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How to Win at Dieting...

This article talks about the mindset shifts to make it easy to win at weight loss and implement a good diet.

This is a follow up article on Dieting. 

See Part 1 here. 

Let me start this off by saying I am not an expert in weight loss but after struggling with dieting my entire life, I have found that if you follow a few simple shifts in your attitude towards a "diet" you will find it a lot easier to stick to and see results.

Let's go through a quick recap of my previous article on why your diet isn't or hasn't worked... 

To lose weight (and fat) you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means that you are expending more energy than you can consume through the foods you eat. Which leads to your body breaking down the fat cells that it has stored to utilise as energy instead. 

The problem with most diets is that people are too strict on themselves, and after a few short weeks of hell they see no differences in their body and go back to their old ways of eating 2 Mcdonalds, 3 Pizzas and 10 pints on the weekend and then still wonder why they are still fat. They go on believing they are a 1 in a Billion anomaly and that simple biological science does not apply to them. 

That or they just can't stay disciplined enough to get to their long term goal and are tempted by the instant gratification that a sugar rush causes. 

So that takes us to the underlying psychology of weight loss. You should now know about the Excuses Eel (the part of your brain that wants you to give into the instant gratification) which often beats your rational, logical decision making into submitting to your inner desires.

So this takes us to the Guilt Monster. Which is a tool you can use to pressure yourself into sticking to your diet. Although it can lie dormant (or go back into hibernation for years, when you really start to take what food you consume seriously you can leverage the Guilt Monster to help you stay on track to not give in to the Excuses Eel. 

As explained previously the Guilt Monster is the feeling you get after a heavy weekend.. You know the ones. Where you've stuffed your face with a Mcdonalds, Dominoes, and Kebab after a terrible night out on the town. Or had  a quiet one at home catching up on Netflix and ordered a meal for 6 from the Chinese place and consumed it all yourself. 

Then Monday comes around and the guilt comes flooding in like seagulls to a spilt fish and chips on Portsmouth Pier. But just know that holding onto this guilt can help you keep an iron mindset and scare off the excuses eel. 

So how can you use the guilt monster and other mindset shifts to truly stick to diet and see results in 2024? 

Don't let your Diet make you Depressed

The thing that most people do is that they drastically change their diet. They cut out the foods they love, they don't eat ANYTHING "Unhealthy". No burgers, fries, chocolate, or Pizza. 

Now of course this can work. 

But being too restrictive is the easiest and fastest way to burn out and crash. Causing you to give up altogether. 

The key to dieting is longevity. 

The simplest way to diet effectively is to still eat what you enjoy. Just track your calories so that your weekly intake is at a deficit. 

This means you can still eat a pizza on Friday. Or have some chocolate throughout the week. 

Just don't go overboard. 

Now of course this is easier said than done. 

So try to make it easy to do the hard things. 

If you know you should have a healthy salad or hit your protein intake for the day by eating eggs for lunch, then keep salad in your fridge or pre-make your meal for lunch and take it to work. 

Laziness is one of the biggest reasons people break their diets. 

It's harder to cook your chicken breast then go out and have a burger at Mcdonalds a lot of the time. 

But making the harder decision easier by being prepared makes it simple to stick to. 

Do the Cardio you enjoy! 

The easiest cardio to do, is the one you enjoy the most.

Forcing yourself to go for a run, whilst doable, isn't long term.

But developing your current active passion is.

I'm a huge advocate of any martial art. As it teaches you strategy as well as being incredible for conditioning.

But the true King (or Queen) of all Cardio is: Walking.

Having a step target and gradually increasing it every week is the easiest way to burn calories.

Alongside the fresh air, mindfulness and Vitamin D you get from being outside, it is easily the best form of cardio to create your calorie deficit.

But that being said if you love tennis, or pickleball or even golf, the activity that feels like it isn't forced is the easiest way to burn calories when trying to lose weight. 

If you don't play a sport. It's never too late to start so go and try one and keep trying until you find something you love!

Don't have a finite Mindset.

Weight loss is a constant battle, and the journey never really has an end.

Even if you were to get to your "dream" physic, you can't just then return to your old diet.

If you want to look better, feel healthier and have more energy, you need to manage it.

I always used to idolise the goal. But the goal isn't a destination. It is an infinite battle. My weight, strength and health go up and down depending on all sorts of factors.

The question most people ask is: "How long will it take me to get in shape?" but this is a finite mindset.

You should be asking: "How can I change my lifestyle habits to become healthier?”

It is hard to think of your goals in years, but it is necessary to be somewhat realistic.

If you are 25 years old and obese, do you really think that in just a few short months you can get a six pack and look like a Greek god? 

It is hard with the comparisons you can easily make to others on social media. But remember you have to change your habits at the root and if you have been obese for 10 years you will need to do that one step at a time. 

Now of course there are outliers to this. No doubt. There always are. 

But on average your best asset will be time and consistency. 

The Bottom Line

Don’t think about going from A to Z too fast, just start with A to B.

Change your ideology to be more infinite. Don't idolise your goal, Focus on what incremental changes you can make to stick to your diet without becoming depressed and taking away the joy of eating. 

Defeating failure is the same thing as gaining control over your own life, you will never regret becoming healthier. Putting in the work now will pay incredible dividends in all areas of your life. 

The time to start improving is now, so get off your sofa and go after it!