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The current high levels of obesity have made weight control a major health priority throughout North America. At the same time, statistics show that average weight loss for dieters on conventional diets amounts to a mere 5-8 pounds per annum. Why is dieting so difficult? According to a new survey (1), there are three reasons. We don't have a sufficiently powerful incentive; we let ourselves go hungry; and we don't deal effectively with "bad days".

The new weight loss survey asked dieters to identify the three biggest obstacles they faced when following a calorie-controlled eating plan. The most popular replies were:

- Inadequate incentive to lose weight (75 percent)
- Hunger (70 percent)
- Bad days (69 percent)

Let's look at what causes these diet problems, and how we can overcome them.

Why Is Incentive So Important When Trying To Reduce Weight?

We gain weight either because we consume too many calories, or burn too few, or (most likely, a combination of both). So to lose weight, we need to correct this calorie imbalance by changing our eating and exercise habits. But as we all know, regular habits aren't easily changed, especially if it means cutting out our favorite food treats. The only way to do it, to to find a strong incentive to help us change.

In a nutshell, we need an answer to the question: How will I benefit from losing weight?

Most dieters can't answer this question! Those who can, usually reply: "Because I'll feel better" or "Because my health will improve". Other dieters may say they are trying to reduce weight to satisfy their doctor, or partner. These general reasons are much too weak to motivate us to change our regular eating and exercise routine. For instance, losing weight to please others rarely works. As a result, as soon as our weight loss diet runs into problems, we quit.

What Type of Incentive Is Best For Weight Loss?

In order to stay motivated to lose weight, we must fix our eyes on something PERSONAL - some kind of selfish, personal benefit - for example, a beach holiday, or a family occasion, or the achievement of a specific fitness goal. Whatever benefit we choose to inspire us to lose weight, it must be specific and have a fixed date.

EXAMPLE
"I want to lose weight and get into shape within 6 months, because I've just booked an expensive holiday in Florida. I want some quality male attention - y'unnerstan what I'm saying, girls - so I'm going to drop three dress sizes and lose 50 pounds to make sure I get it."
Sounds better than losing weight to satisfy your doctor, doesn't it?

Make up your own diet incentive. Choose anything that makes your weight loss goal REALLY DESIRABLE!

Why Hunger Stops Us Losing Weight

Most dieters still believe that food is their enemy. So they think the less they eat, the quicker they'll lose weight. NOT TRUE! The truth is, the less we eat, the more hungry we get and the quicker our diet goes up in smoke. Don't forget, the human body is genetically designed to eat when hungry and no amount of willpower will neutralize this basic urge - at least, not for long. That's why low-calorie diets are usually followed by eating binges.

How to Avoid Hunger And Lose Weight

Skipping meals during the day is the main cause of hunger. So make CERTAIN you eat regularly throughout the day, and eat a minimum of 1200-1300 calories per day - more if you exercise for 45 minutes. Regular eating reassures your body that food is plentiful, so it burns calories more efficiently. In addition, it maintains steady blood sugar levels thus preventing sudden urges to overeat.

To Lose Weight It's Better To Eat Too Much Rather Than Too Little

Each of us has days when we feel extra hungry. When this happens, EAT MORE! Might this slow down your weight loss? A little, perhaps, but so what? Needing a few extra days to achieve your weight loss goal is not a problem. The real problem is not eating enough and getting hungry and depressed. Because when this happens, you'll stop dieting and start bingeing.

How To Cope With Bad Days Without Quitting Your Diet

All dieters experience "bad days." Unfortunately, most of them insist on perfection. So if they visit a friend and finish up eating 2 containers of ice cream and a box of cookies, they go to pieces. They become overwhelmed by guilt at not being perfect, and quit their diet in disgust. But eating the ice cream and cookies is pretty harmless - you need to eat a very large amount of food (3500+ calories) to gain just one pound of body fat - the real damage is caused by the guilt that follows. So what's the answer? DON'T TRY TO BE PERFECT! Once you stop seeing yourself as the PERFECT dieter you'll feel entitledto make occasional mistakes, and you'll find dieting much easier and much less stressful.

Successful Weight Loss Is Only Possible With Proper Support

FACT: Most dieters fail.
WHY? Because they don't get help.

The three problems outlined above are just a few of the difficulties we face when trying to lose weight. To overcome them and all the other diet issues that stand in the way of our weight loss goals, we need to get help. This is much more important than choosing the perfect calorie-controlled eating plan, because no diet can motivate you to stay on track. Only other people can help you do this. Weight loss - even for people who have been obese for years - is EASY when we get motivation and encouragement from others. So if you join an online weight loss program, make sure it has an active diet-support forum. Because when we have people behind us, we can do anything - y'unnerstan what I'm saying, girls?

References:
1. Weight Loss Survey (March 2007) by annecollins.com. A total of 17,403 subjects replied to the survey. They were asked to choose 3 from a list of 10 diet-problems. The results were as follows: (1) Inadequate Incentive (75%). (2) Hunger (70%). (3) Bad Days (69%). (4) Boredom (69%). (5) Stress (65%). (6) Interference From Others (55%). (7) Too Much Eating Out (28%). (8) Eating on The Run (26%). (9) Ill-health (8%). (10) Lack of Sleep (4%).

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