The Greatest Challenges of Dieting – and How to Face Them

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The Greatest Challenges of Dieting – and How to Face Them

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Sigh – where to begin when it comes to the major challenges of successfully dieting.

Obviously the two primary challenges of dieting are that we need to eat to survive – and we get hungry. Like it or not, food is critical to our existence. To compound these challenges, there is a magnificent array of food options these days; the choices are endless and enticing – and not always good for us.

Consider this: We live in a time in which we are all more knowledgeable about what we eat. We know what’s good for us and what’s bad. Food providers are offering more low calorie options. There are nutritional labels on what we buy. And we dare to tell restaurants: “No sauce and I want a take-home box.” Frankly, the ability to make wise dieting choices is easier now than ever.

Stress levels are soaring and comfort food is … well … such a comfort. There may be a few people in this world who react to stress by “not being able to eat a thing.” But most of us find a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips a great comfort after a bad day. Consider this: Yes – it’s okay to occasionally indulge in an evening of comfort when times are tough. But do not let that night’s indulgence carry into the next day. It’s okay to start a new diet every morning. Better a renewed effort than allowing the previous night’s binge eating to become your new life style.

Well meaning friends sabotage us. Indeed they do. Whether it’s from nurturing – or an inner desire to see us fail (yes, that happens!), family and friends making us feel guilty can destroy a diet.

Consider this: Say, “NO!” It’s that simple. If you hurt your mother’s feeling by not eating her homemade dessert, so be it. If she knows you are trying to shed pounds and makes that dessert anyway, then she’s in the wrong, not you. If you’re the only person at dinner who doesn’t order dessert and they all reproach you, stand strong – and shame on them. Remind them you need their support. Here’s the deal: if they care about you, they should support you – not undermine. And they aren’t the ones who have to face your bathroom scale the next morning.

We don’t have time to exercise – or “it’s boring.”

Consider this: Experts agree that even a little exercise is better than being a slug. Can’t go to the gym? Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the distance of a parking lot, pace while talking on the phone, stand while folding laundry, walk fast, don’t stroll. Anything that gets you off your duff is better than sitting. And – honestly – couldn’t you find some time in the day (especially on a weekend) to truly move?

The ultimate diet challenge is that we kid ourselves. We can blame the need for food, stress, family/friends and lack of time, but ultimately, we are culpable for our bad choices and our diet failures.

Consider this:

Don’t kid yourself that …

… the calories burned in a 10 minute walk equates to eating one candy bar.

… skipping breakfast means you can have a pastry at 10 AM.

… cheese and crackers before dinner are a healthy choice

… “just a taste” is calorie free

… the slacks you need to pin shut at the waist because of bulging are not a problem

… one martini and a handful of bar peanuts won’t hurt

… refusing someone’s food offering will make you unpopular

… you’re healthy, even with the extra pounds (yeah, just wait)

… you know it all when it comes to dieting

The solution to facing diet challenges and losing weight? Be honest with yourself. And stand strong against all those excuses to backslide. You need to believe that you are capable of standing up to this challenge.