Change Thoughts About Eating to Make the Most of a Diet

Lisa Nelson Health Pro
  • It's the New Year and there's a good chance you've set a weight loss goal for your New Year's resolution.  By losing weight you'll dramatically reduce your heart disease risk, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.  However, according to studies, the chances of you achieving your weight loss goal this year are slim.


    I want to increase your chance of success, but it might require a mind shift!  I have a couple issues I want you to explore your thoughts on. 


    1.  Dieting


    The first is whether or not you should make a mental shift around the whole "dieting" issue.  Let's focus on the word itself - "diet".  I want you to think about and explore your reaction and feelings when you hear the word "diet" and when you think about "going on a diet".  What comes to mind?

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    Examples would be feelings of restriction, thoughts of the short-term, such as I'll do the South Beach Diet for two weeks to jump start my weight loss, another thought may be limits, and thought's of what you can and can't have once you start a diet.  Of course, it's possible you have a more positive reaction, such as hopeful and excited about the possibilities.  My gut reaction is negative, which is probably why I can come up with a longer list of negatives for examples!  I feel a tightening in my stomach when I think about "going on a diet".  I immediately have thoughts about the foods I can't have, I feel restricted, and I think about when the diet will be over.


    Have you considered another option to reach your weight loss or other health goals besides dieting?  Here's what I want you to consider now and in the days to come.  Do you have to go on a diet to meet your goals?  Instead, could you focus on healthy living and making healthy choices.  Generally the word diet implies a short term approach and gives short term results.  If you like statistics, statistics show 95% of people who lose weight on a diet gain it back.  That's not very encouraging.  If you make a commitment to healthy living or healthy choices you shift to a long term mindset.  A type of thinking that supports small changes over time that lead to permanent results. 


    Take some time and explore your reaction to the two statements:


    "I'm making healthy choices."




    "I'm starting a diet." 


    Which has a more positive feel for you? 


    If this isn't something you've considered before, it's simply a shift in thinking I'd like you explore.  See if you need to adjust your mindset.


    2. All or Nothing Approach?


    Okay, let's move on to the second issue I want you to be consider - Does if have to be an "All or Nothing Approach"?


    Do you have to change all your bad habits at once to be successful? 


    For example, going on a raw food diet is probably a drastic change for most of us.  (FYI - I'm in no way recommending a raw food diet, simply an example.)  Is that the type of approach you need or would you be more successful targeting one or two not so healthy habits to change at a time?  Once you've successful changed those habits, you move on to new ones.


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    "Strict diets" and "all or nothing approaches" generally fail.  It is unrealistic to expect yourself to stick with a strict diet plan forever.  Many people are gung ho at the beginning of a diet, after a week or two they start to slack off and "cheat" on the diet.  Feelings of guilt and failure come in and thoughts of "well I've already blown today, I'll start fresh tomorrow", and then the gradual plummet back to old unhealthy habits. 


    I encourage you to consider a more open approach to achieving your health or weight loss goals.  Does it have to be all or nothing?


    Receive nutrition coaching from dietitian Lisa Nelson, as well as heart health and weight loss tips when you sign up for The Heart of Health.  Subscribers receive the free bonus report "Stop Wasting Money - Take Control of Your Health".  Visit to learn more.

Published On: January 12, 2009