Have you ever worried about how to stick to a diet? Make your new year’s resolution to lose weight stick with these tips!
7 Tips on How to Stick to a Diet for a Healthy New You
1. Understand Your Eating Patterns
Before you begin your new diet, it’s helpful to understand your current eating habits. Don’t just pay attention to what you eat, but understand what triggers you to make unhealthy eating choices.
Do you eat because you’re hungry or because it’s a habit? For example, some people always snack when they watch their favorite TV show—it’s fun, but it won’t help with weight loss.
For others, eating is also a way they cope with negative emotions or stress. Understand your eating impulses because you can cut out a lot of unnecessary snacking when you’re mindful of why you’re eating.
Tip: When you aren’t sure if you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water or distracting yourself with a chore. The feeling should go away after a while if you aren’t really hungry.
2. Make Health Your Overall Goal
Rather than focusing on a weight loss goal, it’s better if you strive to improve your overall health. Apart from losing a few pounds, think about how your body currently functions and what changes you want to experience.
Here are some other health goals you may want to consider:
- Having more energy
- Improving muscle strength
- Increasing stamina
- Improving sleep quality and duration
- Enhancing your immune system
By focusing on your overall health, you’re more likely to develop long term and sustainable habits.
3. Create Good Habits Rather Than Focusing on Restrictions
Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you should normally be eating. It’s difficult to have long term success if you stick to an “all or nothing” diet.
With all these restrictions at the forefront of your mind, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s torture to keep thinking about all the food you can’t eat. Healthy meals don’t have to be boring or tasteless—they just require a little more effort and planning.
When you get in the habit of eating healthier meals, you’ll naturally consume fewer calories. Then, once in a while, indulge and have a cheat meal.
4. Shop in Advance
It’s hard to rely on your willpower when you’re hungry, so don’t risk it. Prepare for your hunger pangs by shopping for all the good stuff in advance.
Here are some shopping tips that will help you sustain your diet:
- Clear out a block of shopping and cooking time in your calendar each week
- Plan your meals before you shop
- Don’t shop hungry
- Shop for fresh food
- Try to avoid processed or packaged foods. If there are more than five ingredients or if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s probably not good for you.
- Aim to try a new fruit or vegetable each week
Fill your home and office with guilt-free snacks. You’re more likely to crave unhealthy snacks when you’re hungry, so try to keep these away from your pantry.
If you don’t have the time or energy to cook every day, set aside a day every week to prepare healthy meals in advance. It may seem daunting to prepare a week’s worth of meals in one go, so you can start slow.
Which of the three meals is usually your unhealthiest? Prioritize the meal prep for that one and once you’ve got that down, you can start thinking about the other two meals.
5. Avoid Drastic Diets
There are many trendy diets these days that cut out food groups to help you lose weight. This may help you lose weight quickly, but it’s more difficult to sustain in the long run.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines, it’s important to incorporate all of the food groups in your diet. They believe that a healthy eating pattern for the general population should include:
You get different nutrients from each food group. So the long-term elimination of one food group may put you at risk for a nutritional deficiency.
Instead of eliminating entire food groups, choose nutrition-dense foods from each food group and be mindful of how much you eat.
Remember, moderation is key. Apart from that, they also recommend avoiding foods high in added sugars, saturated fats, sodium, and trans fats.
What is trans fat? It’s the product of oil hydrogenation, which helps improve the flavor and increase shelf life of certain foods. Many doctors consider it unhealthy because it can increase bad cholesterol levels and even decrease good cholesterol levels.
6. Consider Alternative Measures of Progress
It’s important to track your progress to remain motivated. Once you decide to have more holistic health goals, there are more ways to do this.
Apart from weight loss, here are other measures you may want to consider:
- Waist circumference
- Body fat percentage
- Number of sick days in a month
- Average length of sleep
- Performance in endurance tests
- General activity level
Aside from these, you can also periodically check your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels. These are common medical measures of overall health and may improve when healthy lifestyle choices are implemented.
Tip: Use technology to help you track your progress. There are smartwatches or smartphone apps that can automatically document your activities.
7. Get Help
Regular exercise and good mental health practices also play a role in staying fit. You want to make sure that the changes you’re implementing help you create healthy and sustainable habits.
If you don’t know where to begin, it might be helpful to talk to a health professional. They can help you come up with a holistic and manageable weight loss plan.
If you’re wondering how to get back on track with weight loss or how to stick to your diet, consistency is the key. And to achieve this consistency, it’s best not to rush the process.
Don’t introduce too many drastic changes at once. Instead, develop and master one good habit at a time—it may take you longer to achieve your ideal weight, but it’ll be more manageable in the long run.
Do you have a weight loss new year’s resolution? What are your other health goals this year? Share them with us in the comments section below.