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When you hate your body it is tempting to try just one more diet and hope for the motivation to keep it going. However, in the long run most diets fail partly because they often require you to disregard your physiological urges to eat. Constantly feeling hungry leads to sneak eating, bingeing and weight gain.

To break free from the cycle of weight loss and regain you need to learn to recognize and respond appropriately to your body’s hunger and biological need for food. Changing your eating habits and lifestyle is a process of taking small steps forward and consistently getting back on track when you get thrown off course rather than giving up and searching for a better diet.

Focusing on the numbers, such as how many pounds you’ve lost or your daily macros, perpetuates the cycle of dieting. To move beyond this trap let these 5 letters guide you:


A Action Plan

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An action plan is a very specific, daily/weekly “To Do” list. It states what you are willing and capable of doing, NOT what you want to happen. Many people make the mistake of being overly ambitious. For example, “I will prepare my lunch and bring it to work with me everyday this week”.

Overly ambitious goals sound good on paper but usually don’t get done because you end up waiting for enough motivation to get started. Unfortunately, feeling ready to start usually takes more time than you expect and additional weight gain can happen during this delay. Breaking the cycle of yo-yo dieting is challenging. People who succeed are patient and compassionate with themselves.

E Expectations

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Once you identify an action you think you are ready to take, do a reality check of your plan. For example, have you ever actually prepared your own lunch and brought it to work? Have you ever done this every day of the week? If there is no evidence that you can actually do this you may need to think of a smaller step to take as a starting point. For example, “I will prepare my lunch and bring it to work Monday and Tuesday.”

It is also important to assess your confidence in your ability to complete this task.” Ask yourself “how likely am I to do this?” If your answer is “I can definitely do it” you’ll probably succeed. If your answer is no way can I do it…”, “I might be able to …” or “I probably can…” you should rethink your action plan and make it less ambitious.

When you start small you are more likely to do what you planned and feel like a success. Success builds your confidence (also known as self-efficacy) which in turn, increases the likelihood you will succeed again!

So, instead of setting yourself up for failure and feeling bad, start with an easier action plan to build up your confidence. Small steps really will lead to big changes in your health.

I Intake

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Rather than searching for the perfect diet try being mindful of when, what and why you are eating.

Tuning into your body helps you decipher when you are getting hungry and not just looking for food to cure your boredom, stress, or loneliness. Children naturally know when they are hungry and when they have had enough to eat. Many adults have lost touch with these signals and struggle with weight control as a result. The hunger and fullness rating scale is a useful tool that shows you how to tune into your body and rate your level of hunger and fullness on a scale from 1 to 10. As with any skill you need to practice listening to your body to become competent at it.

O Outcome

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After all your efforts, how will you know if you are succeeding? Relying on weight loss to determine how you are doing can become very discouraging and may push you to try yet another diet. Therefore, your progress is best measured by reflecting on each small and realistic change you make as part of your action plan. It is also important to remember that changing your physical size and shape may not happen until you repair your relationship with food and your body.


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Your efforts to change your lifestyle need to be for YOU, not the food police in your life, your doctor or cultural expectations. Actions we think we should take are more difficult to achieve than actions we want to take. Don’t wait until Monday to get started. Identifying some small steps you feel ready to take NOW!

Contact me at jstackchefrd@gmail.com or call me at 917-370-7888 to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if you are ready to start making changes. I offer online nutrition therapy to help you make peace with food and your body and reclaim your health.