4 Intangible Tips For Your Weight-Loss Plan
Many, if not most, of us make a conscious effort to work on our health from time to time. We try to get a little exercise when we can, eat reasonably well, and so on. As much as many of us take a casual or occasional approach to health and nutrition, there are also a lot of people who make a more targeted effort through specific diet plans. In fact, according to a Washington Post update on diets just a few years ago, an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year.
This is all well and good, and to be sure a lot of popular diets work! At the same time, there are certain strategies and practices that need to accompany almost any diet if it’s to work sustainably. You can always make an effort to adhere to a given dietary restriction or count calories based on a specific system, but if you aren’t making some more intangible efforts on the side, the diet won’t be as effective as it could be.
In this post, we’re going to explore some of those intangibles which will help you with any diet or nutritional effort.
1 – Practice Compassion
As it turns out, compassion may be a key aspect of successful dieting. A Frontiers in Psychology study on self-compassion with specific regard to “weight regulation and health behavior change” in 2017 found that “findings of self-compassion in assisting regulated eating” are promising. The study acknowledged that further research on the subject is needed, but overall it suggested that those who practice self-compassion are better equipped to eat “mindfully,” fulfilling a sort of loop of self-kindness.
Additionally, it may be the case that practicing self-compassion will also help you to overcome the negative feelings associated with slipping up on your diet. Rather than spiraling into a full crash, you can accept mistakes, forgive yourself, and get back to the plan.
2 – Be An Individual
One problem with some widespread diet fads, weight-loss apps and the like is that they tend to treat all people the same –– as if we all ought to diet identically. That’s fine as a sort of foundation to start from, but whatever plan you may be following, it’s also important to tailor it to your own needs and tendencies.
This is a tip we’re drawing in part from the weight loss plans at WeightWatchers, which are among the best-known options out there. Despite being attached to fully designed programs, these plans stress that you should “get a weight-loss plan fit for you” and seek to customize rather than adhere to a “cookie-cutter” program. This doesn’t mean you should scrap your chosen plan, but it is good advice. Treat your weight-loss plan or diet as a set of guidelines, and figure out what you can do to make them work for you personally.
3 – Avoid Comparison
Another important intangible strategy to practice, whatever your diet plan may look like, is to avoid comparison to others. It is extremely tempting, and in a way, even a natural impulse, to hold up your progress against others’ fitness, appearance, and so on. When you get into this kind of habit, however, you can easily find yourself in a cycle of disappointment. Even if you are losing weight, getting fitter, and so on, you can just about always find someone who appears to be healthier or in better shape. This can make you feel like you haven’t quite done enough work, or worse, like your diet isn’t working.
Instead of subjecting yourself to this kind of thinking, try to avoid the comparison game altogether. Focus on your own goals and your own progress, and you’ll have a more rewarding and productive dieting experience.
4 – Be Patient
No matter how you’re dieting, it is also crucial to be patient. This is something we touched on in an article asking “How Long Should It Take To Start Noticing Weight Loss” this past July. In that piece, we pointed out that we live in the “age of immediacy,” wherein instant gratification tends to be the goal. There are some things that take a longer time to provide us with rewards, and exercise is one of them.
For this simple reason, patience is essential. Though, as we noted previously, the benefits of weight loss can be immediate, you won’t typically feel results (such as easier breathing during exercise) for a few weeks. You might not see results in your physical appearance for anywhere from four to six weeks. As long as you know this going in however, you should be able to stick to your routine, wait for those few weeks, and then feel encouraged once the results are apparent.
So there you have it! Pair these intangible approaches with specific dieting efforts, and you’ll hit your goals in no time. Good luck with your weight-loss journey!