With images of stick-thin models gracing billboards and magazine covers, it’s no surprise that some people can become extreme in their dieting expectations, even if their original goal began with simply wanting to move toward healthier habits. The idea of “perfection” as a goal may lead to a tendency of taking an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss. Allowing yourself so little flexibility within your eating and activity plans could pose a challenge over time.
Experts say a better approach is one that allows for moderation and flexibility. Not only is a realistic diet plan helpful for keeping a healthy body image, it can also improve self-esteem as it sets you up for success. Here's how:
Self-awareness vs. Self-control: Focus on what is working well and what changes you’d make to move closer toward a healthy lifestyle rather than setting strict rules to follow.
Moderation vs. Deprivation: Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite foods, plan your menu ahead of time so you can incorporate personal preferences. This will help take the stress out of making food choices and reduce feeling out of control.
"Skill Power" vs. Willpower: Trying to white knuckle your way through risky food situations does not always work in your favor. Use the tools of the program and the skills you have developed to navigate your way through tough situations.
Self-acceptance vs. Perfection: Aiming for perfection is a setup for disappointment. Focus on the valuable person you are and the positive steps you are taking toward a healthier lifestyle.
Realistic vs. Radical steps: Focus on the small successes and positive changes that you are making in your life. The big picture will continue to improve with small, moderate, positive steps toward a healthy lifestyle.
Start your journey into weight loss with realistic goals. That is the best way to get where you want to go!