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Eating a balanced diet provides essential nutrients that support energy levels, help maintain a healthy weight, and promote overall well-being. When combined together with regular exercise, it can have even greater health benefits.
Sticking to a diet isn’t always easy. It takes time and dedication. It can be difficult, but once you commit, it’ll be all worth it. With that said, here are some tips and tricks on how you can stick to your diet.
Why is It So Hard for Me to Stick to a Diet?
Eating healthy and having better eating habits are easier said than done. There can be a lot of factors that contribute to why you find it hard to stick to your diet. It’s best to understand and identify your own particular barriers that stop you from eating healthy so that you can find strategies that can help you change your approach to weight loss, weight management, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
Some of the common reasons you may find it challenging to have healthy eating habits include a lack of motivation, an unsupportive environment, and poor planning.
How Do I Train My Mind to Stick to a Diet?
Your mental state also plays a huge role in reaching your diet goals. If you want to lose weight or if you just want to eat healthier and live your life better, you still need a lot of patience, determination, and discipline. Take note of the following tips listed by a behavior change specialist and apply them to your daily life so that you can build healthy eating habits.
Believe in Yourself
To successfully commit to a healthier diet, one of the things that you have to do is truly believe in yourself. Telling yourself that you have an unlimited amount of self-discipline to commit to a healthy diet could be the key to mastering your goals.
Have Realistic Expectations
Having realistic goals can help you in creating healthy habits that you can stick to. If you set goals that are attainable and realistic, you are less pressured and it will be easier for you to follow through with keeping a healthy diet. Setting realistic goals can help increase your chances of having a successful diet plan.
For example, figure out how much weight you want to lose in the first couple of months. It shouldn’t be an extremely huge number that seems impossible to achieve. It should be something that’s small and ideally attainable.
Set Small Goals
Along with having realistic expectations, setting small goals can help motivate you to eat healthily. Changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthier diet can be very difficult in the beginning, especially if you try to make too many changes all at once.
For example, a common mistake of most individuals who want to lose weight is to eliminate entire food groups from their diet. Giving up so many things all at once, including favorite foods, can be difficult not only on your body but your mind as well. Instead of cutting out so many things all at once, start small by having one big treat each week to help you stay on track.
It’s hard to not think of food, especially if you’re going on a journey to lose weight. Thinking of food all the time doesn’t really help with avoiding junk food cravings and all other temptations. Studies have shown that keeping your mind active, especially when going on a diet, can strengthen your willpower. Keep your mind occupied by finding activities that allow you to be creative or think strategically.
Doing a lifestyle change for the long haul can be tough, especially if you’re alone. Having support in the form of friends and family can help you with your commitment to a healthy diet. You can also ask them to hold you accountable or even encourage them to switch to healthy options together with you.
Make Food Your Friend
Having a restrictive mindset around certain foods, especially your favorite ones, can end up backfiring on you. Research shows that when you deprive yourself of your favorite foods, your cravings become stronger and your eating plans may make you feel miserable. Studies have also found that feeling satisfied rather than deprived while dieting is linked to a higher rate of weight loss.
Rather than completely giving up your favorite foods, it’s best to try having them only occasionally while practicing portion control. Eating your favorites in moderation also gives room for types of food in a healthy diet, allowing you to make food your friend and not your enemy.
How Do I Stop Sabotaging My Diet?
Sticking to a healthy diet doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Making healthy choices can come naturally if you start it properly and stay attuned to the common roadblocks that may sabotage all your efforts. Here are some of the best tips and tricks that you can do to stick to your healthy eating plans.
Learn the Right Healthy Diet For You
The word “diet” doesn’t only have one meaning, it can mean different things. It can refer to dietary changes for a few months or it can also mean a person’s typical way of eating. There’s no “one” diet that works for everyone.
Every person lives in a unique set of circumstances and our food choices are influenced by our genetics, work schedules, family, cultural traditions, and more. No single diet plan can perfectly accommodate so many individual factors.
Instead of subscribing to fad diets or doing different cleansing fasts, it’s much better to eat in a practical, sustainable, and healthy way. When you have the right diet plan, it’s a lot easier to stick with it.
Taking the time to create and prepare meal plans can help you stick to a healthy eating habit. Planning out all your meals can help you deal with temptations before they are in front of you. This can also help you avoid grabbing fast food or unhealthy food choices when you’re hungry and you have no time to cook.
Keep your fridge stocked with ready-made meals that you can grab and eat without guilt. Base your meal prep on healthy food that you actually love. It’s hard to become a big fan of food that you don’t like from the beginning. This means that if you hate salads, don’t center your new diet around salads. Don’t prepare and eat meals just because they’re healthy, eat them because they’re both healthy and you like eating them.
Eat Whole Foods
According to a registered dietitian, one of the keys to successfully sticking to a long-term healthy eating plan is to have a diet that’s rich in whole foods. This means you have to choose foods that have been minimally processed such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, dairy, and fresh animal proteins.
Carry Healthy Snacks
It’s so much easier to fall into temptation when you’re feeling extra hungry. Craving food from time to time is completely normal but if you have no self-control and fall into your cravings often, you may not be able to follow through in keeping with your diet.
One thing that you can do is keep nutritious and healthy snacks with you at all times. This is a great way to keep your cravings at bay until your next meal. Instead of stocking up on snacks that are high in sugar and calories, eat foods that are high in protein and fiber as they can help keep you full for longer.
Nutrient-dense foods that you can snack on throughout the day include fresh fruit and veggies, yogurt, eggs, mixed nuts, nut butter, whole-grain crackers, and the like.
Plan Ahead for Eating Out
Social gatherings, happy hour, potlucks, and dining out are some things that a lot of people look forward to. However, if you’re on a dieting journey, eating out can become a huge hurdle to your plan. Restaurant meals can be higher in calories and can contain a lot of sodium, sugar, and fat.
You don’t have to feel guilty and decline invites, though. You just have to do a bit of planning ahead before you eat out. Having a strategy can make a big difference and can go a long way in easing your mind and helping you commit to your dieting plan.
Before you eat out, you can research the menu of the restaurant. This can help you pick out a meal ahead of time and figure out which one is the healthiest and how to fit it into your diet. You can also eat a piece of fruit before you go out for a filling meal, especially if you’re going to a party as the fiber content in your food will make you feel full and you won’t end up eating a lot of party food.
Another strategy that you can do is to eat slowly. This can help you feel full more quickly because it gives your brain time to recognize that you’re full. Eating slowly can also help you stick to the portion you’ve specified for yourself.
Stop Counting Calories
According to experts, counting calories can likely do more harm than good. Diets that focus on counting how many calories you eat in a single day are not sustainable because no one can keep up with it forever. When people eventually quit, they feel like a failure or become extremely frustrated that they give up on their diet altogether.
Obsessing over your calorie count may also lead you to develop an eating disorder. Instead of focusing on calories, focus on the nutrients in your food. Make sure that your meals are balanced and have a proper ratio of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
Achieving a healthy lifestyle is a journey that requires dedication and commitment. Taking small steps each day to make healthier choices and sticking to diets can help you reach your goals faster, whether it’s losing weight or just wanting to eat healthier.
Learning the right diets for you can improve your physical health and your mental well-being. With the right attitude and determination, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy diet and achieve long-term success.