“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
With more diets in existence than springtime ticks in New England, it’s hard to decide which one will work for you. Before making a selection, I believe we must first focus the mind. Here are our top three tips to prepare yourself for dieting.
- Define your motivation and attach a value
When talking with our clients, friends, or family about dieting, we focus with the establishing a concrete purpose of why we need to diet. It can be as simple as leaning-up for summer, reducing joint stress, or even controlling inflammatory responses. I decided I wanted to trim up and do laundry on my stomach this summer, just kidding, but in reality I wanted to see if I could trim up and make a lower weight class for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions.
Next step is establishing value, for me it was time. I felt as though I was wasting time holding onto those extra pounds, and like my wife, I hate wasting my time. This will work for you, but you need to find what it is that will help keep you on track when the next craving sets in. Last night I had a mental conversation with myself for 15 minutes of why I should eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before bed (I settled on some tea and then ate a PB and J for breakfast). Like marriage, dieting is going to be a compromise. The key point here is, before you choose your next diet, find your motivation for what will drive you to make the sacrifices to see it through.
- Tweak your habits
Our habits can be conscious and subconscious decisions, but identifying them happens before we can change. For me, I’m a late night eater, I love to eat and sleep. It could be schedule related, but it’s important to identify the trigger before solving the problem. My trigger was a combination of boredom and the association of relaxation with eating. This was the hardest pattern for me to break, that and my affinity for fine peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To break my habit I started meal prepping, timed my last meal to be around 5pm, and if I got hungry late at night I would drink some tea or have a small protein shake. The first few days where like Kilimanjaro tough, I’m just imagining here, but I broke the habit and changed my habits. I even noticed that I slept better through the night on an empty stomach, woke up hungry and ready for the day.
The scale, or gravity, will challenge your faith in this process. I debated on quitting at week 4, but knew I’m not going to lose any more if I stop trying. This was a pivotal moment where my diet could fail and cheating begins. I decided to rejuvenate my spirits with a cheat meal, then focused my habits and kept faith in the process. I thought my body is not ready right now, but I can’t lose wait if I don’t continue to try. At the end of 7 weeks I am now down 12 pounds, I haven’t seen 168lbs since I was in college and I feel great. I know this is something everyone can do, embrace the challenge, sharpen the mind and try your best.