A woman starting a diet is about as common as a man leaving the toilet seat up. However, many of us lack the discipline to see our diet of choice through to the end. Temptations surface, roadblocks crop up, and it can seem too overwhelming at times.
That’s why it’s vital to have a specific strategy for staying on track. The secret to successful dieting isn’t so much about which diet you choose, but your determination to make it work. If only that was as easy as it sounds! But if you can stay disciplined, just about any nourishing diet you choose will help you achieve the body you’ve always dreamed of.
In order to help you stay on track with your diet, consider the following ten essential tips.
Vague goals only set us up for failure. If your goal is simply “I want to lose weight,” you won’t have the motivation you need to make it happen. Instead, try this: “I want to lose weight in time for my cruise in 6 weeks.”
That’s better. It’s more specific because it sets a timeframe. To make it nearly foolproof try: “I want to lose five pounds in time for my cruise in six weeks. I weigh 140 now, so my goal weight is 132.” That’s a goal you can actually aim for!
Once you have the main goal in mind, draw up a specific action plan to get there. Write down your daily and weekly meal plans so you know exactly what you’ll be eating every day. One highly successful technique is to create “if-then” plans for when an event or special occasion threatens to throw you off.
For example, at a birthday party, tell yourself “I will only have one sliver of cake and no ice cream.” These plans will help to keep you from binging and losing your diet entirely.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories. And the best way to eat few calories is to skip a meal, right? WRONG! Breakfast is the easiest meal to skip in the day, and it’s natural to assume it’ll help your diet. It’s true that it will lower your calorie intake, but it can also hinder your calorie-burning capabilities for the rest of the day.
Studies show that the metabolism of people who eat breakfast works faster throughout the day than that of those who don’t. Skipping breakfast also tends to make you prone to cravings and binge eating at lunch or dinner.
A healthy, light breakfast such as fruit and yogurt or high-fiber cereal is the best way to kick-start your day and your systems.
Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. It may not be very trendy, but it is one of the best things you can do to keep up your diet. Drinking plenty of water or calorie and sugar-free beverages will help in two ways:
1) It reduces the amount of sugary and high-calorie beverages you drink, such as coffee, sodas, energy drinks, and juices; and 2) it helps you to eat and snack less. People often confuse the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger, so they eat a snack when all they need is water.
Drinking water also helps you to feel full longer so you don’t have as many cravings. If you think you’re craving a bag of potato chips, try drinking a tall glass of water first.
If you have very specific goals, the best way to stick with them is to track your success. Utilize any tools you have at your disposal to stay abreast of the things you’ve done well by dieting.
One way to do this is to keep a diet journal. Step on the scale every morning and record your weight. Then write down the amount of exercise you perform each day and the food you’ve eaten, including any sneaky snacks between meals.
At the end of each week, evaluate your journal to determine what you did well over the week and how you might improve in the future. It’s worthwhile to track how far you’ve come, but don’t neglect your failures. You can learn a lot from the things you didn’t do well so you’ll do better in the future!
Start by telling your family and friends about your weight-loss goal. They can help you stay with the program when you’re in their company, and send you helpful reminders throughout your day.
They may even opt to join in. Talk with them whenever the going gets hard and you feel like giving up; they can boost your motivation.
If you feel like you need more support, look for a support group at your local gym or online. You’d be amazed how much meeting with others who know what you’re going through can help improve your willpower!
If you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to get home after work, kick your feet up, and binge watch episodes of New Girl on Netflix. In fact, most people use their evenings after dinner for relaxation, which is a gateway to mindless eating. If you’re snacking while watching TV or reading a book, chances are you aren’t keeping track of how much or even what you’re eating.
You can avoid this. Don’t eat anything three hours before you go to bed. This helps you digest and burn the fat from the food you eat before going to sleep; your body switches to fat storage mode instead of fat burning.
It will also help you to stay more conscious of your diet.
For the sake of both your diet and intestinal comfort, slow down during your meals. Diners who shovel their food not only put themselves at a higher risk of gas and heartburn, but also have a harder time sticking to their diets. When you eat, your stomach sends a signal to your brain that you’re full.
If you eat too quickly, you’ll have eaten more than your stomach wanted before it could send that signal to your brain. Overeating is a significant factor in both weight gain and diet failure.
In order to help you slow down, try counting how many times you chew each bite. As a general rule, you should chew softer food five to ten times and denser foods 20-30 times before swallowing.
Most people chew much less than that, which means they take in more food before they feel full. Heavy chewing of your healthiest foods – such as dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables – until they’re pretty much liquefied in your mouth, allows you to reap their nutrients in spades.
Okay, let’s get technical and examine the human mind for a moment. Diet failures often occur because dieters have a large number of physical and emotional factors that inhibit their willpower. Stress, for example, is an emotional trigger that makes it difficult to say no to comfort foods.
Lack of sleep is a major trigger for diet failures. When you’re tired, it’s a lot more difficult to say no to tempting foods.
Use your diet journal to help you plan your sleep schedule. Having a plan will make it easier to stick to your diet instead of suffering from lack of sleep because you went to bed whenever you happened to get around to it.
As most of us know by now, the CDC recommends exercising 30 minutes a day, five times a week, but not all exercise is equal. High-impact training and heavy cardio workouts are much better for burning calories than other moderate exercises. However, slower, more sustained workouts like an hour walk on an incline will help you reach your target heart rate and allow you to burn fat more effectively.
Also, be aware of your response to exercise. If you discover that heavy, 45-minute workouts are making it more difficult to stick to your diet because you feel the need to binge-eat afterward, switch to a different workout or try exercising for shorter intervals. You do NOT need to fall down gasping for breath after every workout in order to lose weight!
Above all, stay positive about your diet. Losing weight is one of the most difficult challenges an individual faces, and it’s important to accept that, yet not let it get you down.
Believing you will succeed in your diet is the key to sticking with it. Take heart in the little successes, and learn from each mistake. Just keep telling yourself that you really are on your way to the body of your dreams!
Remaining positively realistic about your goals is one of the best things you can do for your diet. Visit our website for more ideas on how to achieve shapely success.
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