The common wisdom is that for a diet to succeed it has to have sex appeal. That means the air-brushed after-pictures have to show scantily clad, starry-eyed, smiling participants or the diet has to be associated with a celebrity or a beautiful, trendy locale like South Beach. Some diets feature body parts that are associated with sexiness and physical prowess in the bedroom like The Abs Diet. At minimum a diet has to be radical claiming that one or two foods eaten at specific intervals will catapult our metabolism into overdrive and dissolve fat deposits in specific places. In that light can a common sense, balanced diet combined with a fitness program where we have to move-to-lose stand a chance?

There are a few basic scenarios that motivate us to lose weight and ironically set us up for failure: a high school reunion, a health-related warning, an affair like a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, or the other kind of affair. Startled by the sudden need, we pressure ourselves to lose weight rapidly and never give ourselves enough time to prepare. The deadline increases our stress levels which cause us to eat in the closet, or binge eat in the middle of the night after a whole day of deprivation, creating havoc with our metabolism. Instead of exercising in daily moderation, we become weekend warriors and come Monday morning we can hardly walk down the stairs or get out of the car because we are in so much pain. Exercise is now forever linked with painful memories. Ultimately, we begin to believe in the genie in the supplement bottle and in late night infomercial exercise machines!

However, when the realization hits that our bodies are not changing for the better and that we are just deceiving ourselves, it is time to follow a low-fad diet. The low-fad diet means making a commitment to sustained success and to the voice of reason that there is no such thing as a quick fix. Here are some suggestions to alter the mindset that is impeding you from your goals.

  • Are your portions too big? You should conduct your meals the way you conduct business. Don’t grab more than a fair share.
  • Do you sabotage your health by eating foods that you know are harmful? At least be as loyal to yourself as you would be to others.
  • Do you eat to fill an empty, lonely heart? Don’t forget to express your gratitude and appreciation to others and so to yourself. When you appreciate yourself, you take care of yourself.
  • Do you eat when you are nervous and pressured? A balanced life is a solution to the quest for happiness. If your weight and activity levels are out of balance, you will not be happy. And if you are not happy, your physical health will be out of balance.
  • Do you replay worries and perceived insults or do you let them go? When people criticize you, does it trigger eating sugary-fat or salty-fat comfort food? We all have negative voices and good voices in our head. We have to detangle the negative, stressful advice from the positive. It is like going to the fruit store and sorting out the bad fruit from the good fruit. We have the ability to do it!

True beauty is not physical, but something you develop within yourself and communicate to others. Take the pressure off the obsessive quest for physical attractiveness. You will feel lighter! When you ease up on unrealistic expectations, you can make a sustained effort toward managing small goals of weight loss and fitness. Perhaps a 10K run is overwhelming, but a 30 minute walk isn’t!

Author's Bio: 

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: