Dieting. The word brings up fears and stress in the best of us. The act is treated like a bloody battle, something you have to suffer through before reaching some sort of golden paradise. No wonder we hate dieting so much. I’ve never heard anyone yelling out that they are on a diet in a joyful manner because they are just so unbelievably happy that they can’t have that extra piece of cheesecake.
After recently going on a diet and losing some weight, I realized how detrimental this negative view of dieting is to those of us who choose to make a change from bad eating habits.
After encountering such a depressing diet mentality, I made it my goal to find a way to diet and be happy at the same time. I think I have found some pretty good ways to do so and hope that they can make dieting a positive force in your life.
The key to positive dieting is mentality. Eating healthy is a personal choice and you can make the experience as positive or negative as you want. When I decided that I wanted to lose some weight this summer, I took a lot of precautions to prevent negativity toward my choice. I have seen a lot of my friends and family go through the same dieting problems and I wanted to learn from their mistakes.
The day I started my diet I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “You don’t need food to make you feel a certain way. You also don’t need to look different physically to make you feel a certain way.”
These two statements made a huge impact on my dieting experience. We tend to think that things like food and our appearance can somehow magically change our lives. I have certainly changed my looks at times and expected my life to be different somehow.
The hard truth is that we are the only ones who can change our lives or make ourselves happy. If we stop relying on outside sources to change us, like dieting, the pressure of the whole situation goes down.
It is also important to have a good motivation. I always told myself that I wanted a better body image and decided that I wouldn’t start any sort of dieting unless I could look in the the mirror beforehand and see the beauty in myself. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely hard to stop focusing on your flaws, but if you can’t do it before you lose weight, it will still be hard after you do.
Don’t lose weight to look a certain way. Motivate yourself with thoughts of becoming healthier or having more energy. If you motivate by looks, the way you look at the end of the diet will never measure up to your expectations. This type of motivation is what causes stress and insecurity in a diet. Keep your motivating thoughts positive.
Don’t think about the diet as sacrificing food but as prioritizing food. You don’t have to give up cookies for the rest of your life. Believe me, that idea certainly gave me doubts. You can just choose to eat less or to eat something else to get that sugar fix.
The final bit of advice I have is to be open about your diet. Tell your family and friends about it and how important it is to you. Get excited about new recipes that give you more food for fewer calories. The more enthusiasm you have, the easier it is to stay on track.
On the other hand, make sure the enthusiasm can be reined in. Try not to talk about your diet all of the time or others might feel that you are judging their food choices. It is about your life, so keep the focus on you. When you take hold of your dieting attitude and mentality, it is easy to see how great you feel, inside and out.
Kate Haddock is a sophomore in English. Please send comments to email@example.com.