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  • Writer's pictureJesse Thornton

How to Maintain a Diet

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

I would like to provide a few psychological insights into dieting.  Here are some thoughts on how to be successful with a chosen diet:

Social Support:

First and foremost, recognize that goals are very difficult to achieve without some level of social support.  There are many reasons people avoid social support when setting goals.  They include embarrassment, fear of failure, not wanting to bother others, the increased amount of time and money social support may require.  Overcoming the barrier of discussing your dietary goals with a spouse, friend, or joining a support group is a major and important step towards successful dieting.  Working with others to reach your dietary and weight goals has a very strong impact on success.  In my opinion, this is one of the most effective measures you can take.

Research your diet:

No matter what diet you are undertaking, if you do not understand the diet or how it affects your body, you are less likely to stick with it and succeed in your goals.  There is interesting research that shows the more we study a topic, the more motivated with the topic we become.  In other words, the more you study your diet, the more proficient you will become with the foods you eat.  Also, the more motivated to stick with the diet you will become.  This is like the follow-your-nose policy.  If you look at your diet, read about it, and learn ways to prepare your diet, you are more likely to move towards your diet.

Manage your home:

This is a must.  If you are an alcoholic, don’t bring alcohol into your home.  Don’t bring cigarettes home if a smoker.  If you are not supposed to eat carbs or fats or Twinkies, don’t bring them into your home.  Everything you do to remove the convenience of the negative foods increases the chances you will be successful as well as vice versa.

Convenience is subjective:

When talking about diet with folks one thing everybody inevitably brings up is that fast foods and unhealthy foods are so convenient and that healthy options are less convenient or more expensive.  This is not true!  What you have researched is what you have made convenient.  If you spend several years researching all the healthy options for eating in your city or town, you will find those options more convenient and cost effective and the unhealthy options less accessible.  You will need to take time to relearn your community to find out where those healthy options lie.

Recognize addictions:

When I compare dieting to alcohol and nicotine, I am comparing food to an addiction.  This is because it behaves like an addiction.  This also means that you will face physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.  Physically, you will likely face headaches, cravings, cramps, and other feelings of unwellness.  Psychologically, you will have to face your emotions differently.  You will need to learn to relate with people and the world differently.  In many ways, you will face a new way of life and living.  This can be both rewarding and trying.  Don’t forget, the most important treatment for addictions is social support!

Make time in your schedule:

My final thoughts on successful dieting is that it requires a significant amount of time and/or energy to get underway and moderately to maintain.  Managing something as significant as food consumption patterns is no small feat.  Respect the decision and the requirements of the challenge.

These are just a few thoughts on how to be successful in you journey with food.  Because food can function like an addiction and because our eating habits are intertwined with our emotions, therapy can be an ideal setting to begin your work with diet.  A therapist can help you get connected with your emotional eating habits and provide new ways of relating with food.

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