Six traps that put your diet off track

You’ve started your shape-up program and have made some changes to your eating and physical activity habits. Now it’s important to avoid the traps that can undo all your great work. Here are some common ones:

1. Impatience – Expecting quick weight loss and not getting it can cause frustration. Make sure you set realistic goals. It has probably taken many years to gain weight, so even if it takes a number of months to lose it, you’ll be enjoying the new fitter, healthier you from day one.

2. Relying on willpower – Relying on willpower alone to stop yourself eating too much often backfires. Build healthy habits and a leaner environment over time to complement your natural resolve.

3. Testing yourself – Throwing yourself into challenging food situations too soon in your program can dint your confidence. For example, it may be better to avoid cooking that chocolate cake for the kids if you think you might sample it during the process.

4. Trying to be perfect – Striving for the perfect diet or exercise routine can have the opposite effect if you find achieving it is more challenging than you expected. Remember, ‘life happens’ and flexibility is the key to maintaining a healthy diet and activity pattern.

5. Taking a break – Allowing yourself to take a complete break from regular activity for a month or more, thinking you’ll get back into it is just the type of thinking to avoid. As little as two weeks appears to be the danger period, after which exercisers become non-exercisers for good.

6. Thinking you know enough – Information and education about the risks of excess body fat, healthy foods and the benefits of regular exercise are often not enough. You also need to monitor your progress, have practical strategies for managing difficult situations and get encouraging support. It’s the complete package that really works.

With eating, activity and weight management, changing the way you think is just as important as changing what you do!

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