It’s a perennial cycle: You notice that your favorite jeans are a little snugger than they were last year. You get winded after a flight of stairs. Or maybe you’re just feeling a renewed commitment to well-being after a holiday sugar bender. Then come the promises— a three-day juice cleanse, the treadmill every day for a month, no sugar (or is it no carbs?) ever. But then real life sneaks up on you—and before you know it, you’ve abandoned the entire plan.
Turns out, there’s nothing wrong with your willpower. Instead, you might be biting off more than you can chew (no pun intended). The reason diets bomb so often is the all-or-nothing extremism people tend to apply to weight loss. “Our culture gives people two options: Take big action or do nothing,” says James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., a professor of clinical and health psychology at the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, and the author of Changing for Good. When the big action inevitably fails, people become demoralized and go back to doing nothing.
Excerpted from Real Simple