4 Ways to Lose the Weight and Stay Stress-Free
Guilt Trips from Cravings Cave-Ins
You snap at coworkers for no reason. Feel bitter every time your thin friends order dessert. Beat yourself up after losing an hour-long standoff with a chocolate-chip cookie. Dropping extra pounds is supposed to make you healthier and happier -- but it doesn't always feel that way. In fact, according to a recent study at UCLA, dieting may actually cause chronic stress. Here, four signs that you're at risk for diet-induced anxiety, plus simple fixes to help you lose weight without losing your mind.
The Sign: You give yourself a mental flogging every time you cave in to a craving.
The Cause: Having unrealistic goals. Set your expectations too high -- trying to lose 20 pounds in a month or vowing never to eat chocolate again -- and you're likely to slip up often, making you feel defeated and hopeless.
The Fix: Make it as easy as possible to achieve small successes on a regular basis, suggests Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD, a clinical psychologist and codirector of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. For example, setting a weight-loss goal of losing 10 pounds before your class reunion gives you only one chance to succeed. On the other hand, setting goals like avoiding the office vending machine or choosing the stairs over the elevator offers opportunities to pat yourself on the back every day. Bonus: Focusing on accomplishments builds confidence. "Research shows that the more you believe you can lose weight, the more likely you are to actually do it," says Schwartz.
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