A lot of people ask how to stay motivated during a diet. The first couple of weeks are easy: you make a few changes, you lose a lot of weight, and you generally feel good about yourself. Dieting is a grind though, and before long you hit a plateau and wonder if you’ve become a failure.
The good news is that you haven’t failed. Your brain is just resisting change (it’s kind of mean like that), and trying to get you to take the easy way out. You can overcome these negative urges by following these three steps.
Understand The Way Your Brain Works
Every successful dieter is at least partly an armchair psychologist. This is said in the most positive way possible: you have to learn to understand your brain to overcome your addiction to bad foods and lack of exercise.
The brain’s biggest imperative is to keep you alive with as little effort as possible. This means avoiding work/exercise when it can and eliminating the stress that comes with having to watch what you eat. So how the heck do you beat your brain, with its millions of years of built in instinct?
You beat your brain by using the gift of conscience. You must learn to separate your impulsive mind (which says “this food sucks” or “I’m too tired”) from your conscious mind (which understand that the food is good for you and that being tired is how you get better). Think of your impulsive mind like someone else’s particularly bratty child, one that you actually get to tell to shut up.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Cheat Day
There is a lot of debate when it comes to cheat days. Some people swear by them, others claim that they are the devil incarnate. Both sides will provide sketchy science to back up their claims. When it comes to figuring out how to stay motivated, you’re going to stick to the psychological side of things.
If you’re going to stick to your diet long-term, then there needs to be a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It may sound like a good idea to think of an arbitrary weight that you’re trying to hit; but that number rarely keeps you motivated in the long run.
Cheat days sprinkled out weekly or bi-weekly offer a much more immediate reward. If you can lose x amount of pounds in a week, then you get to indulge a little bit.
Bring In As Many Friends As You Can
Staying motivated has a lot to do with who you surround yourself with as well. If you can bring your friends and roommates into your diet plan, then it becomes much easier to stick with the program. Motivated groups perform much better as well, so finding a few partners could send you to a much higher weight loss level!
Above all else, remember why you got into this diet in the first place. You want to be healthier, and you want to be confident in yourself. You WILL get there. With the information you’ve just been armed with your success is guaranteed.