If you’ve ever tried to ‘diet’ but haven’t had much success, then pay attention closely.
Every successful fat loss story will come as a result of practicing established habits on a consistent basis.
Forget about quick fixes. What you need are solid nutritional habits.
In today’s article, I want to share 11 habits you need to practice to become a successful dieter.
1) You focus on the ‘Big Rocks’
A successful dieter focuses on the big rocks or the stuff that really matters most. Stuff like:
- Eating in a calorie deficit
- consuming adequate protein
- drinking plenty of water
- eating 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies every day
- eating mostly whole foods (80/20 rule)
Worrying about nutrient timing, supplements, and whether your food is organic or not are simply pebbles in the grand scheme of things.
To be a successful dieter you must focus on the big rock items first and foremost.
2) You’re prepared
Preparation truly does go a long way for dieting success. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do this:
However, making some meals ahead of time or preparing food in bulk for the week goes a long way in hitting your nutritional needs. My favorite is simply making up a bunch of food on the weekend and then having that stocked in the fridge. When I need some nutritious and delicious foods I can just grab and go.
Preparation also means you plan ahead if you know you’ll be dining out or eating on-the-go. Your diet isn’t doomed if you’re unable to eat out of tupperware.
You simply have to be aware of the options you’ll have when dining out and adjust those choices to fit your current calorie guidelines.
3) You understand your ‘diet’ is temporary
A successful dieter knows the difference between long-term dieting (your lifestyle) and short-term dieting (specific to a goal, ie losing 20lbs etc).
You shouldn’t be aiming to lose weight for life. Or rather, in a non-stop calorie deficit. You should, however, break your fat loss diet into specific, targeted periods where you’re more focused on a meaningful goal. Fat loss diets can range in duration from 4-16 weeks on average. They are not meant to be done for a year straight.
If you’re looking to lose a lot of weight, it’s best to split that into several ‘diet’ periods. This will lead to better results and will provide some mental relief throughout the process.
Once you’ve reached your first goal, you can then utilize a lifestyle diet where the principles still apply but you’re not actively trying to lose a certain amount of weight.
The habits that helped you reach your goal should be very similar to ones you practice as part of your daily life. The only difference will be the changes in calorie amounts.
4) You aim for consistency, not perfection
To be a successful dieter, you understand that consistency beats perfection 100% of the time, every time.
Perfection really isn’t possible, or remotely realistic on a fat loss diet. Instead, focus on being consistent as much as possible day in and day out and you’ll reach your goal much faster.
Be consistent with the big rocks mentioned earlier and you’ll become a very successful dieter–both short-term and long-term.
5) You’re in control of your choices
You’re in complete control of what you eat, drink, and put into your body. As a successful dieter, you understand that you’re free to make your own nutrition choices, and are responsible for what goes in your mouth.
You also are aware that no matter how many tips or guidelines you’re told, you’re ultimately the only one that can put those things into action.
6) You value the importance of exercise
Any successful dieter can tell you how important exercise is. When your goal is weight loss, burning calories is the name of the game–to a degree.
My preferred method for myself and my online coaching clients is resistance training. Not only will resistance training burn calories, but it also helps build muscle and strength. This ultimately creates a fantastic foundation for fat loss and is directly responsible for giving the body shape and definition.
Exercise has to become a habit if you want to be a successful dieter.
7) You’re aware and can adjust on the fly
A successful dieter can adjust his/her food intake to accommodate social gatherings, events, and holidays. Look, unless you’re dieting to step on a bodybuilding stage, there’s no reason you have to skip important events or avoid social gatherings.
Many people are afraid these things will ‘blow’ their diet and cause them to fail.
The truth is, if you plan it right, you’ll gain a few pounds of water weight and be right back where you started before the festivities.
The trick is adjusting ahead of time. Saving a large amount of calories for a special occasion is probably a good idea. Think of it like this.
Say you eat 4 meals a day, 7 days a week.
On a Saturday night, you enjoy yourself.
Out of 28 meals you have one that’s a bit higher in calories than normal. That’s 1/28 meals. In the grand scheme of things, this is likely to have very little impact on your overall success.
A successful dieter understands that life should be lived and as long as you’re making conscious decisions the rest of the time, it’s ok every now and then to let loose.
8) You can say no
On the flip side to the point above, it’s also ok to say ‘no.’ Just because there are foods staring you in the face doesn’t mean you have to eat them.
If you don’t want something, by all means, do not feel like you have to eat it just because other people tell you to, or because it’s there. Remember, you get to make the decisions. If you want something, then have it. If you don’t that’s perfectly fine, too.
9) You don’t look for shortcuts
I’m 100% guilty of looking for the shortcuts. The ‘diet’ that would make everything super easy.
After successfully losing 25lbs , I can tell you with certainty that there are no shortcuts. It sucks in a way but it’s always reassuring to know the hard work and effort you put in will pay off. Calories are still calories at the end of the day and you still have to put in the effort and hard work.
Don’t look for tricks, shortcuts, or follow diet fads–because they don’t work.
Instead, focus on those big rocks and put in effort repeatedly.
10) You don’t view food as good vs. bad
Food isn’t like Batman vs. the Joker, where one is good and one is bad.
As a successful dieter, you understand how important it is not to place a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label on foods. Sure, whole food sources are great and should make up the bulk of your diet, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you have something different.
By removing the labels from foods we can also remove a lot of the guilt associated with eating certain foods. Food guilt is one of the biggest problems people face when dieting. They think that because they ate X food that their diet is ruined.
This causes a nasty cycle to occur. They’ll eat what they think are ‘good’ foods and then have something they consider ‘bad’ which then causes them to spiral out of control.
Instead, view foods as things that contain calories and do your best to hit your calorie targets on a daily basis while eating mostly whole foods.
If an ice cream sandwich or cookie slips in there it’s not the end of the world.
In fact, it likely won’t make a hill of beans at all.
11) You adjust when things get crazy
A successful dieter knows when to crank things up and when to back off.
If you’re extremely busy or stressed, that’s not likely the best time to go on a restrictive diet. By restrictive I simply mean a diet where you’re focused on a specific goal like losing 10lbs.
Rather than running yourself into the ground with a calorie restricted diet, keep things flexible when you’re really, really busy.
Like I said before, you shouldn’t always be dieting for weight loss anyway. Short (1-3 month) periods of a calorie deficit at a time are probably best.
If you’ve got too much going on right now, the last thing you need is to be worrying about ‘hitting your macros’ or running on low(er) calories.
Instead, aim to maintain your bodyweight while still making good choices overall.
How do your habits stack up?
So how’d you do? Do you practice these 11 habits?
Take a look at the areas you might need improvement and focus on making those better.
Once you nail these 11 habits, you’ll forever be a successful dieter. If you need help honing in your nutrition, be sure to grab a free copy of ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ below. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about losing body fat and getting into great shape.