The One Diet Secret You’ll Ever Need to Know

And 7 other things no one ever seems to mention about losing weight

The one diet secret you’ll ever need to know? I bet I got you with that one.

Most of us always think if we only could follow this one little, easy tip, we’ll magically lose weight. And while there may be science behind a lot of weight-loss tips we hear about — like how eating grapefruit in the morning curbs your appetite or how drinking eight glasses of water helps burn calories — there’s only one secret you need to know about weight loss.

Ready? Here it is: There is no secret.

Yeah, that’s the thing that most people forget to mention. I’ve tried every trick in the book, including the 17-Day/Atkins/Wishing Your Weight Away Diet, and the sad reality is there’s no magical formula. I have, however, accrued my own little weight-loss “secrets.” They’re not secret at all, yet no one ever seems to mention them.

1. Dieting Is Hard

Weight-loss commercials love to show a skinny woman beaming at the camera. But take a close gander at those “before” pics, and you’ll see how unhappy the person looks … until her “after” shots. That’s because dieting is difficult. To not acknowledge this going in is to set yourself up for failure, like climbing Mt. Everest in flip-flops. Be prepared, and you will have a better chance at success.

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2. You Will Be Hungry

Hear that loud rumbling noise? Yeah, that’s my stomach, grumbling in protest at the sudden calorie restriction imposed. What did I do to deserve this?, it’s saying. So many diets promise plans that will make you feel full, but for some reason, it doesn't matter how many baby carrots I eat, I still seem to want to scarf a carton of Chubby Hubby. The bottom line is that to slim down, you have to burn more calories than you take in. Which means that you’ll feel hungry. My advice? Get used to the hollow feeling: That’s your stomach shrinking.

3. You’ll Have to Make Choices

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Your friends are going out for sushi. Your family is going out for Italian. Your kids are having a pizza party. Every diet loves to extol eating “in moderation,” but what they forget to emphasize is that like life, eating well is about making choices. If you have a slice — just one! — of pizza you’ll have to add a half hour on the treadmill. Sure, you can have your cake and eat it, too … except you won’t fit into your jeans.

4. Deprive Yourself

“Don’t deny yourself dessert,” your friends cajole you. “Indulge in a sumptuous meal,” the media taunts you. Even though everyone claims to value thinness, they don’t want you to feel deprived. Well, guess what? You are depriving yourself — literally — of the fattening foods that probably put you in this predicament. But if you equate dieting with self-denial, your resentment will make you self-sabotage. Instead, if you understand that by eating more healthfully you’re actually treating yourself well — i.e., indulging yourself — you’ll align your psychology up with your behavior. And that’s half the battle.

5. Why Are You Eating?

Some people eat when they’re sad. Others eat when they’re anxious. Some people eat when they’re alone and others when they’re out with friends. If you don’t figure out why you’re overeating — or eating so poorly — you won’t be able to keep the weight off. If you know what emotional states trigger you, you can work on those issues.

6. Dieting May Make You Moody

There are emotional cravings for food, and then there actually are physical cravings. When I cut carbs completely out of my diet, people wanted to force-feed me bagels just so I’ll be nicer. Interestingly, by upping my vitamin intake and my exercise regime, I can stabilize my moods the way chocolate once did.

7. Exercise Is Hard Too

Articles often advocate finding the “perfect” exercise for you, as if it will be as much fun as couch-surfing and watching “Breaking Bad” marathons. It won’t be. Even if you’re like me and enjoy exercise, a daily regimen can be a drag. And if you’re new to exercise, it can be challenging … until the endorphins kick in.

But, dieter, do not despair: You think you want to lose weight so you will look better, gain approval and not spill over your airline seat into the aisle. But the truth is that when you persevere in losing weight and being healthy, you will feel 100 times better.

And that’s the one secret you ever need to know.

Tags: diet