Many of us are very motivated when starting a diet. We enthusiastically draw up plans, buy in the food that we’ll need, and look forward to the pounds dropping off. Generally everything goes to plan for the first few days or weeks. Very often, during this initial period, we have made sure that there are less opportunities to be led astray, such as meals out or parties. Generally it’s easier to succeed at first. If we check our progress regularly we are encouraged by our goals being attained.

However it may well be a false dawn and things get worse. One reason could be that we start giving our self little treats because we think we deserve them. Or we get bored and frustrated and old habits started kicking in. It may be that we lose motivation as the weight doesn’t come off as quickly as we hoped. Here follow ten tips that are designed to help if any of this applies to you:

1 Make sure your goals are not unrealistic and reassess them if necessary. Better to lose weight little and often than huge amounts in a short time.

2  Regain your motivation – think back to why you went on a diet. Was it due to wanting to look better? Perhaps it was for health reasons. For some reason or another you embarked on the diet – re-awaken those thoughts, it may help in motivating you again.

3  Pick up new and improved skills in the kitchen. Increased knowledge about cooking techniques will reduce the likelihood of using higher calorie ingredients or getting a take away in. It might also lead to increased use of healthier fish and vegetables in cooking at the expense of more fattening meat and cheese.

4  Write down one sin that you can have. Perhaps a small tipple each day – or a cake on Sundays. Pick something you really enjoy and you won’t have any guilt feelings!

5  Make sure that lower calorie snacks are to hand if you do feel tempted – fruit is obvious, unsweetened popcorn is another less obvious alternative. Hopefully these will be the foods that you go for if you feel the need to have something a bit different.

6 Keep track of what you’re eating – maintain a food diary. We do have a tendency to kid ourselves about what we’re eating – this will not only help show the exact foods we’re eating, but also may act as a deterrent by forcing you to realise you’ll need to write it down if you eat that forbidden food!

7 Make love, not snacks! Just one half hour of activity will help you lose about 120 calories. Four benefits- burning calories, less chance of snacking, good exercise, and enjoyment as well! 

8  Ensure that the diet you’re on is the correct one for you. It needs to be as easy as possible to follow. The diet will almost certainly entail you monitoring something. It might be calories, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, or something else. If necessary change to one easier to record.

9 Find a friend, or join a group. Support can make all the difference.

10 Rejoice when it goes well. Keep a record of every success – be it just keeping to your diet or declining foods that are forbidden. And as a reward, grant yourself a benefit, such as a relaxing bubble-bath.

UK author and owner of two websites For UK residents: http://www.buyawok.co.uk – and http://www.buyawok.com for US residents.

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