10/30/2013 AT 11:55 AM ET
For many people, it just takes one or two missteps or deviations from your diet to get frustrated and give up on it altogether. So what can you do to make it work this time around?
Here’s four things to remember.
1. Don’t Base Your Diet on One Food or Food Group
From the grapefruit diet to the juice cleanse, and the cookie plan to the cabbage soup solution, basing a meal plan around one food, or a single form of food prep will inevitably set you up for failure.
There is no magic food, drink, or recipe. More often than not, these diet plans cause you to miss out on essential nutrients and important food groups.
Opt instead for a balanced diet rich in vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
2. Crash Dieting Doesn’t Work
The cycle of “going on a diet” (by drastically reducing the amount of calories you consume) and then returning to your old eating habits doesn’t work. In fact, this pattern can hurt you more than it can help you.
In the short term, drastically decreasing your caloric and nutrient intake can cause mental and physical fatigue, irritability and gastric upset. On a more long-term scale, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, losing and regaining weight over and over again has been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer. It can even impact your general immune system. What’s more, studies show that the more one yo-yos, the more the body’s physiology can change, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
For you to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off, you need to make changes to your normal, everyday decisions and behaviors. Eating well isn’t something we should be sentenced to doing for two weeks at a time – we should be creating realistic, sustainable changes that we don’t turn on and off. If the changes we make are unpleasant or too difficult to implement, they’re surely not going to last long, and before you know it you’re back in the yo-yo cycle.