The first step towards losing fat permanently has more to do with your mindset than it does with nutrition or exercise. You have to change your entire attitude about nutrition and exercise. Instead of adopting the mindset of short-term "diets," you must adopt the mindset of lifelong "habits." A habit is a behavior that you perform automatically without much conscious thought or effort. Once a habit is firmly established - good or bad - it takes enormous strength to break it. It's like trying to swim upstream against the current.
The entire concept of "dieting" for fat loss is flawed. When you say you're "going on a diet" the underlying implication is that it's a temporary change and at some point you're going to have to "go off' the diet. With this type of attitude, you're setting yourself up for failure right from the start.
Permanent fat loss can't be achieved by going on and off diets. It can only be achieved by adopting new exercise and nutrition habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life. Depending on your goal, you may need to make your diet more or less restrictive at certain times, but you always must maintain a baseline of healthy eating habits that never change. Usually you'll eat the same foods all year round. When you want to lose body fat, all you need to do is simply eat a little bit less of those same foods and exercise a lot more.
Nature abhors a vacuum. The best way to get rid of undesirable habits such as poor nutrition or inactivity is by replacing them with new ones, not attempting to overcome them with sheer willpower. Achievement expert Brian Tracy likens this to covering up a bad paint job by layering over with a new paint that is thick enough so the old paint disappears. The new habit then takes over as the old one is filed away in the subconscious mind.
Good nutrition habits are not easy to form, but once you've formed them, they're just as hard to break as the bad ones. Orison Swett Marden put it this way: "The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably."
Initially, there will be a period where starting the new habit feels uncomfortable. Be patient - everything is difficult in the beginning. For a new behavior to become permanently entrenched into your nervous system, it could take months. However, the roots of nutrition and exercise habits can be formed in just 21 days. That's why it's so important to give 100% total effort and commitment for the first 21 days. Once those 21 days have gone by, you'll already be leaner and you'll be on your way to making your new habits as effortless and natural as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
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