How to Stick to a Diet
First — let’s get one thing straight. A “diet” doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. It also doesn’t mean eating foods that aren’t filling, never letting yourself indulge or living in a way that’s unhappy or unhealthy. But nevertheless, the phrase “going on a diet” means something in our culture that naturally means control or restriction in some capacity. Whether you’re counting points or cutting out carbs, here are a few strategies for sticking to your diet goals.
We know, we know; this isn’t the first thing you want to hear. Perfectionists everywhere are groaning in distress at the word “realistic.” But it’s first on this list because it’s really important. It’s the foundation of every other strategy here. If you expect to be completely perfect at eating healthy, with no cheat meals, no minor indulgences, no small treats, you can’t expect to last very long. Cold turkey might work for some things, but being realistic about your goals and expectations is essential if you want long-term results.
Make a Plan
We’re not saying you should indefinitely postpone your diet until you “feel ready” (because that never works), but you should absolutely think ahead and think through the daily details of how you’re going to eat healthier. Are weekdays a chaotic nightmare? Learning how to meal prep might be your best bet at making a change. Is dessert your weak spot? Take some time to look up healthier dessert options. Be honest with yourself and be prepared to conquer those obstacles.
Perhaps the most fun step in this whole process: stock up on your favorite healthy snacks and always have them on you. In your car. In your purse. In the baby’s stroller. Those snacks should be scattered around your life like lost bobby pins. Why, you ask? Because hunger is the ultimate motivator for unhealthy eating. It makes it so tempting to just run through the drive-thru on your way to pick up the kids from school. Get ahead of the curve by keeping healthy snacks on you that will beat that midday grumble.
Remember Your Why
What’s the point of sticking to a diet if there’s no reason behind it? Whether your goal is to drop a few pounds, lower your cholesterol levels or be able to keep up with your toddler, remembering the reason you started this journey is a vital part of sticking to a diet. To help with this, create a mood board that reminds you of your reason or tape some photos to your fridge that will keep you going. Whatever encourages you to stick to your journey, capitalize on that and remind yourself of it daily.
Track Your Progress
One of the hardest things about dieting, or any health-related goal for that matter, is seeing progress. As the impatient humans we are, we want to see results immediately. But of course, that’s not exactly realistic. Depending on your reason, your means of tracking progress might look different. Many people like to keep a food journal, where they write down what they’ve eaten, how well they’re sleeping and how they’re feeling. Others like charts, where they can see the numbers of their weight and measurements over time. Whatever your method, tracking your progress is a key part of creating a diet that you stick to over time.
- Lifestyle Staff