Giving Your Diet the 1-2 Punch
Most people fail at dieting because they expect to be perfect. I don't know about you, but perfect is a pretty tough goal. Wouldn't it be far easier to choose certain days for more strict eating (call them diet days if you must) and choose certain days for "eat what you want" or "off" days. With a two-day-on and one-day-off plan, you've always got an "off" day just around the corner.
Sometimes the discipline to follow-through with your eating plan just takes knowing it's not forever, but just for tonight. That's how you change a habit; little baby steps.
On Days, Off Day: Names Don't Matter
Call them "on" and "off" days, "strict" and "do what I want" days, what ever you like. What you call your plan doesn't matter. What matters is the discipline of following through with your plan. That's why it's best if you can work out your own plan. No one else can tell you what's the best eating plan; only you know what you like and don't, what you will and won't eat.
If you insist on having a sheet with a printed list of what to eat, that's okay. It's easy enough to find those types of plans, or better idea work with a registered nutritionist. They are really the only people qualified to advise on eating.
But, if you simply take a list of foods to eat (or worse, not to eat), then eat from that last, you might lose some weight. Yes, indeed. Often people lose a lot of weight, simply because they've drastically reduced the quantity (calories), but what happens when you stop the diet? Usually it's a mad dash back to the eating that got you in trouble in the first place, and how could it not be? You didn't change a thing.
"Off Days" is Not Licence to Steal
With this plan your "off day's" are not "go all crazy" days. Think of it as "Guilt Free Days." Then, go ahead. Have whatever you didn't have yesterday.
The disciplined approach may mean deciding in advance how many calories you'll have, or how many grams of carbs, or grams of fat. There are many different approaches. Choose what makes sense to you.
Counting calories can seem like a real pain, so many people switch to paying attention to fat grams or carb grams. They all work fine. After awhile you don't have to count anything any more because you'll know what it takes to maintain your weight.
Since you know you have an "off" day coming, you will be better able to stick to your plan. Do this when that last piece of pie is calling. Just say, I'll eat it in the morning, and then wait until the morning. You may not want it tomorrow, that's not the point. The point is, you can wrestle off those impulses. EFT help too, in reducing the momentary desires.
Eat When Hungry: Stop When Satisfied
Satisfied means you've had enough. You feel good, you are not thinking about how you're going to sneak more food as soon as everyone leaves the table
Learn to recognize your hunger signals for best results. Just because you've decided to eat a certain number of calories doesn't mean you absolutely must do so. If you aren't really hungry, then don't eat until you are. Hunger means you want to eat some food. Pay attention and you'll start to recognize real hunger. Don't wait until you are ravenous either. Paying attention to hunger signals is far more important than eating every three hours or any other time schedule plan.
If you don't know how to stop eating once you are satisfied, or don't think you even know what being satisfied with what you've eaten is like, then take the 8-week Ending Emotional Eating workshop. Session 8 is all about Learning How to Eat.
Satisfied means you've had enough. You feel good, you are not thinking about how you're going to sneak more food as soon as everyone leaves the table. You are not going to eat scraps off the plates when you clear the dishes. Satisfied is a good place to be, not a longing or empty place. Feeling hungry all the time, or never feeling like you've eaten enough is likely an emotional issue.
Frankly, if you are eating as an activity (there's a bowl of nuts in front of you and you keep reaching for more), then it is nearly impossible to stop when you are satisfied, simply because you aren't eating for hunger in the first place. Hunger must first be present. You can't know when to stop eating, if there was never a true signal to start.
The schedule you set must be flexible, as there are always special occasions and unexpected invitations, but too flexible ends up being no schedule at all. Don't bend at every wind; meaning, be flexible when it is warranted, and otherwise stick to your plan like super glue. Don't let go. Don't be afraid to tough it out sometimes. This isn't a life sentence; it's just learning you won't expire if you forego those cookies while you watch TV.
Change the equation from eating poorly 85% of the time to eating well 85% of the time and you'll soon see the results you want. The more often you feed yourself well, the more you'll want to feed yourself well.
Give the 2-Day Diet Diet a try and see what happens. Two days on, one day off (or choose any interval you like, but make it achievable). As soon as that's easy enough, you can move to 3 days on, one day off, and so on.
For More on Ending Emotional Eating 8-Week Course