Giving Your Diet the One-Two Punch
Most people fail at dieting because they expect to be perfect. I don't know about you, but perfect is a pretty tough goal.
With a two-day-on, one-day-off approach you've always got an "off" day just around the corner. Sometimes the discipline to follow-through just takes the knowledge that you only need endure a bit of discomfort for a short while, not forever.
For "on" days you aren't going to be depriving yourself or drastically reducing your intake, just making some small changes. For instance, say you usually starve all day and eat all night. With this plan you would go ahead and eat a bit more during the day (a big part of why the evening eating happens is depriving yourself of nourishment all day). Have some food early in the day, a small sandwich or some soup perhaps for lunch, a snack or two of fruit or cut-up vegetables, etc., and a reasonable dinner.
Then, if you're craving pizza or cake or cookies, and you know you've eaten enough food, it's only a matter of knowing you can wait a day or two for your "Off" day. "Tomorrow, I can have that, but for tonight, I'm going to stick to my plan," and then you do.
The next "Off" day, if you still want pizza, go ahead and have pizza. The idea is to learn that cravings are not going to kill you, and you can endure some discomfort to make the changes you want to make. It makes sense that your body will be uncomfortable when you try to change a habit. There is nothing quite so satisfying as waking up that first morning after successfully staving off the cravings the night before.
You may notice for the first time that an empty stomach can feel good, light, different. It's okay to be hungry, and it's okay to wait to eat sometimes, but it's not okay to deprive yourself of basic needs such as nourishment and comfort.
EFT is very useful for the immediate cravings as well. Use it in the moment when you really want to eat something, use it for the doubts and fears. "Even though I don't want to do this, and "Even though I hate doing this," and "Even though I wish I never had to do this," and "Why doesn't everyone just leave me alone," and "I deeply and completely accept myself," are all things you may want to use EFT with.
Visit the EFT for Weight Loss introductory pages if you're not familiar with EFT. It's easy to use, easy to learn, and fun too.
On Days, Off Day: Names Don't Matter
Call them "on" and "off" days, "strict" and "do what I want" days, what ever you like. What you call your plan doesn't matter. What matters is the discipline of following through with your plan.
"Off Days" is Not Licence to Steal
With this plan your "Off" days are not "Go Insane and Eat Everything that Doesn't Move" days. Think instead of them as being "Guilt Free Days." Go ahead. Have whatever you didn't have yesterday. Eat as much as you need, even if it is a crazy amount, because next time, perhaps you won't have to be so crazed about it. When you know there will always be a next time, it becomes easier and easier.
Since you know you have an "off" day coming, you will be better able to stick to your plan. Do this when that last piece of pie is calling. Just say, I'll eat it tomorrow morning, and then wait until tomorrow morning. You may not want it tomorrow, but that's not the point. The point is learning to endure the impulses and making changes that last.
Eat When Hungry: Stop When Satisfied
Satisfied means you've had enough. You feel good, you are not thinking about how you're going to sneak more food as soon as everyone leaves the table
Learn to recognize your hunger signals for best results. Just because you've decided to eat a certain number of calories doesn't mean you absolutely must do so. If you aren't really hungry, then don't eat until you are.
Hunger means you want to eat some food. Pay attention and you'll start to recognize real hunger. Don't wait until you are ravenous either. That's a sure-fire way to end up having fast food. Paying attention to hunger signals is far more important than eating every three hours or any other time schedule plan.
If you don't know how to stop eating once you are satisfied, or don't think you even know what being satisfied with what you've eaten is like, then take the 8-week Ending Emotional Eating workshop. Session 8 is all about Learning How to Eat with guidelines and specific exercises to get you started.
How to Know You're Satisfied with What You've Eaten
Satisfied means you've had enough. You feel good, you are not thinking about how you're going to sneak more food as soon as everyone leaves the table. You are not going to eat scraps off the plates when you clear the dishes. Satisfied is a good place to be, not a longing or empty place.
Frankly, if you are eating as an activity (there's a bowl of nuts in front of you and you keep reaching for more), then it is nearly impossible to stop when you are satisfied, simply because you aren't eating for hunger in the first place. Hunger must first be present. You can't know when to stop eating, if there was never a true signal to start.
The schedule you set must be flexible, as there are always special occasions and unexpected invitations, but too flexible ends up being no schedule at all. Don't bend at every wind; meaning, be flexible when it is warranted, and otherwise stick to your plan like super glue. Don't let go. Don't be afraid to tough it out sometimes. This isn't a life sentence; it's just learning you won't expire if you forego those cookies while you watch TV.
Change the equation from eating poorly 85% of the time to eating well 85% of the time and you'll soon see the results you want. The more often you feed yourself well, the more you'll want to feed yourself well.
Give the One-Two Punch Diet a try and see what happens. Two days on, one day off (or choose any interval you like, but make it achievable). As soon as that's easy enough, you can move to 3 days on, one day off, and so on.