How to Diet Alone
It's always great to have your family and friends support your lifestyle changes and dietary restrictions, but it's not always that easy. What about those friends who encourage you to binge or cheat one too many times? What about the family or other members of your household who refuse to eat healthy and keep junk around the house?
Trust me when I say that you can do it. Sure, it's difficult and you can't help but to sigh things like "must be nice," when you see or hear about the support that others may have when they have a committed workout buddy or families who diet together.
A little background on my situation - I do not have a workout buddy, and I am the only person in my household who actually reads labels and practices conscious eating. This is not by choice; my local friends aren't nearly as committed as I am when it comes to fitness goals (and that's okay!), and my family doesn't struggle with binge eating or weight like I do. Plus, my mom is diabetic and my dad would rather eat cheese and crackers over a bowl of soup any day. Needless to say, I'm on my own. Here are my tips for how you can stay focused on your goals when you feel like you don't have anyone to support you.
1. Remember that your success is not determined by others' determination. Sure, you and your friend may have a conversation where you both decide you want to lose 20 pounds before summer, but that doesn't mean you are equally as determined. Your friend can't lose the weight for you, and you can't lose the weight for them, but you sure as hell can lose it for yourself. If it turns out that your friend was talking about losing a hypothetical 20 pounds when you really meant it, go for it. You won't regret it.
2. Keep reminding yourself that the 10 seconds of satisfaction from eating a couple cookies is not equal to the happiness you'll feel when you see results in the mirror. Have you ever ate so much that you joke about never eating again? Have you ever binged and felt guilty and regretted touching the food in the first place? Think about those feelings when you're tempted to sneak in a few bites of cake at the office and ask yourself if it's really worth it.
3. Meal Prep. This has helped me TREMENDOUSLY while living with my parents. Like I said above, my mom is diabetic - she needs quick carbs like candy and chips on hand just in case her blood sugar dips a little too low. My dad is also a VERY picky eater who's list of acceptable food items can be counted on ten fingers or less. And all of them are fake, processed junk that comes from a factory. So you can bet that if you take a look around the house, you'll always find things like cookies, bagels, cereal, crackers, etc. Sure, they can be good in moderation, but I personally struggle with portion control when I've had a taste of the good stuff. To help me with this, I actually meal prep all of my meals for the week (yes - breakfasts, lunches, dinners, AND snacks) so that I always have something to grab when I'm feeling hungry.
4. Join an online community. Having my Instagram has kept me fairly accountable over the years. Sure, I can avoid posting about my binges, but knowing that I need to post SOMETHING that day helps me to make sure I do something healthy. If you aren't comfortable with putting so much of your life online, join an online community like our group or other forums. Once you find a supportive group of people, you won't feel so alone.
5. Track your progress and your goals. I started off easy by using My Fitness Pal to track what I was eating. I also started writing down my workouts that I planned to do each week, and I even went as far as creating a 3-month training plan for myself to improve my athletic performance. You don't have to go crazy, but keeping some kind of log helps keep your thoughts organized and your goals in check as long as you keep up with it. This year I decided to start a Bullet Journal, and I plan to keep track of my measurements, weight change, and personal records throughout the year so that I can have something to look back on and reflect later down the line.
Dieting alone can be difficult, but not impossible. Stay motivated, keep positive thoughts (Pinterest is GREAT for that), and don't ever hesitate to reach out for support!