Diets are hard to stick with for a long period of time. It’s easy to start one, and you may even have good progress at first, at least if you follow a diet that works. But after a while your patience starts to wear thin and you catch yourself cutting corners more and more until you’ve given up on the whole thing. Why is that? We have so much to gain from dieting, why can’t we stick with it?

What is it that we all hate so much about diets? Well, there are a lot of reasons.

 Some diets are just too hard to figure out. Counting calories gets tiresome. How many calories are in five crackers? What if you add butter? What if it’s margarine and not butter? What if it’s cream cheese? What if it’s cheddar cheese? What if it’s blue cheese? You know how it goes. You’re more apt to lose weight from all the time you spend looking through the calorie counter books than from the actual diet.

Some foods labeled as healthy aren’t actually as good for you as they claim, and some healthy foods don’t brag about their nutritional value on the package. So you end up having to add up all the numbers on the side; figuring out how much you can eat at once, how often you can have it, what you can eat with it, and so on and so on. Often when they take out the fat they add more sugar.

Diets can also be time consuming. When you come home late from work and there’s nothing left in the fridge, it’s a lot easier to go through a drive-through or order a pizza than it is track down a healthy meal. Unhealthy food is fast and convenient. In a society where we’re used to instant gratification, the convenience of fast food can be a hard thing to give up.

 They’re expensive. If you order special pre-packages food it can cost you more than “real” food would. A sugary, nutrition-lacking cereal that is meant to taste like fruit often costs less than actual fruit does. Grocery stores seem to have a license to steal when it comes to healthy food; while on the other hand you can get double-cheese burgers for a dollar at several different fast food chains. For the price of one carton of apple juice you could buy four times as much generic brand soda, and… well, you get the idea.

 They’re boring. Getting to try new foods without having to ask a bunch of questions and add up a bunch of numbers makes eating a much more enjoyable experience. Nobody talks about how much fun they’re having on their diet. It’s hard work.

So how do you stick with it? How can you possibly keep dieting when there is so much against you?

First, plan ahead. If you already have healthy meals planned for the week you’re less likely to order pizza.

But the most important way to convince yourself to eat healthy is to focus on the positive. What do you GAIN from dieting?

Your appearance improves. Dieting will make you look great in a variety of ways. Losing extra weight is an obvious one, but focused dieting can also improve everything from skin to muscle tone to healthier hair.

You feel great. Your energy sky-rockets and you find yourself able to do so much more in your day. It’s harder for you to get depressed and exhausted. Physical tasks like walking up a long flight of stairs no longer leaves you aching and out of breath.

You live longer. What price would you pay to add YEARS onto your life? Dieting is a pretty fair trade if you consider it from a long term perspective.