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6 Mindset traps that derail your diet (& how to avoid them)

By Matt O'Neill, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD

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Anyone can start eating better & exercising, but staying on target means consciously avoiding the mindset traps that can undo all your great work.

Here are six of the most common traps & how to beat them.

1. Impatience

Expecting quick weight loss and not seeing results can cause frustration. Make sure you set realistic goals & expect the odd plateau.

It has probably taken years to gain weight, so even if it takes a number of months to lose it, you'll still be rewarded for your efforts.

2. Relying on willpower

You are not made of willpower. Relying on willpower alone to eat right often backfires.

Focus to building automatic habits, creating a leaner, treat-free environment at home & getting support to strengthen your willpower rather than fatigue it.

3. Testing yourself

"I'll just have one beer..." Throwing yourself into food or drink challenges too soon into your program can turn pear-shaped fast.

For example, it may be better to avoid alcohol all together, at least on week days. And cooking that chocolate cake for the kids may not be the best idea if you think you might sample it during the process.

4. Trying to be perfect

Regular yoga sessions, by a waterfall, in a forest may be beyond almost all of us. Remember, "life happens" and flexibility is the key to maintaining a healthy diet and activity pattern.

Striving for the perfect diet, exercise routine & mood can have the opposite effect if you find achieving it is more challenging than you expected. No one expects you to have the perfect lifestyle - striving to be better & loving yourself is what it's all about.

5. Taking a break

Allowing yourself to take a complete break from regular activity & nutrient-rich eating for a month or more, thinking you'll get back into it, is just the type of thinking to avoid.

As little as too weeks appears to be the danger period, after which exercisers become non-exercisers for good.

Sure, a few days off your eating plan or fitness regime can have you coming back refreshed, but watch you don't let the time slide.

6. Thinking you know how

This Doctor knows a lot, including the fact that eating lots of chocolate isn't compatible with being in shape. He would say, "I know how to lose weight & I can do it whenever I want."

But it's not just knowledge that gets you moving, eating well & sleeping better. It's a commitment to feeling better, changing behaviours & the practical strategies that work, like packing your lunch the night before.

Sure, you might know how but don't use that as an excuse to delay taking action.

Know your personal traps & beware when they creep in. Remind yourself that you deserve to be awesome!



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