The NY Times article, “Why Even Resolute Dieters Often Fail” is an excellent example of why small, sustainable changes are the key to long-lasting weight loss. Going on a “diet” implies something to be done for a period of time and then stopped. Sure we may lose weight during a period of restriction/control, but have we fundamentally changed our relationship with the food that we eat? If we haven’t, then odds are we will regain that lost weight once our diet is over.
While some moderate restrictions/changes can be good to kickstart our lifestyle change, we must remember that these changes are part of a larger lifestyle change, not just a “diet”. At the end of the diet, some of these changes need to stick…forever. They could be changes in how we eat and/or changes in physical activity level. The key is finding the changes that you can stick to consistently and keep on doing them. As you are losing weight consider which changes you made that were “easy” and write them down. Those changes can be the first ones you make permanent and the ones you can later reflect on if/when you have some struggles a number of months down the road. You can look back and say, “Hey, look what I’ve already accomplished. Even though I may be at a plateau at the moment, I’m steps ahead of where I was when I started.” Then look at your current habits with resolve and choose the next couple of easy changes and sure enough you will start getting results again.
Sometimes it is worth sweating the small stuff. What successful small changes have you made?