At the beginning of a diet it’s easy to behave and stay motivated. There are a million reasons to get on a weight loss diet, and if these reasons are good enough to get you off the couch and into a healthy routine they are generally motivational enough to keep you going at least for a while.
After a certain point, which may be anywhere from three days to three months in, a person is bound to slip and have a bad day when dieting. At some point the cravings kick in and there is no turning away from an inevitable bad day. The real question then is, how dangerous are bad days to dieting?
The answer, of course, depends on many factors which inevitably change from person to person, situation to situation. The most simple response, however, is that a bad day is exactly that, an isolated incident.
The danger is when a bad day turns into many bad days which turn into bad weeks, and bad months. Why does one turn for the worse make a dieter feel suddenly demotivated?
Generally, dieters lose heart after a bad day because psychologically speaking the person has “destroyed” all the hard work he or she has done.
It is harder mentally than physically to stay in a good eating pattern, so once a person has given in to temptation and seen that it’s not the end of the world to give into cravings, it’s a slippery slope toward falling into forgotten bad habits.
Where does this thinking come from? It’s a common error in dieting to think of the diet as a short term sprint, rather than a marathon lifestyle change.
When a person is unable to maintain a diet over a long period of time, meaning more than a year, it is generally a bad diet. Crash diets don’t work, as you hear over and over again, and as many dieters experience themselves.
When a bad day is one day out of a week or two, it has much more impact than a bad day over a month or two. Putting dieting into perspective, meaning there is no end point, means that bad days are hiccups, and they are diluted by many more good days in the long run.
Don’t run and hide at the prospect of dieting forever! Starvation diets are not viable in most situations, so they are not what one should aim for.
Rather, the idea is to eat a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, poultry and legumes – in other words, real foods! Eating (basically) whatever you want as long as it is a natural food is the first step toward a healthy lifestyle.
Knowing what to eat is truly difficult without the help of someone who has credentials and experience in the field. Finding a long-term solution that really works for you means that bad days are exactly that, days which aren’t as healthy as you’d like.
Even a bad meal does not mean an entire day is lost. Work with a nutritionist to get the best personal results you possibly can, and keep a positive attitude that isn’t diluted by a single bad day in a lifetime of healthiness!
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