Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure by setting impossible standards. Like wanting to lose 30 pounds in time for your sister’s wedding—when the wedding is 6 weeks away. Or expecting to look like Kate Moss, Julia Roberts or (insert celebrity’s name here) without considering your body type or the interventions of their plastic surgeons.
While there’s nothing wrong with having big dreams, they can’t be based on a fairytale. Know your body type and ideal body weight and factor in that even if you lose three pounds a week at the onset, this is probably excess water. Burning fat takes much longer, and there will come a time when weight loss will taper off and sometimes plateau.
Unrealistic goals can also dampen your motivation when you need it the most—in the middle of your diet, when the new routines have lost their novelty.
That’s because whatever success you do achieve just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Coupled with all the negative talk you give yourself—like saying “I’m fat!” six times a day—you end up quitting what seems to be a futile battle.
What you can do:
- Know your body type and ideal body weight (watch out for an article on your best body weight soon).
- Set goals for each week and each month. Keep them concrete (i.e., number of pounds, or the length of your workout). Give yourself credit for the small victories along the way.
- Pace yourself. Slowly increase the difficulty of your workouts, or ease into a strict diet. For example, the South Beach diet can be too much of a shock. Bad enough to give up potato chips, but to give up all potatoes? You’ll have less withdrawal spells if you cut back on the junky carbs (like chips and cinnamon rolls) a week before you jump into the diet proper.
- Stop seeing diets as a race. It’s not how fast you lose weight, but how long you keep the pounds off.
Find out other reasons why your diet didn’t work here.