I’m someone who has spent the better part of her life trying to balance my love of delicious food and desire to be slim and healthy.
Some people make this look so easy. But for me it’s been a challenge. There have been lots of stops and starts. Successes and failures. I’ve tried most of the popular weight loss plans made all the common dieting mistakes – many more than once.
What I’ve learned for sure is that changing your thoughts and behaviors takes work, but persistence pays off.
Finding a healthy weight loss plan that will work for you is worth the effort.
I’ve come to believe that while, there is no one best way to lose weight, healthy weight loss plans share some important qualities. Here’s my take on what the qualities of a healthy weight loss plan that will work are.
Qualities of a healthy weigh loss plan that will work
1. It must allow for your natural food preferences, likes and dislikes. If you love hamburgers and pizza and hate broccoli, a diet that requires you to eat broccoli daily and excludes your favorite foods will not be sustainable. You can begin with the best of intentions and tell yourself that this time will different. You will “be good.” Unfortunately, this goes against your conditioning as a human being. You like what you like and want what you want. I believe that the stress that results from such drastic measures is counterproductive to weight loss attempts too.
2. It must work with your daily schedule or activities. A diet that requires that you eat home cooked meals every day when your job requires that you eat in restaurants several times a week will not work. If you must be on the job at 5:00 AM everyday, a diet that requires a big breakfast will not work. A successful weight loss plan must work with your schedule and activities.
3. It must work with your lifestyle. If you are an outgoing person with a very active social life, a diet that requires you eat pre-packaged meals every 3 hours will not be sustainable. For a diet to work it must fit into your day-to-day life.
4. It must be simple to understand, implement and follow. I’ve read diet books and plans that were so complicated and convoluted, I was tired from just reading them, never mind trying to implement them. The best successful approaches to weight loss are simple to understand and easy to follow.
5. It must require little to no special food preparation. Most of us are crunched for time. A weight loss plan that requires hours shopping and preparing food will not be something most people can stick with. (Although, I do believe that a little extra time in the kitchen is worth the effort.)
6. It must include physical activity that is safe, easy and fun. Any plan that requires several trips to a gym or workouts with a personal trainer will not work with most people’s lives.
7. It must achieve results in a reasonable amount of time. People want to see results. It’s important to be realistic but eventually the clothes need to fit better, the scale needs to move.
The problem with most weight loss plans is that they defy many of these qualities. Sure, they may work well in a lab or some controlled trial, but they just don’t work in real life.
So, next time, before signing up for a diet and/or handing over your credit card to a regimented program, compare it to this list of qualities. If it meets these requirements and you can picture yourself following it’s guidelines for years, then it may just be a plan worth trying.
If not, don’t even bother. Save yourself the time, money and frustration. (I certainly wish I had.)
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