Attitude: How It Makes the Difference

Don't discount the power of psychological effects on your health.

Some researchers say that losing weight and following a meal plan are as much a psychological challenge as a physiological one. And one of the primary tasks is accepting that your health can improve — but maybe not by tomorrow.

Diets that promise quick results seem to be everywhere. But it’s counterproductive to expect change to happen quickly. While it’s true that some diets can take pounds off fast, few can guarantee that the weight will stay off. For that to happen, you need to view dietary change as a permanent adjustment in the way you live.

Accepting good habits as a permanent part of life protects against a number of other attitude snags that can hinder your progress. For example, if you see your diet as a temporary measure you take until you drop a certain number of pounds, you’ll tend to think of yourself as either “on” or “off” your diet. That promotes a sense that dieting demands special willpower and that eating a food you like or an occasional item that’s not in your meal plan means you’ve cheated or failed. You’ll have better results with a more forgiving attitude that lets you make mistakes and move on to make better choices next time.