are roughly ½ cup servings, or the size of a tennis ball. Oils or nut butters should be about 1 teaspoon, or the size of a stamp.
6. Junk Food In Reach
If you want to set yourself up for success, it’s best to remove the temptation all together. Make sure you clear out the cupboards of the junk food you might be tempted to eat. Start your diet off on the right foot, and fill your fridge and your cabinets with only the food that is on your diet.You will be less likely to indulge in something if it’s not there—chances are you won’t make the effort to go outside of the home to get it.
7. No Back Up Plan
If you always have a back up plan, you are less likely to stray off your diet. If you know you have a social event you will be going to, like a birthday party or a wedding, ask for a special meal request, eat before you go and/or bring your food with you. If you are traveling for a vacation or work, call the hotel ahead of time to see if they have healthy options or book a suite with a kitchen so you can prepare healthy meals. Be sure to bring healthy diet appropriate snacks like nuts, protein powder, tuna, veggie sticks and/or fruit with you. This will ensure that you don’t get stuck in an airport, in traffic or at an event without a healthy food choice.