One of the most searched health questions is “how do you stick to a diet?”
Thousands of people every month want to know the answer to this riddle. But, it turns out that the main problem is that most people over think the entire process.
Your complicated dieting plans could be what’s getting in the way of being able to follow through with these plans.
So, you’ll need to simplify things a little bit. Instead of giving yourself a start date and immediately changing your entire diet, you should make small, gradual changes.
You can get started today. Simply replace what you had planned for dinner with a healthy alternative.
Taking it slow should help. Though, there are additional steps that you can take. Here are 8 strategies that will help you learn how to stick to a diet.
#1 – Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Organized
The first strategy is to keep your kitchen clean and organized. It’s easy to use anything as an excuse to stray from your diet. This includes a messy or disorganized kitchen.
It’s hard to prepare a healthy meal when your pots and pans are dirty or you don’t have the counter space to chop veggies.
Before you even start making changes to your diet, go through and clean your kitchen. You don’t need to throw out all the old junk food. But, you should get things organized and throw out old kitchen appliances or food that you know you’ll never use.
#2 – Create a List of Reasons for Starting a Diet
Next, create a list of the reasons that you have for starting a diet. Write down anything that you can think of. You might want to start a diet to lose weight, get in better shape, look better in a bathing suit, or to improve your health so that you’ll be around longer.
Don’t type this list on a computer or on a mobile app. Instead, write it down on a piece of paper and pin it to your fridge. This way, you’ll be reminded of your reasons for sticking your diet every time that you go to the fridge.
#3 – Keep Yourself Fully Hydrated Throughout the Day
This next strategy is something that you should adopt before you start your diet. Make sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water nearby. The general recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
Staying hydrated helps you avoid food cravings between meals. You’ll be less likely to grab a snack after lunch if you keep yourself hydrated. At the same time, proper hydration is also good for your metabolism.
By drinking more water, you can also start cutting back on other liquids. For example, if you tend to drink a lot of soda pop or sugary drinks, then the water will help quench your thirst and avoid other drinks.
#4 – Learn the Difference Between Hunger
Just because you get a food craving doesn’t mean that you’re hungry. You need to learn the difference between hunger and food cravings.
A food craving typically begins in your mouth or throat. You lick your lips because you’ve seen a picture of a juicy cheeseburger. Hunger starts in your stomach. Your stomach growls because you’ve seen a picture of a juicy cheeseburger.
So, pay attention to where the craving or hunger starts. This will help you differentiate between actual hunger and a food craving. If you’re hungry and it’s not the time for a meal, then have a healthy snack…
#5 – Make a List of Healthy Snacks
The time between meals will be the biggest struggle. Water will help, but you should have a few healthy snack options at your disposal. Make a list of healthy snacks that will fit into your diet.
These should be snacks that are easy to prepare and take with you to work. Examples include nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit. These items can typically be stored in a lunch bag and kept unrefrigerated during the day.
#6 – Plan Your Meals in Advance
When you start making changes to your diet, you should plan your meals in advance. Decide what you’re going to eat for the week and go grocery shopping. If you’ve got everything that you need, you’ll be prepared to stick to your diet for the week.
Planning in advance can also help you make use of leftovers. You can take the leftover chicken from a chicken dinner and use it in your chicken salad for lunch the next day. This limits the amount of time spent in the kitchen, which limits the temptation to grab another snack.
#7 – Take it One Day at a Time
The next strategy is to realize that better health isn’t something that you achieve overnight. You will need to take it one day at a time.
If you slip up and pig out, you just need to resume the diet the following day. Having one bad day isn’t enough of a reason to give up on all your hard work. It won’t undo everything that you’ve done. So, if you fall off the wagon, just get right back up.
#8 – Understand That There is No Perfect Diet
The last step in sticking to your diet is realizing that there is no perfect diet. One of the main reasons that people have trouble sticking to a diet is that they make it too complicated.
As mentioned, it’s hard to adopt a completely new routine. You’ve been eating the same way for a while now. Giving up this habit in place of a new one will not be easy.
So, instead of choosing a strict diet to follow, you should simply start making healthier decisions.
If you find a diet that you want to try, don’t worry about sticking to it exactly as described. Use the meal suggestions and recipes as a basis for your new healthy lifestyle. But, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t follow the diet exactly as outlined.
In the end, sticking to a diet comes down to your ability to adapt to change. Some people can easily pick up a new routine while others require additional work. So, take it easy. Make small changes that gradually add up to a new routine.
The best way to stop your bad eating habits is to slowly replace them with healthy ones. Now, you can get to work. Start writing your list of reasons to stick to a diet.