When it comes to losing weight, it can feel like temptations are lurking at every corner. Many times it comes in the form of family members and even friends. For example, Bob may insist that everyone eats a piece of cake to celebrate his birthday, or your significant other says you deserve some dessert because you’ve worked so hard this past week. Or, perhaps it’s your thoughts that you let rule over you. Instead of allowing people and yourself to provide weight loss support, it seems like everything and everyone is sabotaging against you. If you’re thinking about going on the keto diet, which is a high fat, low carb diet — that we discuss the Body Reboot — you’re going to need to have an excellent support system. That includes yourself. Below are some ways to combat the sabotagers in your life and how you can commit yourself to diet and weight loss success.
Turn sabotagers into weight loss support
Instead of allowing sabotagers to rule over your thoughts and decisions, WebMD recommends turning the negative forces into weight loss support. You can do this by being honest and expressing to them that you need their help.
So how do you keep “food pushers” from ruining your diet?
When you're offered a food that's not on your diet, the best response is a firm “no, thank you” without any explanation, because excuses open the door for arguments, says John Foreyt, PhD, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
If that doesn't work, he says, try, “Thank you, but I'm on a special diet,” or simply, “Thank you, but I'm trying to lose a few pounds.”
However, some people just won't take no for an answer. And saying no to loved ones can be especially hard. That's when it's important to seek support from the would-be saboteurs, experts say. Be honest about what you're going through, and ask them for their understanding and help.
“Food pushers are not bad people. They simply think they know more than you do about how much you should eat,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Jeannie Moloo, PhD, RD.
Don't reward yourself for exercising by eating extra food
Another way you can sabotage your diet is by telling yourself it’s okay to reward yourself for a great workout. Indeed, you can probably eat extra food and get away with it when you’re exercising more. However, Discover Good Nutrition argues that you shouldn’t feed yourself with that excuse regularly; otherwise, you’re going to have a harder time losing weight. By the way — many people lose weight on the keto diet without even exercising, though, exercising is a great way to stay healthy and prevent yourself from gaining more weight.
You reward yourself for exercising with food. Many people fool themselves into thinking they’ve burned off a lot more calories during exercise than they actually have, and they use that as an excuse to indulge.
The fix: Be aware of how many calories you actually burn when you exercise (you can find lots of resources online), and compare that to the calories you’re tempted to take in afterwards. Keep a log of the type of exercise you do and the amount of time you spend doing it. That’s the feedback and the reward you need.
Not allowing your significant other to sway you
Sometimes sabotaging hits a little too close to home, literally. U.S. News says there’s such a thing as a “Sabotaging Spouse,” and when this happens, you have to suggest other ways to reward yourselves, such as doing something else that’s fun together.
The Sabotaging Spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) feels insecure that you’re losing weight while he or she isn’t and worries that many other people will find the healthier you attractive, Gloede says. This person will insist on having cheesecake or some other dessert after dinner at home or in a restaurant or suggest going out for beers, and when you demur, will accuse you of not being fun anymore. Reassure your partner that you still want to be with him or her, but also let them know that eating healthier and losing weight is important to you and you’re serious about making these changes. Instead of going to a bar or having dessert, suggest other activities, like going for a walk together.
Avoiding diet sabotage while eating out
It’s challenging to say no to delicious food while you’re eating out, but to follow your diet, WebMD recommends planning so you’ll know to order. If you go on the keto diet stick to high-fat dishes such as a salad with steak and ranch dressing or a meat dish that’s high in fat.
When you're eating out with family or friends, experts advise, try to keep the attention on the conversation and away from what you are eating (or not eating).
“If you don't make a big deal about it, you are less likely to hear any comments from friends,” says Moloo.
It's also a good idea to plan ahead of time what you'll order, if you have an idea of what is on the menu. You might want to have a lighter lunch or a more intense workout that day so you can splurge a little at the restaurant.
“You know you will be tempted by the menu and what everyone else is eating, so strategize your day so you can eat a little more than usual,” Gidus says.
Don’t allow competitive people to get under your skin
There are always going to people who try to thwart your weight loss goals, and U.S. News suggests instead of allowing these people to get the better of you, fight back by suggesting something positive you can do together.
Competitive Carol isn’t thrilled that you’re sticking to your healthy eating regimen because she’d like to do the same but doesn’t have the confidence to stay with it, Gloede says. She undermines your efforts by saying things like “You know, 95 percent of people who lose weight gain it back” and by offering sugary snacks like chocolate. Realize Carol’s envious and politely decline her snack offers and try to get her on your side by asking for her support in your effort to eat a healthier diet.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s how you handle them going forward will determine whether you continue to follow through with your weight loss goals. Discover Good Nutrition explains more below:
You’re too hard on yourself. If you think you should be perfect—that you’ll always exercise every morning or never eat another piece of candy—you’re setting the bar awfully high. When the day comes (and it will) that you just don’t feel like exercising, or you eat something you shouldn’t, you’ll probably berate yourself.
The fix: Practice positive self-talk. Offer the same support to yourself as you would to a friend. You wouldn’t tell your friend who’s struggling with his weight, “You just don’t have the willpower. I guess you’ll just be fat for the rest of your life!” So, why do you say that to yourself? Practice talking nicely to yourself. And offer yourself support, instead of “This is too hard!” Think to yourself, “I can do this!”
Sometimes your thoughts will try to sabotage your goals, which is why it’s up to you to let that happen. Lifehacker talks to us about how crucial practicing mindfulness is and how it can prevent you from giving up on your goals.
The reality is that our willpower is limited and making mistakes doesn't mean you are a bad person; it means you're human. The next time you feel yourself about to submit to self-sabotage, go through the following steps:
Examine your trigger. Think about the rationalization and answer the following question: when you gave into it previously, did the outcome ever leave you better off? Probably not.
Use mindfulness to determine your feelings leading up to the event. Maybe even before your co-worker handed you a cupcake, you had celebratory feelings. You then felt pressure after being offered a cupcake and guilt after finishing it. When these emotions start coming on, examine them objectively, and without judgment. You may want to write this pattern down for future you.
Realize that you are not your emotions. Think about the last time you felt this emotional pattern—you probably had the same urge, right? This means that it's not a moral failing if you have the urge to binge eat, binge drink, or watch The Bachelor. Rather, it's an inevitable one caused by the emotions and events leading up to it. You cannot control your feelings. You are responsible, however, for what you do with them.
Determine the root cause behind your emotions. Perhaps you are stressed at work because of a deadline. Realize that your need to binge eat or drink stems from the deadline. Figure out what you need to do to fix the root problem.
Distract yourself with something else and focus on how great future you will feel. Go for a walk or find a relatively harmless vice like computer games. Focus on how good you will feel the next day after you successfully decoupled your emotions from your actions. Know that because of this win, you're less likely to sabotage yourself in the future.
There are always going to people and things that try to get in between you and diet success. It’s up to you to push through the hard times and come out on the other side, successful! Learn more about the ketogenic diet and how it can help you reach your weight loss goals by checking out the Body Reboot book. Help us cover shipping, and you’ll get the book for free!
Sources: U.S. News, WebMD, Discover Good Nutrition, Life Hacker
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