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Posted by: ryangeorgefitness | February 11, 2009

Strategies for maintaining healthy eating habits (Part 1 of 2)

As mentioned in a previous post, the majority of diets fail. Diets fail for a wide variety of reasons but there are a few basic reasons why most diets are destined to fail right off the bat. The key to maintaining healthy eating is to change the approach one has to their “diet.”

Why do diets fail?
Of the many reasons why diets fail, I think the biggest comes from our perception of the word “diet.” When people think of that word, they associate it with something temporary, something restrictive, painful and a means to an end (losing weight). These are all negative associations and automatically make the diet likely to fail.
Another reason why diets fail is because they are generally not sustainable. Most diets are so restrictive that a person can only stick to It for a finite period of time. A person may notice significant weight loss from a new diet but once they go off of it, the weight is likely to come back on in equal or greater numbers. The final reason why diets fail is because they are often not specific to the person. Everybody has different habits, lifestyles and physical needs. A diet must take all of these individual needs into account in order to be successful.

How do I approach an effective diet?

In order to have successful diet, one must overcome the obstacles mentioned above. The first thing that we need to do is to change our mindset when it comes to the word “diet.” The word “diet” simply refers to the way we are currently eating. Whether your diet is healthy or unhealthy, the word still applies so there is no need to apply those negative connotations. For a diet to be successful, what is needed is the proper mindset. It needs to be approached as a lifestyle change and not simply a way to lose weight. While weight loss may be a goal, it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to keep the weight off long term.

A typical crash diet is designed to be used for a finite period of time and generally to lose a significant amount of weight over a short period of time. While these diets can yield good results initially, the person will almost always gain the weight back once they stop the diet. For this reason, a good diet must be sustainable. It needs to be something that the person can stick to for an indefinite period of time. If someone can sustain a healthy diet, they will lose weigh at a steady and consistent pace but more importantly, they will keep the weight off.
The reason why I use the word “strategies” in the title is because it is essential that a person have a strategic approach to their diet. Everybody is different and requires a different approach to structuring their diet. Specificity is very important and we need to take a variety of factors into account. Things like work schedule, availability of food, sleeping habits, religion etc. all may have a potential impact and should be takes into account. If a person can pit together a diet which takes into account their lifestyle, they are more likely to stick with it than if they are simply given a sheet of paper with what they should do.

Please check back next Tuesday for part 2 of this series as I will go into the 4 basic rules and you can start to build the frame of a good diet.

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