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How to Stay on a Diet

Expert diet tips to keep you from being a diet dropout.

Reasons for Diet Failure continued...

2. Unrealistic Expectations

Failing to lose weight quickly enough is the Achilles heel of most dieters, says Champagne. Weight loss may take longer than anticipated, or your diet may need adjustments along the way.

"Most dieters want to lose large amounts of weight and aren't happy unless they lose 30%-40%" of their body weight, says Wyatt.

When you set the bar unrealistically high, she says, it can feel like you failed when you don't meet your goals. And when you think of yourself as a failure, this can trigger a return to old eating habits.

Diet Success Tip: You might not fit into those skinny jeans, but keep in mind that losing even a little weight goes a long way toward improving your health. Research has shown that losing 10% of your body weight (for example, going from 200 to 180 pounds) can have big payoffs for your health.

"Medically, 10% weight loss can lower blood pressure, cholesterol [and] triglyceride levels, improve glucose sensitivity and sleep apnea," says Wyatt.

In addition, it can help you feel better about yourself.

3. Dieting Without Exercise

Some people just don't like to exercise, or have physical limitations that prevent them from doing it. But if you don't want to be a diet drop-out, you need to find some form of physical activity you can do most days of the week.

"If there is one behavior that predicts weight loss success, it is being physically active on a regular basis," says Foster.

Further, physical activity brings many health and psychological benefits aside from weight loss.

Diet Success Tip: Exercise does not have to happen in a gym - try gardening, dancing, walking, bike riding, or playing tennis, whatever you enjoy. Start slowly and gradually increase your intensity. Check with your doctor if you have physical limitations. Working out in the pool, for example, cushions joints and adds the extra benefit of water resistance. One of the simplest and easiest ways to exercise is to trap on a pedometer and count your steps throughout the day, aiming for 10,000 each day.

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