"People may set unrealistic goals or deprive themselves in extreme ways that are very difficult to maintain," says psychologist Bethany Teachman. "It's no wonder so many people lose weight initially but then have difficulty keeping the weight off."
Here we address the most common myths that undermine a healthy approach to weight loss -- along with tips on overcoming them to achieve success.
I need to go on a "diet"
"The whole concept of a 'diet' sets us up to think we will be 'on a diet' then 'off a diet,'" says Teachman. Instead, think of your weight-loss plan as a lifestyle commitment to healthy eating and exercise, for the long haul.
I'll get back on track on Monday/after the holidays/when the sun comes out
There's no day like today. If you slip, just pick up where you left off. Persistence works wonders.
All my problems will be solved when I lose weight
Losing weight may leave you feeling healthier and happier -- but it won't make you more lovable or turn you into a runway model. Be clear about why you want to lose weight. "It's far more motivating to strive toward being fit and energetic than it is to strive toward being a size 0," Teachman says.
Fat people don't deserve to eat
Do you forego the office pizza because you're afraid people will think you shouldn't be eating? Seeing yourself through others' eyes in a harsh, critical way "is a sure-fire way to blow a weight-loss plan," says Teachman. Instead, she suggests to focus on developing a more loving relationship with your body.
I shouldn't wear swimmers until I've lost all the weight
Lots of people of all different sizes enjoy sexy clothes. "When you love yourself, you start enjoying life," says Teachman. Break big goals into smaller ones, and reward yourself along the way. Rather than saying, "I need to lose 10 kilos," say, "I'll buy a new cozzie, one size smaller."
The less I eat, the faster I'll lose
Wrong. The less we eat, the slower our metabolism gets, and the slower we lose the weight. "Deprivation makes us unhappy and actually causes us to overeat and overindulge," adds Teachman. A slow and steady approach — including treating yourself to your favourite foods, in moderation -- is your best bet for building a healthy relationship with food and reaching your long-term goals.
So stop telling yourself lies that sabotage your efforts. Instead, start living your life with a weight-loss plan that works for you. You'll feel better about yourself, your confidence will grow, and you'll keep the weight off.
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