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Popular diet fails? 5 rules to make yours stick — for good

by Madelyn Fernstrom /  / Updated 

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The news that popular diets like Weight Watchers or Atkins don't keep most people slim for long may leave you wondering, why bother? Don't fret. Losing weight is hard, but it can be done and you can make it work for the long-term. There is a basic biological truth: when you eat fewer calories than your body requires daily, you’ll lose weight.  

And if you move more, you’ll usually boost that effort further.

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Choosing the right diet plan for YOU goes a long way to supporting long term success. Remember that every balanced diet plan works — for some people. When it comes to diets, when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you avoid the “new diet of the month," you're less likely to fail. 

Follow these five rules to make your diet stick, for good:

1. Choose an eating plan that works for your eating personality

Are you a grazer or 3-meal day eater? Are you a carb-lover or prefer protein? Do you eat in restaurants often, or are you a home cook? 

All diet plans work when they include a balance of nutrients and food groups. But the combinations are endless. Choose an eating plan that sounds appealing to you. One person’s “perfect” plan is another’s worst nightmare.

Which vegetable helps increase weight loss? Calling bluff on nutrition fads

2. Set realistic goals — and be patient

It took time to put on extra pounds, and it will take time to lose them. 

Select modest goals, like a 5 pound loss, or dropping a dress size. These are attainable, and provide an index of success that helps you stick to your plan.

3. Find the right kind of support

It’s tough to lose weight, and support is key. Choose the support that connects with you, whether it's group or on-line meetings, a family member or friend.

4. Accept that you will get off track at times  

It’s not a perfect world, and don’t expect to be the perfect “dieter”. When you get off track, learn from that experience – and get right back on your plan. It’s important that a small lapse doesn’t turn into a dietary collapse. Start fresh at the next meal, or the next day.

5. Address your stress 

Stress and emotions can wreak havoc on even the best diet plan. Learn how to better manage your stress, to sustain mental focus to stick to your plan. And work on getting enough sleep, no less than 7 hours a night. Lack of sleep is a physical stress that can derail a diet plan. 

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