Weight Loss Obstacles to Avoid (cont.)

4. Prepare for Detours

While starting a diet may be easy, sticking to one can be hard, particularly when you don't plan for life's little food detours.

"Whether it's a stressful event that normally causes you to overeat, or a food-related event like a wedding or a birthday party, you must realize that the world isn't on your diet, and perfect road conditions aren't going to exist every day of your weight loss journey," says Huberman.

The way around it, he says: plan, plan, and plan.

"If you try to just show up at your cousin's wedding and wing it through the buffet table, you're going to run into trouble," he says.

But if you decide ahead of time that you will detour off your diet, you can set limits on just how far afield you'll go.

"If you make up your mind beforehand that you will have two pieces of fried chicken and a portion of potato salad, most likely that is what you will stick to," says Huberman. "If you don't have a plan, you won't stop at two pieces of chicken -- you're more likely to turn it into an 'all you can eat' experience."

Moreover Huberman tells WebMD that if you do derail beyond your plan, encapsulate the event as a single slip up -- and don't use it as an excuse to ditch your diet for the rest of the weekend.

"Anticipate that detours will occur, tell yourself it's normal and expected, and then get right back on your diet with the very next bite you take," says Huberman.

5. Stop to Admire the Scenery

Does your motivation wane after just a few weeks of weight loss success? Experts say that's another common pitfall.

The way around it: Constantly remind yourself how far you've come.

"Remind yourself of the things you can do now that you couldn't do before, the clothes you can wear now that you couldn't wear before," says Huberman.

When you compare where you are now, to where you were and how you felt even 10 pounds ago, the motivation will spring back, he says.

Pascal reminds us not to focus only on pounds lost.

"Your blood pressure is probably lower, your blood sugars may be under better control, you have more energy, and probably get tired less and generally can do more," says Pascal. "Remind yourself of these things on a regular basis to keep motivation high."

6. Don't Set Your Sights on Oz

A tornado blew up and -- shazam! -- Dorothy was in Oz. But if your weight loss expectations are too high -- especially if you're looking for instant results -- experts say you'll get caught in a tailwind that can blow you far off course.

"When we are too impatient about losing weight we go to extremes, either cutting calories to an unrealistic level or working out too long and too hard -- whatever it is, feelings of impatience set up an unrealistic weight loss situation that is impossible to stick with," Pascal tells WebMD.

According to Sol Jacobs, MD, an endocrinologist and co-author of The Nantucket Diet, impatience and unrealistic expectations are among the key reasons diet plans fail.

"Weight loss will not be instantaneous, it will not always be easy, and it will require some sacrifices along the way," Jacobs say. "Slow, steady weight loss is the only clinically proven way to lose weight permanently."

So think of your journey as a slow but steady one.

"The tortoise always wins this race," Adler says. "The slower you lose the weight, the better chance you will have of keeping the weight off."

Published April 20, 2006

SOURCES: Warren Huberman, PhD, psychologist, New York University Surgical Weight Loss Program, NYU Medical Center, New York. Loren Pascal, RD, nutrition coordinator at the Dave Winfield Nutrition Center, of the Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey. Jessica Adler, RD, dietician/nutritionist, LiveHealthier.com. Stephen Schnur, MD, cardiologist, author, The Reality Diet: Lose the Pounds for Good With a Cardiologist's Simple, Healthy Proven Plan. Sol Jacobs, MD, endocrinologist; and author, The Nantucket Diet.

©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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