Nutrition Articles

13 Weight-Loss Rules You'll Love to Follow

How to Make 'Dieting' Fun!

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Seeing the words "diet" and "fun" in the same sentence might seem like an oxymoron. When we decide to lose weight, ideas of deprivation, boredom, sacrifice and even misery usually come to mind. But they don't have to. Weight loss CAN be fun and enjoyable—if you have the right attitude and set out on your journey with the right tools—and rules—for long-term success.
 
 
Research shows that what we tell ourselves is a predictor of results. A positive mindset greatly increases one's chances of success, and when we make the journey towards any goal enjoyable, we achieve it with greater speed and stick with it for the long haul.
 
So throw out the "dieting" rules that make you feel deprived and bored. To start, follow these rules of weight loss that not only work—but actually make the process more fun!  And whatever you do, focus on enjoying the journey, not just reaching your destination.
 
Weight-Loss Rules You'll Love to Follow

1. Eat more often. Out-of-control hunger is a common predictor of overeating—and giving up on any diet. When you go too long without food, your blood sugar drops, your mood and focus plummet, and you often grab the easiest thing you can, which usually isn't healthy. Instead of skipping meals and starving yourself, don't go more than 3-4 hours without eating. This will keep your hunger monster at bay and keep you happy and satisfied on your program.
 
2. Treat yourself. When you decide that a particular food (or even an entire food group), is off limits for your diet, research shows that we focus on that one food even more than if we simply allowed ourselves permission to eat it from time to time. If you told me I could never eat cookies again, I probably wouldn't be able to stop thinking about how much I like cookies and would feel miserable that I couldn't have them. Since willpower is in such short supply in humans, there's a really good chance that anyone would cave in eventually—and likely go overboard. So give yourself permission—and make a plan—to make room in your diet for your favorite treats.
 
3. Stop searching for the best workout.  What's the ideal workout for weight loss? The workout you'll actually do—not the one that worked for your friend, or that you heard burned the most calories. Research shows that if you can match the exercise plan to your preference and personality, you'll be more consistent. If you pick what works for others or what you perceive is best despite not enjoying it, you're setting yourself up for failure. When you find something that is fun, who cares how many calories it burns. In the end you'll burn the most calories when you stop making excuses to avoid a workout and actually want to do an activity!
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • This message is for RENEETC1.. Put on some favorite fast music or a favorite movie in and ride the bike in style. It is also a good time to meditate or pray. I have similar restrictions to walking so my bike is my best exercise and I have learned to love my time on it.
    Joya23 - 12/18/2014 9:19:11 AM
  • JUSTMEOK66
    A very encouraging, insightful, and helpful article. Thank you!! : )) - 12/17/2014 2:06:54 AM
  • #3. I'm always amused by the "find an activity you like and do it". Well, I don't enjoy working out. I do it because I have to, not because I want to, so it's a constant struggle. I can't walk for long periods of time, treadmills are completely out of the question. I don't jog and I don't do windows. The only cardio I do is the recumbent bike and that is soooooo boring! What good is doing exercises that you absolutely can't stand, and the ones you used to do (walking) have just been about eliminated. How do you handle that? I dare someone to answer and give me some good suggestions. - 10/23/2014 9:48:58 PM
  • 11. Hang with your friends.

    This one is dangerous! I like that they mentioned "friends with similar goals." If you're trying to be healthy by eating right and exercising, yet all your friends are constantly dining out and begging you to come watch movies/play games, then it is very hard not to cave under the peer pressure and return to your bad habits. No one wants to be left out or alienated from their friends over something like diet and exercise. - 10/22/2014 4:38:23 PM
  • There are so many good points here.
    Speaking of gadgets, I just got a great little scale to have on the table. My husband, who used to tease me about measuring food, loves the technical aspects of the scale and is disappointed when I am not measuring now.
    People I meet at my exercise classes are new friends and it is fun just to go to those classes.
    - 10/22/2014 1:08:51 PM
  • Good article. The word "diet" caused many great distress. There is the dictionary meaning of the word and then there is the connotation. Since the main focus of the article is making dieting fun, I read the word in it's connotative form. Life is far too short to be that serious. - 10/22/2014 12:24:25 PM
  • Your diet is the food you eat. If you don't have a diet, you'll starve to death. That's true.
    However, going on a diet, as mentioned in this article, often means restriction of certain foods for a period of time.
    I do not agree with the person who is saying all carbs are bad. If you believe that, than you don't realize how much fiber, potassium, folate, iron, vitamins, and all other good things are in a baked potato. - 10/22/2014 4:43:20 AM
  • TUCKEYCHICKEN
    I agree with most of this accept for the part that says don't diet. I have to diet or I will starve to death. What we need to do is use a dictionary and we will realize that the word diet doesn't just mean to restrict what you eat. The first definition of the word diet is: what a person or animal usually eats or drinks. So what we should do is start eating and drinking healthier. - 9/28/2014 6:08:16 PM
  • how true I haven't read all of this but I just love number three its SO TRUE. Stop obsessing about not doing the right thing and just do something, Walking is virtually free and so are calisthenics.All you need is the space and will power - 8/27/2014 9:45:30 PM
  • The article had a good point- treat yourself with kindness, and it was appreciated . But I have often gone overboard and find it difficult to find a balance. There is NEVER one treat for me, so I do well avoiding cookies.... - 8/23/2014 9:22:12 AM
  • FUTUREMRS7
    Good article! This was helpful!! - 8/22/2014 4:25:12 PM
  • Great article! - 8/22/2014 1:53:31 PM
  • I noticed that one of the references is Dweck's _Mindset_, which is an excellent study on how our thinking limits us, as stated at the start of the article. Changing our attitude toward food and exercise is the start to a lifestyle change toward health. I have read other studies that show that deprivation leads to excess. It's all mental. It'll take time and effort, though, to change the thinking about food and exercise, but it can be done by being conscious of our thoughts and attitudes. Journaling is great for this! It can bring to light what's hindering our progress toward health and lead toward change, but it does have to be a conscious act. - 8/22/2014 11:46:59 AM
  • EXCELLENT Article ! I TOTALLY agree ! This is what I've done over the past 2 years with SparkPeople and I've lost 40 pounds, lowered my cholesterol/trigl
    ycerides and blood pressure, and gotten HEALTHY ! Thank you SparkPeople ! I LOVE SP !

    - 8/22/2014 9:40:13 AM
  • Gotta disagree about the carbs. May be true of some people but not others. I tried the Atkins Diet, didn't lose a thing, and got so sick and dizzy that I had to give it up so that I could function at work. I have tried many diets through the years and found that the one that worked best for me was a high carb diet. Of course, the carbs were limited to vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and I had to walk 3+ miles at least six days a week. I lost 65 pounds on that diet, was able to stick to it and maintain my weight loss in excellent health for five years, and never had an illness during that whole time. Foolishly, during a period of personal crisis, I let myself go and regained so I am now starting over. A high carb diet does not work unless paired with a faithful exercise. Also whole grains, as well as the fruit and vegetables, contain many antioxidants as well as the fiber, associated with cancer-prevention
    . It has been known for decades that people who eat whole grains have a lower incidence of cancer. So why don't nutritionists not come out en masse condemning carbs as unhealthy, because it just isn't true. It is the refined carbs that are unhealthy and nutritionists have risen en masse to condemn those. - 8/22/2014 9:38:47 AM

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