If you’ve ever been on a diet, you probably know what it feels like by the time week 2 rolls around. You start to absolutely hate all the food recommendations in that diet. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet it is, more likely than not, you will start finding ways to break it.
Over 26 percent of people admit that they give up on their diets before seeing the results they wanted. So how do you stop yourself from being part of this statistic? Here are some tips to help you stick to your healthy diet:
1. Find your why - Why have you gone on this diet in the first place? Knowing the reason behind going on the diet will help motivate you to stay on track when things start to get tough. I recommend writing this down somewhere -- be it an online document or an actual piece of paper, so you have something to go back to when you need that extra bit of inspiration to power through the days you feel like giving up.
You can also use visuals to help keep you motivated. Do you want to fit in the jeans you owned in your 20’s? Why not hang this by the door so you always get a glimpse of it when you’re tempted to eat.
Maybe you’re preparing your beach body for summer? Why not frame that wonderful bikini you’ve always wanted to wear so it inspires you to reach your goals? Some go on a diet not just to lose weight but to stay healthy and live longer to see their kids grow. That’s such a powerful motivator. Keeping photos of your kids in your wallet would be easy to whip out and get you back on track when you feel like you’re about to cave in to the cravings.
2. Try mindful eating - Take things slow and enjoy the flavors and textures of your food. Even with little variety to your meals, you’ll find a better appreciation of the food that you are putting into your body if you try to enjoy every bite. Being mindful about how you eat can lessen binge eating and midnight snacking.
A study of women with binge eating disorder found that binge episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 per week when the research participants practiced mindful eating. Plus, the severity of each binge also decreased.
3. Monitor your progress - Put it in a journal so you can see how far you’ve gone with your attempts at this particular diet. If you slip up, take a note of it and the conditions that lead to that. Putting your progress on paper helps you become accountable for your own success. A study shows that tracking your food intake helps you stick to a healthy diet and leads to greater weight loss.
Monitoring your success isn’t just about counting how many calories you’ve had in a day but also about how you felt about your food intake for the day. Do you feel like you had enough to eat without going overboard? Did you make the right choices when it comes to food? Knowing what triggers binge eating or unhealthy food choices can help you better control it.
4. Moderation, not starvation - Most people fail their diet because they end up starving their bodies. If you have a favorite food or a dish you feel you can’t live without, then indulge but make sure you eat it in moderation. The truth is, you can actually have all the food you love, as long as it is in healthy portions. You love rice or bread? Instead of cutting the entire carbohydrates food group out, try reducing your portions so you don’t obsess about not being able to have what you want.
5. Differentiate between hunger and craving- It all boils down to knowing your body and your mind. Hunger is a signal that the body needs nourishment, while a craving is simply a desire to eat. You can feed one while not giving in to the other. If you are hungry, eat. If you just have a craving, try to take control of the situation by not giving in to it.
6. Plan ahead - Meal planning is an art that you need to master when trying any diet. Setting the time for when you should eat would help you stick to your diet versus eating whenever you feel like it. Pace your food intake so you have better control of your hunger -- this could mean eating three meals a day at specific times or having more meals more often but in smaller quantities. Find the style that works best for you and stick to it.
If you’re often outside your home, meal planning becomes even more useful because you don’t expose yourself to the temptation of eating unhealthy food. No need to go out for lunch and grab a pizza when you have a healthy prepared meal waiting for you at lunchtime.
7. Get rid of temptation - If you keep it in the house, you will always have it at the back of your mind. That bag of chocolates in the pantry can call out to you in the middle of the night. Admit it, that box of donuts on the table would be easier to reach for than a handful of almonds. If you keep junk food in your home during your diet, you are only making things harder for yourself. Clear your home of unhealthy food as part of your commitment to the diet. Remove unnecessary junk food from your house such as candy, baked sweets, fried food, soda, and chips.
8. Forgive yourself for slipping up - Going on a diet shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing approach. If you slip up one day, don’t treat it like the end of a relationship. Just get back up on that horse and continue on.
Remember that Breaking bad eating habits and improving your diet is never easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to succeed. Being kind to yourself in moments of weakness can help you move forward and achieve your goals.