5 Ways to Psych Yourself Up for a Diet

Be honest with yourself: Eating vegetables alone won't cut it.Be honest with yourself: Eating vegetables alone won't cut it.Courtney Balestier, Allure magazine

An Interview With Stephen Gullo

weight-loss specialist based in New York City, Gullo is the author of
The Thin Commandments (Rodale).

Diets are associated with deprivation, but when you start with a negative attitude, you get negative results. To successfully lose weight, you need to be in the right frame of mind before you've counted a single calorie.

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1. Focus on the broader goals.
Before starting a diet, most people have a specific dress size in mind as a goal. And while that can be motivating, you increase your odds of success by seeing the bigger picture, too. Say to yourself, "This diet will help me look and feel better." You're going on a diet because your old habits weren't working for your life. Knowing you're making an effort to fix that is empowering.

2. Be brutally honest.
People gain the same weight with the same foods eaten at the same time of day. If you acknowledge that bread is your downfall before you've stepped into a restaurant or market, you'll be less likely to cave when you're faced with it. Be just as clear about your habits. If you're not a cook-from-scratch type, a diet of home-cooked meals will discourage you. Have healthy prepackaged items on hand instead.

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3. Make a simple plan.
Limit meal choices to two or three healthy options, and you'll be less likely to make bad decisions. Before you go to a restaurant, read the menu. It won't look as sexy on a computer screen, and you'll reduce your chances of being seduced by unhealthy foods.

4. Get supportive friends and family on board.
They'll help keep you motivated and honest about your new eating habits. I've found that our egos keep us on track better than our willpower does.

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5. Admit that you'll slip up.
People approach diets as having two outcomes: perfection or failure. But you're more likely to fall in between. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up. When you slip, acknowledge it, move on, and remember: Nobody gets heavy from one mistake.

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