So, it is a new year where all of us have set a list of goals we want to achieve. And even though last year was hard for everyone, we still have plans to make and hope to get where we want to be.
If your to-do list includes losing weight then you are absolutely not the only one. Here I will give you actual tips to stick to your diet in the long run. Once you start, you can’t fail.
Now before we go on I want you to know that no goal is easy to achieve, and given the fact that our eating habits stem from emotional state most of the time, makes it hard to stick to a healthy diet and not get tempted every time.
However, and yes there is a however. It is not impossible. And if you can’t stop thinking about it then don’t stop working for it. Over the time, with enough insistence and perseverance you will reach the ultimate goal and stick to a healthy diet without bouncing back.
Now, we all know that diets are not sustainable. People stick to them for a short while and then when weight loss slows down or they face a crisis they drop out. And this is happening because of two reasons: sticking to a hard diet so much that it starts to hurt us. And following a diet that doesn’t align with our body needs.
Having a diet that makes you feel full and satisfied rather than stuffed and heavy can help you put the stepping stones to develop long term healthy habits.
So let me share with you these useful tips to stick to a healthy diet. Remember once you start you can’t fail.
Change Your Perspective
For many people whenever you mention the word diet the immediate thoughts that rush to them is “hunger, starving, no more favorite foods” and this alone can cause a lot of anxiety.
This way of thinking is the first thing that is preventing you from sticking to a diet. Many studies have shown that people tend to give up on making changes in their lives when the approach is associated with stress and restrictions. These feelings plants a negative look inside our brains making us give up on the whole goal even if it was for our own goodness.
Whereas if we try to frame our goals in a more positive approach we tend to commit more to it.
So when you think that you want to make a diet, ask yourself why do you want to get healthier? Make a list for all the reasons. Ex: have more energy, feel lighter, body in shape, live longer, less diseases…etc
When you shift your way of thinking your whole idea of dieting becomes different. It turns from being on a diet to becoming healthy.
Once you identify these points it gets easier for you to resist temptations. And sticking to a diet becomes more of developing healthy habits which helps you to commit longer with a healthy lifestyle.
Tip: Starting with Keto Diet will be helpful to you since it is not based on starving.
Define Your Relationship With Food
It is important to understand your relationship with food and what drives you to eat.
Most of our eating happens out of boredom, feeling sad, upset, or as a way to run away from heavy unpleasant feelings. The less we feel fulfilled from within the more we reflect it in wrong eating patterns.
First thing you should do, is to recognize your actions and what is triggering you to eat. Once you identify in which area you are using food as a coping mechanism it will become easier to take control of your food intake.
What can help you in doing this is practicing mindfulness; mindfulness can help you slow down and enjoy the present moment. Instead of eating out of boredom and while you are busy thinking of other things, being mindful makes you focus on the food, enjoy and sense every bite. Which causes you to feel more fulfilled with lesser amounts.
In order to start this technique you can start:
Meditation is a proven way to increase self-control, focus, and release stress. The more you practice it the more you become aware of the details of your everyday life. You don’t feel more agitated, anxious and thus you get to be more in control over your habits and actions.
Needless to say that it will affect multiple aspects of your life. Meditation will help you to develop a state of pause-and-think every time you feel tempted to break your diet.
The easiest form of meditation can be focusing on breath, and from 5 to 10 min would be enough. This is a habit that will benefit you on different levels but will definitely assist you in keeping your eyes fixed on your goal without feeling discouraged.
Work On Your Habits
The key to stick to a diet is to develop consistent habits that become your norm.
By acknowledging that your eating patterns come from laziness, boredom, or emotional crisis it gets easier to start controlling them.
Practicing mindfulness can work hand in hand with building good long term habits. Every time you are eating something, associate it with a good or bad feeling. If you eat burger with potato and coke, notice how your body is feeling and state it to yourself clearly. And then when you eat healthy do the same. After a few times you will start to naturally reject things associated with unpleasant feelings.
When changing your habits you don’t need to put drastic goals, but focusing on gradual small steps can assure you building more sustainable habits that can help your weight loss in the long run.
The following steps can help you change your current habits:
- Find Alternatives:
If you are in love with dessert then you can’t simply cut it out. And if you do it will have eventually adverse effects on you. But with a proper diet you still get to have a proper amount of dessert.
