You start a new diet thinking that it’s going to work. But it doesn’t. Whether it's losing little to no weight, or gaining it back in the months to come, the diet, in the end, seems like nothing but a waste of time and energy. Ever been there?
According to Tony Cohen, The Founder of the San Diego Keto Club, 98% of the people who lose over 50 pounds will regain that weight in 5 years.
This is because most diets aren’t sustainable long term, and this is the #1 reason why diets fail. The problem is not about dropping pounds; It’s about learning how to stick to a diet that works for your lifestyle so that the weight doesn’t come back.
Creating healthy habits and how to stick to a diet is the topic of the WealthFit course Extreme Human: How To Re-Engineer Your Body for Maximum Energy and Focus, taught by Cohen.
In this article, we’re going to break down a few of Cohen’s tips on how to lose weight, how to keep it from coming back and other biological ways to improve your health — all the while being a hard-working entrepreneur
If you’re going to stick to a diet, you have to have a plan. Keep reading to learn more about this 6 step plan:
- Step 1: Choose The Right Diet
- Step 2: Practice Mindful Eating
- Step 3: Read the Labels
- Step 4: Lose Fat — Not Weight
- Step 5: Get Moving: Exercise
- Step 6: Ditch The Scale
Ready to learn how to diet the right way? Let’s go!
How To Stick To A Diet
Step 1: Choose The Right Diet
Low fat, low carb, Slim Fast, vegetarian, Dash, Paleo, Atkins...the list of diets is endless. If that's not enough, every year there’s a new diet trend that people try. So how do you choose which diet is right for you?
We’ll look at each one next.
How does your personality have anything to do with what you should eat? Your personality determines how much energy you expend.
For example, a person who is more laid back and calm may require less energy and a little less food than someone who is highly driven and enjoys the rush of adrenaline in their day to day life.
Also, if you have an energetic personality, you may already steer clear of caffeine, sugar and other stimulants, so going on a diet requiring you to cut these out wouldn’t make much sense.
It’s easier to know how to stick to a diet when the diet is catered to your own personal needs. This is why it’s important to choose a diet that is best for you — not the diet that is currently trending.
Another reason why there is no “one size fits all” diet is because no two people are at the exact same health status.
If you want to run your first marathon, you don’t start by running 26.2 miles in a day — you start with one mile, and build your way up. It’s the same with food.
You may need to start a diet at a slower pace than someone who has been disciplining their food intake for some time. Going on a rigorous diet overnight can not only be bad for your health; it won’t last, and it will leave an imprint in your psyche that diets don’t work, making it harder to try again in the future.
Also, do you have any underlying health concerns? Are there some foods that you simply can’t cut out based on your health? It's important to speak with your doctor before making changes to your diet.
Being realistic about how to stick to a diet based on your health status can help you be successful.
Yet another way that diets differ from person to person is the varying intentions. Consider the following questions:
- Why are you wanting to go on a diet? More energy? Lose weight?
- What are your goals?
- What is your motivation?
Two people can have the same goal, but different actions to reach it. Determine your point A — where you are now — so that you can know the right actions to take to reach point B — your goal.
Step 2: Practice Mindful Eating
Eating large meals in a short amount of time can not only create comfort; your digestive system requires energy, and this can make you tired.
This is why it’s important to eat slow. The best way to do this is to chew more and put your utensil down between bites. This helps you in two ways:
- You’ll help your body digest your food better
- You’ll enjoy your food more and feel more satisfied, which will lead to fewer cravings
Narrowing Down Your Eating Window
Frequent food consumption puts a strain on your body and digestive system. Today, there’s a host of medical issues related to digestion and the gut. The reason we constantly eat is because of what's in our food. Sugars and other additives create false cravings causing us to constantly feel hungry.
The process of digestion takes about 3 hours. If you eat every three hours, your gut is digesting for 9 hours. Rest your gut longer than you work it.
Because of that, try narrowing down your eating window — the amount of time you eat — by 15 minutes each day.
Intermittent fasting is a very popular way to lose weight and help your gut rest. There is no set amount of time that you need to fast and you should find the time block that works for you.
