For a lot of us dieters, we struggle on, we blame ourselves, we feel a failure. But just hold on, before you start on the self blame game, ask yourself two simple questions:
- Is this diet plan the right one for me?
- Is this the right time for me to diet?
You've nothing to lose. Research shows you'll lose the same amount of weight over 3-6 months regardless of what plan you follow - as long as you take in less energy than you use. Effective weight loss simply means using and sticking to the right plan for you. There isn't a magic plan, but there are plans that work better for different people at different times and there is a plan for you for now. The trick is to find it. Experimenting won't do you any harm, you might enjoy it! And of course by trying different plans you will eat less anyway and you will lose weight. Win-win!
You might need more protein; more veg; less exercise; more flexibility; more treats; more discipline. You might have got a plan that means you're losing weight too quickly or too slowly to keep you and your body on track. If your diet strategy ain't working, fix it! Keep going till you find a plan that you can live with for 3-6 months and give it a go. If you get the right plan, you'll find that you're not just losing weight successfully but you're putting in place a way of eating that keeps you slim and healthy for the years to come.
Sometimes diets don't work because it's just not the right time and you have other fish to fry. This can be really hard to accept. I've spoken to lots of people who say that trying to diet at the wrong time just doesn't work and it is totally demoralising, just at the time when you need every ounce of energy to get by.
Deciding not to lose weight right now is not failure, it's taking control and making a decision that's right for you. But how do you keep positive? Well, first and most importantly, don't despair. It's much better to accept the fact that this is not the time to diet and move on. OK so weight loss is too much, but this can be a good time to begin to prepare. When I was caring for Mum and Dad I read a lot about healthy eating and tried out some recipes. I made sure I exercised when I could. Small signs that things would change one day.
There's a saying that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. That applies to any challenge, whether it's getting a getting back to fitness after a serious injury - see Mel (http://www.melanieryding.co.uk/) or running up and down Ben Nevis (well done Davie! http://www.dingerswhw.blogspot.com/), or losing weight. Yes, losing weight is a challenge just like any other difficult thing we try to do.
I've learnt a lot from my running chums about how important it is to prepare; how despite everything, sometimes you have to step down from a challenge because you're injured or sick. They find it a real struggle to stop and wait until they're recovered and ready, but they know that to reach their goal, that's what they have to do. Same goes for us. Diets are challenges we take on, just like runners take on mountains and deserts and marathons. We need the right training plan and there are times when we have to wait.
So, when those serious diet wobbles kick in, remember this is not failure, this is about winning your challenge. Feeling like a failure will make you fat, don't do it. Keep your eyes on your goal, check you have the right plan; assess what you can do. Draw on the support of your friends; your heros and people who know what you're going through. They're the real experts, they know exactly what it's like.
It took me a few years for my time to come and when it did I was ready and raring to go and I went for it. I succeeded. You can too.
Take care and good luck!