6 Ways to Dump the Diet Mindset

Dieting can be hazardous to your weight loss. Learning to embrace Weight Watchers as a way of life rather than a diet will help you have lasting success.
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Weight Watchers has been sending a consistent message over the years: "Stop dieting, start living." An awesome thought. The idea of eating what I wanted and losing weight brought me to my first meeting over five years ago. I must be honest, after years of dieting, I was sure I'd prove Weight Watchers wrong! Every time I ate what I wanted, I found myself nearly 30 pounds heavier.

Five years and a career change later, Weight Watchers was right. Learn to live a healthy lifestyle, and you'll set yourself free of the diet mindset.

As a Leader, I have a wonderful perch from which I can watch hopeful members wander through the meeting room doors. After years of observing, I've come to learn that the members who lose weight and keep it off are the ones who really do as Weight Watchers recommends.

Stop dieting. It sounds easy, but for many of us, years of "diet" conditioning and societal messages send us down that calorie, fat and carb-counting road time and again, never to find our way home. I now believe there are some factors that can truly affect your success rate and help you dump the diet mindset. I have outlined seven strategies that I've seen work for both myself and my members. Read through them, then share your thoughts and ideas in the Community.

1. Eat your weekly PointsPlus™ Allowance
You don't get a reward or go to Weight Watchers heaven for denying yourself the additional 49 weekly PointsPlus Allowance. In fact, they expire at the end of the week, so they're gone, never to be enjoyed again. I see new members walk through the door swearing they won't touch their extra "stash" of PointsPlus values, thinking they'll lose weight faster. But being this strict makes people miserable and is nearly impossible to maintain. The weekly PointsPlus Allowance was created to allow for flexibility and creativity in your plan.

2. Read up on fitness and health topics
Approach your lifestyle change as a course of study. Read everything you can get your hands on to further educate yourself about how to live a healthy lifestyle. Periodicals, books, videos and the Internet are great places to learn about ways to shop for food, prepare meals, become active and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Refuse to get stuck in a food rut
Take a look at your daily menu. Do you eat the same breakfast and lunch every day? If so, you're on a diet. You're afraid to try new foods for fear they will throw you off track.

This is a recipe for disaster! Your number one priority should be to explore new foods and meals. Create a huge repertoire of satisfying foods that you enjoy and know work to support your long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.

4. Don't be an obsessive scale hopper
Weight fluctuates from hour to hour and day to day. Jumping on the scale too often can become frustrating and get in the way of you seeing your overall progress. Be sure to focus on the non-scale changes, such as how your clothing fits and the compliments you receive for further positive reinforcement.

5. Focus on behavior change
Watch your actions as carefully as you watch the scale. Celebrate every behavior change that you see yourself making. Pay close attention to how you act during social gatherings, at work and alone at home at night. Have you begun to bring your lunch to work? Fantastic. This small change is a major accomplishment that will result in long term weight loss and weight maintenance.

6. Don't quit
At the end of the day, the most successful "losers" are the ones who simply refuse to give up. They don't flinch when the scale goes up and they don't let negativity stand in their way. If you find yourself dreaming about the day you "finish," reframe that idea and begin to focus on healthy eating. When you refuse to quit, eventually all of this becomes second nature. Let go of perfectionism and settle in for the course of a lifetime.

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