In these cases you should equip yourself with substitutes for your weaknesses. If you don’t find these alternatives you will always fall back to your old habits. When you are tired, sad, bored, the first action will be junk food. So instead make a list for all the healthy recipes you like. Keep their ingredients in the home, and train yourself to head to the kitchen and make your own dessert. Or find your own mix of things, such as yogurt, honey, nuts, and your favourite fruits.
Maybe this seems a bit tiring or hard, but making dessert is strangely kind of therapeutic. It is a way of relaxing and mindfulness. Also the feeling of eating homemade things is satisfying since it is clean, light and healthy!
- Clean Your Home From Junk Food:
Well the reason is obvious, when you don’t have junk food around and you are starving your only option becomes to cook.
The best thing you can do is to Keep your fridge stock with clean options that you can grab and eat with zero guilt. Also supply yourself with all things you need to cook what fits your diet, so you won’t have any temptations to order from the outside.
Tip: Keto diet helps you lose more weight than any other diet
Studies have shown that Keto diet (High protein and low carb) is effective for weight loss:
First, because it is based on high protein content which makes you rarely feel hungry and thus it gets easier to stick to the diet.
Second, it caused improvement in major health factors: It improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and most importantly the fat loss comes from the belly area. Two birds one stone!
Find Out Your Ideal Meals Plan
A key element to stick longer to your diet is to fall in love with it. Think about it, when you love something you keep going back to it.
Choosing the food you love will make the diet more favorable to you. You need things that will fulfill not only but your stomach but also give you a sense of satisfaction after you are done.
For me, I never liked salads. Never ate them. But at some point I started making my own and that is when I realized that cucumber, tomato and onions are deal breaker for me. I stopped adding them and I started adding more of the foods I love, and now my most favorite things in the world are salads. My salads.
Unless you define what your likes and dislikes, sticking to a diet will remain hard. So pick healthy foods that you love. And you will stick to the diet much longer.
This means don’t starve yourself and don’t stuff yourself.
If you starve yourself too much you will binge. And your body will crave sugar. This means you will fall off the diet. Some people do this to lose weight quickly but the truth is this type of dieting is unhealthy and unsustainable.
Similarly, don’t stuff yourself. May it be your favorite meal or unhealthy food at a restaurant or party, stay moderate. Don’t eat until you can’t breathe anymore.
Practice eating until you are 80% full, it will help you lose weight even if you indulge yourself in little fatty food. This means indulging yourself a little bit is totally okay, but when it goes to the extremes it starts to harm your body and your diet.
Fall In Love With The Process Not With The Ultimate Goal
Once we declare our need for something, we stop seeing anything else. Well it is good to keep our eyes on the ball but we always should keep in mind that any goal is simply a series of steps.
Once you adopt the mindset of improving yourself and changing your habits to live healthier and happier, you will be more encouraged to not give up, you will resist any temptations and impulsiveness. Because your goal is not only to lose weight, but to improve your overall well being. Losing weight is going to happen but with this mindset you know that patience and perseverance is what will take you there.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress shouldn’t only be for your weight, don’t become obsessed with weighing yourself every two hours. Instead make a journal for your habits and track them.
Revise how much you stick to your new habits, why you think it didn’t or did work. What food worked well for you. And how are you feeling generally about the new lifestyle. This will give you the understanding you need to build consistent long term habits and focus on what your preferences are.
Recognize That Everything Becomes As A Full Package
This is the most important thing you need to accept. Having the perfect body is not only about exercising and having healthy diet for a few months. It requires effort, and it is totally up to you to make this effortless or stressful.
It is so much about how you build your perspective toward the whole thing. Developing healthy habits might seem hard to everyone. But the truth is that all you need to do is find your ground, what suits you, what makes you feel comfortable is not necessarily the same as mine.
And sorry for this but no magic recipe will get you there. So you have to create your own magical spell. And this can happen by shifting perspective and building sustainable habits.
And if sometimes you go out of track and all previous steps fail. It is ok don’t beat yourself for it. And most importantly don’t give up. Start again. You won’t be starting from zero level, because you already gained the experience of what works and doesn’t work for you. And by practicing those steps and perseverance you will definitely stick to a healthy diet longer.