Sticking to a diet plan takes a lot more work than just changing what you eat. Did you know that many people start on a good diet plan but fail to stick to their routine? It is estimated that 26% of people who begin dieting give up their plan before realizing the intended result or making it a lifestyle.
Beginners may struggle to sift through several health diets available on the internet to choose the right one. Even after picking the right meal plan, following that routine day-in-day-out is challenging. Regardless of what others have told you, it is possible to stick to a healthy diet without necessarily giving up your favorite foods.
But how can you be among the few that stick to a diet and lose weight? You can succeed if you begin correctly and develop a plan to overcome common roadblocks. We have compiled some of the best ways to help you stick to a diet regardless of the diet you have embraced. Whether you practice veganism, keto, paleo, or Mediterranean diet, you benefit from these tactics.
Sticking to a healthy diet can be challenged during family parties, holidays, or work functions, where unhealthy foods are served in abundance. How can you overcome the temptation to binge on junk during these occasions? Let’s get some help with these practical steps.
- Start now.
Have you ever heard the old saying, “procrastination is a thief of time?” If you procrastinate, you will never begin. There is no perfect time to start practicing a healthy diet. Some people are waiting to start the program when they go to the gym or when their workload subsides.
You do not have an ideal time to start; now is the time. Though New Year often presents an opportunity to start afresh and set goals, waiting until then or acting on impulse is the most reliable way to fail in your plan to improve your health, diet, and fitness. This pause-button mentality will only derail you from sticking to a diet.
- Make choices, not rules.
Approaching a healthy diet with a rule-oriented mindset will likely prime you to give up on a diet before making any headways. You can stick to a diet by adopting an inclusive approach. This approach is different from calorie and fat-restricted practice, and it is vital for long-term success.
Make choices instead of setting rules. For instance, you could add minimally processed foods or nutrient-dense plant-based foods such as nuts, legumes, and fresh produce to your meals. If you set “an eat less” and calorie-counted rules, you could fall victim to guilt when you fail to meet the restrictive standards. An inclusive approach to food allows you to eat healthily and enjoy various foods.
- Reject the “fast and feast” cycle.
Some proponents of fast weight loss programs advocate fasting. Fasting can be a good thing if you know how to use it for healthy weight loss. However, most people fall into the trap of the ‘fast and feast’ cycle where they avoid or skip meals to reduce calories but devour everything they find at home in the evening.
Unplanned fasting can be a disservice to your body. When dizziness, fatigue, and hunger surge in the middle of the night, these dieters often lose their self-control and overeat. Interestingly, some researchers have found that skipping breakfast leads to overeating, thus increasing waist circumference, BMI, and obesity.
Most people who practice fasting for days and lose weight pronto often relapse into binge eating and gain more weight than they initially had. Besides what we put on our plate and how much we consume, when you eat may also determine the effectiveness of your diet plan.
- Enjoy a food-free social gathering.
Most people fail in following a diet plan because of social interaction and convenience. It could be challenging to follow a restricted diet when you consistently meet conveniences since our culture links gatherings with food. In fact, in some cultures, there is no social gathering without unhealthy foods.
For instance, take a wedding reception, baby shower, or a holiday party. They are often full of unhealthy fast-food options, and people are allowed to serve as they wish. Most people binge on these dishes to the full, rationalizing that it is only one in a while.
Environmental factors make it challenging to follow a strict diet plan, which could even cause stress. Therefore, instead of meeting your friends around booze and food, request them if they are comfortable taking a walk or yoga class. It takes courage to assess potential setbacks to your plan and make definite plans to overcome them.
- Stop counting calories.
The internet is full of calorie-counting apps that promise you diet plan success in no time. However, do not allow these apps to fool you because counting calories could be harming than helping. The art of counting calories is not sustainable. You will tire out midway before you even know how to use these apps.
Since counting calories is challenging to keep up with, it offers less incentive to stick to a diet plan. When those counting calories quit, they could feel like failures, giving up on a healthy diet altogether.
Instead of walking with an app to your kitchen or restaurant obsessing over calories, why not focus on nutrients? Ensure that your meals are well planned and balanced with a good ratio of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Focusing on nutrients will not develop a strained relationship with food; rather, you will use food to heal your body and get the shape you are looking for.
- Eat the rainbow.
This may sound cliché, but it is a tested way of healthy eating. Some people on a diet often wonder why they don’t lose weight even with calorie count and salads on almost every meal. The problem could be a lack of essential nutrients in their diet.
You can call a registered dietitian to examine what you eat. They may recommend certain supplements to maximize your metabolism and hasten your weight loss journey. However, the best way is to eat various foods rich in color. If you incorporate color into your diet, you are guaranteed nutrients, a healthy body, and weight loss.
