Wanting to eat better is easy. Actually adopting a healthy diet is a lot harder. Committing to one? Even more difficult.
At least, that’s the way many people feel. Don’t judge yourself if you’re one of them. It turns out that only 20% of dieters successfully maintain their healthy eating habits for three months. This is definitely a common problem.
Luckily, it’s a problem with real solutions. Struggling to stick to your diet? Just keep these tips in mind.
Be Honest About Why You’re Dieting
Doing just about anything is easier when you have the right amount of motivation. That’s why you shouldn’t let other people (or society in general) decide why it’s important for you to diet. Sure, your loved ones might be right when they say you should change your eating habits to improve your health, but maybe what truly motivates you is the idea of looking good at the beach.
There’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you maintain a balanced diet, you’ll still reap the health benefits, even if that’s not your own personal reason for dieting in the first place.
Take the time to figure out exactly why you (and no one else) believe it’s important to change the way you eat. Doing so will help you develop the necessary motivation to commit to lifestyle changes.
This might be simple, but it’s easy to overlook.
People who start dieting often feel they need to ignore their hunger. While it’s true that you may need to learn how to stop giving into the impulse to eat to some degree, you don’t want to starve yourself. Doing so will actually sabotage your dieting efforts.
Quite simply, when you don’t eat enough, your blood sugar drops. This leads to major cravings for the types of foods you want to avoid. Eat too little, and eventually, you’ll be more likely to binge.
That’s why it’s a good idea to carry nutritious snacks with you throughout the day. Again, the goal isn’t to not eat at all, but rather to avoid overeating.
Setting goals is important when dieting. This helps you generate motivation. However, if your goals are completely unrealistic (“I want to drop 100 pounds in three months!”), you’ll get discouraged when you don’t reach them.
Remind yourself that eating well should be a habit. It’s a behavior you should maintain throughout life. If you set realistic goals and accept that it may take longer than you wish to reach them, you’ll be more inclined to commit.
Embracing major dietary changes can be admirable. That said, depending on your current eating habits, it can also be a bad idea.
Our bodies tend to rebel if we make drastic changes to our diets too quickly. As a result, we may experience headaches, lethargy, irritability, and a wide range of other unpleasant symptoms. This makes us want to give up on our diets. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, consider adjusting your eating habits gradually.
Change Your Shopping Habits
This is another seemingly obvious point that people nevertheless overlook.
Do you want to avoid eating junk food? Don’t include it on your shopping list. Sure, you may feel the impulse to snack on the wrong foods from time to time, but you won’t be able to do so if you simply don’t have them in the house.
Learn How You Feel About Cheat Days
The idea of a “cheat day” is simple: to reward yourself for eating well most of the time, you pick one day in the week to indulge.
Does it work? Well, that depends. The effect varies from person-to-person. Some people find it’s much easier to avoid overeating if they know a cheat day is on the horizon. However, others find it doesn’t have much of a positive impact on their motivation.
You need to find out what type of person you are. Try adding cheat days to your diet plan, but be sure to honestly assess how they make you feel about dieting in general. If an upcoming cheat day helps you resist temptation, great. If not, you might be better off eating well every day of the week.
When you prepare your own meals, you can decide which ingredients to use, and how large portions should be.
That’s not exactly possible when eating out at restaurants. Yes, you should probably try to eat out less often, but sometimes restaurants are unavoidable.
Guard against ruining your diet by researching the menu before going out to eat. The more time you have to consider your options, the greater the odds you’ll find (and choose) the right meal.
This is also an important tip to keep in mind when traveling. Whether you’re going on vacation or a business trip, travel usually involves being away from your kitchen. Without the opportunity to easily prepare your own meals, you’ll likely be spending more time at restaurants while you’re away. Plan accordingly by checking the menus of restaurants in and near your destination before you leave.
Know You Can Undo Mistakes
You’re only human. You might slip up and overeat on occasion.
Yes, this is something you want to avoid, but it’s also not the worst mistake you can make. Judging yourself too harshly for not adhering to your diet may push you to abandon your new eating habits.
Don’t let that attitude get the better of you. When you overeat, you can always simply exercise to burn off the extra calories. Knowing you can undo your mistakes will help you adopt a more positive outlook when they occur.
Find a Partner
Dieting can be challenging. You’ll be tempted to fall back into your old eating habits. That’s to be expected.
That’s all the more reason to find a diet partner. Research shows people who try to lose weight are more likely to succeed when they partner with others who share their goals. Your diet buddy will hold you accountable when you slip up, and provide support when you’re struggling.
Most importantly, remember that changing your eating habits is going to be a challenge. Don’t let that discourage you. When you implement these tips, you’ll find that committing to better eating is definitely something you can (and should) achieve.
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About Slingshot Health
Slingshot Health is a health tech startup that brings top healthcare providers and patients together. Patients bid on the cost of services and healthcare providers accept bids based on availability. Slingshot Health is unique in that it is a mutual marketplace putting both patients and providers back in control. Visit us at slingshothealth.com.