If you focus on eating high-quality foods instead of sugary low nutrient foods, you don’t need to eat as often. If you’ve failed on how to stick to a diet in the past, this is probably the reason.
Sugar can cause us to have the same brain triggers and cravings as addicts have for their drugs. That’s a powerful pull.
It can be hard to create a habit of eating fewer times a day if we’ve been doing it all our lives, but when you eat less, you learn to appreciate your food more.
The whole point of intermittent fasting is to go as long as you can without eating so that you can give your gut a rest. That length of time is different for everyone. It can also change over time as you get better at it.
Before you do intermittent fasting, or a fast of any kind, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
Step 3: Read the Labels
One of the biggest mistakes people make on a diet is eating when they aren’t actually hungry. Our brains can tell us we want food because we like the feeling of eating, but our bodies don’t actually need the energy.
We are addicted to sugar and the high that we get from it. Even though it’s good for the taste buds, sugar increases risk of obesity, can have a detrimental effect on your immune system, increase stress, and create inflammation in your body.
Many of the foods you eat every day — even these so-called “health foods” — contain hidden sugars.
Did you know that there are 61 different names for sugar? It’s true! Here’s a few:
- Agave nectar
- Barbados sugar
- Barley malt
- Barley malt syrup
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Cane juice
- Cane juice crystals
- Cane sugar
- Carob syrup
- Castor sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
A good habit to create is reading the labels on the food you eat. Knowing what you are putting in your body will help you to make wiser eating decisions.
Step 4: Lose Fat — Not Weight
Losing weight doesn’t mean your increasing your health. There are instances where losing weight is actually bad and gaining weight is actually good. That’s why it’s important to understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss.
- Fat loss is healthy and sustainable
- Weight loss should not be a marker for health and is not sustainable
If it seems like you already know how to stick to a diet but you still aren’t seeing results, it could be that you aren’t eating the right types of food.
Two common mistakes are eating too much fruit, which contains sugar and eating every meal with carbs and proteins. You will want to be careful about what you eat.
When it comes to fat loss there is a simple formula: you need to have fewer calories coming in than going out. It doesn’t matter which diet you follow, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will burn fat.
There are three main sources of energy:
The first two are the body's favorite sources but when they are limited, they will use protein for an energy source.
Even so, only fats and proteins are essential nutrients for the body. The best choice in elimination, then, when cutting our caloric intake is to cut carbs.
If you’re looking to lose fat,
- Eliminate processed foods
- Reduce your eating window
- Adopt a low carb diet
Step 5: Exercise
You need to get moving.
Similar to choosing a diet, the type of exercise you decide to do depends on a variety of factors, including your health, goals, and resources.
Plus, it’s different for everyone. Walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week could be the right exercise plan for you, or if you’re already in good shape, consider creating your own fitness regimen. The list can include swimming, biking, hiking, and more.
The important thing is not just to exercise consistently, but build exercise into your daily routine. For example, take the stairs, leave your car keys at home and exercise to your destination, or get a standing desk for your work.
Yes, you need to get moving. But you also need to stay moving.
Step 6: Ditch the Scale
Ditch the scale — now.
Since you know that weight loss will fluctuate based on a variety of factors, obsessing over it is not wise — or healthy.
Also, keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. You can be slimmer and weigh more than you did before simply because you burned fat but gained muscle mass.
So, how to measure your weight loss progress?
Keep track of how your clothes fit or take a picture of yourself every month, giving yourself time to make progress. But again, don’t be obsessive about it.
Also, don’t use the scale as the sole tracker. Try to pay attention to your performance levels:
- Do you sleep better?
- Are you in a better mood?
- Do you have more energy?
How To Stick To A Diet
It’s not about going on a diet — it’s about sticking to a diet. Use this 6 step strategy to do just that.
If you want to learn more about dieting, watch Extreme Human: How To Re-Engineer Your Body for Maximum Energy and Focus, where you’ll learn step-by-step:
- How to shop, cook, and eat healthy so your diet results become your new normal.
- How to choose the perfect diet for YOU — by analyzing your blood type and personality color.
… and much more!
Yessenia is the Social Media Director for WealthFit. Yessenia is the former owner and head trainer of FIT4MOM Ewa Beach, where she ran fitness classes at two different locations on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.