So, if you are not a fan of dark leafy greens, broccoli, or bell peppers, you do well to start including these colorful foods in your diet. We recommend shopping for organic ones; otherwise, you may harm your body with chemicals and pesticides.
- Don’t obsess over unhealthy foods.
A healthy diet plan means enjoying anything healthy while keeping caloric treats under the rare treat category. Since your body is used to certain foods, many people suffer from withdrawal symptoms by obsessing over the portions they can’t have.
For instance, if you follow a low-carb diet, you can avoid or reduce the portions for some time, but you may find it unrealistic with your body wanting more after a while. The best way to stick to a diet plan is to focus on what you can eat rather than what you have removed from your meal plan.
If you obsess about what you gave up, the chances are that you will reintroduce them into your diet and give up your diet plan altogether. Therefore, count your blessing and make realistic changes that your body will find easy to accept.
- Establish if cheat days are your enemies or friends.
What makes people give up on their diet plan varies from each individual. A cheat day could be one of the reasons why some people give up on their diet. However, this does not mean that all people stop following a diet plan because of a cheat day. Others have stuck to a diet plan longer since they look forward to a cheat day to allow themselves certain foods they rarely eat.
Unfortunately, some have turned cheat days into cheat weeks and months, deviating from their goals. We believe that if you set up a sustainable diet plan, you shouldn’t have a cheat day. An ideal healthy eating plan should be enjoyable and realistic to its adherents without the need for a cheat day.
- Focus on small changes.
If you want to succeed in following a meal plan, do not overwhelm yourself with too many instant changes in your eating plan. Remember, Rome took time to build, so do not try to cultivate a habit in hours. We recommend introducing small, simple changes and sticking to them for a while (preferably a month) before introducing additional changes.
In the long run, these small changes will be part of you. Your body will likely accept any additional changes each month as you transform into a new person. Additionally, you could write these changes in your notebook or somewhere you will probably see them allowing your brain to register them early in advance.
- Incorporate filling foods into your meals.
Most diets fall short when it comes to considering a person’s satisfaction. They are concerned with the nutrients and low calories, expecting you to force your system to accept whatever it is given without question.
However, most people are interested in feeling full, with some preferring quantity over quality. So, if you want your diet or meal plan to last longer, include satiating foods such as healthy fats and proteins. These foods leave you satisfied while accelerating weight loss.
Restricting diet to calorie count without satiety could make people overeat later on to keep hunger at bay. However, fulfilling foods rich in fiber and low in sugar will reduce insulin spikes and result in better health.
- Measure portions in your hands.
Did you know that your hands are proportionate to your body size? You can use your hands to measure food and nutrients for those counting calories. This method is valuable when you are eating healthy but addictive foods.
For instance, we know that nuts have healthy fats, but they can be very addictive. If you do not take care, you may find that you have eaten too many calories than is needed. Your hands can help you track macros and determine how many calories you have eaten at a particular time.
You do not have to count and track calories continuously. Your palm is a perfect measuring tool for proteins and vegetables, thus helpful in cultivating discipline.
- Set SMART goals.
Setting goals can help you achieve your goals faster, but you will lose motivation and fail if the goals are unrealistic. Do you want your diet plan to help you get that glass-shaped figure? It can help you, but it will take some time.
Remember that gaining weight takes time, and losing weight takes an even longer. Experts say that setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals will improve your success chances.
Don’t be overwhelmed with where to begin. You can break your primary goal into smaller, manageable goals and start working on each one. It is good to work on one goal after another systematically.
- Celebrate little victories.
Once you have achieved a specific and measurable goal, celebrate your victories and move on to the next goal. Achieving small set goals inspires confidence and the belief that a healthy meal plan is fun and achievable. The brain works best with a reward system, and recognizing your milestones is one way to succeed.
However, do not celebrate by indulging in junk foods. This could leave you guilty and put you on the road to giving up. The best reward could be non-food, such as a manicure, a spa day, playing an extra hand on Vegas casino online real money, or a workout suit.
Do not lose sight of the bigger picture of building a healthy lifestyle as you celebrate the small victories. Set up other related goals to help you achieve your ultimate plan.
- Don’t allow one bad incident to take you off course.
Maybe you overindulged at a holiday party or vacation because the celebratory mood impaired your judgment. Instead of wallowing in guilt and staying down, get up and proceed from where you left off.
Do not beat yourself up trying to compensate for the incident by skipping meals since you could enter into a vicious cycle. Exercise patience with yourself and reaffirm your commitment to eating healthy foods.
Remember, nobody is perfect, and just because you slipped off your diet for a day or a week does not spell doom. You can continue with your routine until it becomes part of you.