10 Actionable Tips for Sticking to a Diet

The new year comes with the standard set of New Year’s resolutions. For some people, that means learning a new skill, getting organized, or getting their finances in order. One of the most common resolutions, though, is a resolution to lose weight.

Losing weight is different than one of the other common resolutions of getting into shape. Weight loss generally depends more on your calorie intake than your activity level. In essence, not eating the snack is easier than running it off.

That means you need a diet. So, how do you go about sticking to a diet once you commit to one? Keep reading for 10 tips that will help you with following a diet.

1. Find a Powerful Motivator

If looking great was a powerful enough motivator to lose weight, everyone would already look great. You need something deeply personal that you care about to lose weight. Maybe you want a long life with your spouse or to see your kids graduate from college.

Those kinds of motivators help you stick with your diet.

2. Set Achievable Goals

If you want one of the keys about how to stick to a diet, achievable goals are one of those keys. The average person cannot lose 10 pounds in a week in a safe way. You can safely lose one to two pounds in a week.

Set a goal like losing 6 pounds in the next month. When you achieve that goal, following a diet becomes easier.

3. Scour Your Cabinets

Eating unhealthy foods is much more difficult if you don’t have that kind of food readily available in your home. Go through your cabinets and ditch all the potato chips, snack cakes, and carb-heavy, highly-processed junk food you have in them. The same goes for your fridge and freezer.

Replace them with healthier alternatives, like nuts, fruits, and crunchy vegetables.

4. Plan Your Meals and Grocery Shopping

Walking into a grocery store without a shopping list is an open invitation to buy unhealthy foods. Create a meal plan for yourself with healthy foods. Then, build a shopping list around what you need for those meals.

A shopping list filled with things you need helps keep you accountable to yourself. Plus, it helps keep you focused as you shop. If you’re thinking that you need cucumbers, kale, and Roma tomatoes, you aren’t staring at the baked goods and thinking about how good that apple turnover will taste.

5. Eat Across Your Day

People often overeat because they let themselves get hungry. For example, maybe you skip lunch to keep working on a project. By the time dinner rolls around, you’re ravenous.

At that point, your body wants calories and as many as it can get. Your body will send those signals to your brain. Your brain will then make it seem like a great idea to swing through a drive-thru, where it knows you can get a lot of calories in a hurry.

Eating healthy foods across the day helps keep your blood sugar in balance and avoid feeling ravenous by the time you complete your day.

6. Eat Things You Like Occasionally

Yes, things like pasta or pizza often come with insanely high calorie counts. Yet, constantly denying yourself foods you love can trigger intense cravings that can lead to binge eating. Let yourself indulge with a beloved food every once in a while.

It can help minimize craving and keep you on track. Just stay mindful of the calories and limit your portions.

7. Pack a Meal

Eating healthy meals proves much easier if you pack yourself a healthy meal. Once you get to work, swinging through a drive-thru or ordering junk from a food delivery service becomes the easy fix for lunch.

Instead, take the time in the morning or even the night before to put together a balanced meal. Not only will you stick with your diet, but you’ll also avoid the crash so many of your co-workers will suffer after their high-calorie lunches.

Stick with whole foods as much as you can, but make sure you get a little protein in there as fuel for your body.

8. Give Yourself Some Patience

So many people abandon goals because they don’t see immediate results. Putting on extra weight happens slowly. Unfortunately, so does losing weight.

Don’t demand instant results from your diet or yourself. Don’t expect perfection from yourself, either. You will slip up occasionally.

It’s not a catastrophic failure. It’s a mistake. Acknowledge it and do your best to do better in the future.

9. Get Pro Help

If you don’t know much about nutrition or simply can’t figure out where you should start, get help from a professional. That can mean taking a nutrition class at your local community college in the evening. It might mean consulting with your doctor.

You can even look around for a nutritionist to help you devise a meal plan that won’t make you feel like you’re starving 24/7. Avoid fad diet coaches. Most fad diets focus on starving yourself or starving yourself of things your body needs.

10. Consider Your Genetics

Good nutrition advice typically holds true for people across the spectrum. Eat fewer carbs and appropriately-sized portions of protein. Eat more fruits and veggies.

Yet, your genetics can help pin down whether your need more carbs or more protein than most types of diet suggest. Genetic testing can help you develop DNA based nutrition guidelines for your diet.

Sticking to a Diet the Smart Way

Sticking to a diet the smart way means taking practical steps that support your body’s needs. Your body needs some carbs, some proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Eliminating any of those things entirely from your diet is a recipe for failure.

Aim for balance and properly sized portions. Substitute whole foods for processed foods. Pack yourself meals and snacks that keep you fueled throughout the day.

These kinds of steps help you avoid feeling ravenous and encourage calorie control.

Looking for more health tips? Check out the other posts in our Health & Fitness section.

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