How To Stick To Your Diet
Often the biggest determinant of success is your ability to stick to your diet.
Naturally the easier it is to do this, the higher your chances of reaching your goals are.
However, the likelihood you stick to your diet is often based on how you feel on the day, what you’re up to and where you’re going.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In fact, there are several strategies you can use to increase your diet adherence and actually make it easier to stay on track.
What follows are 6 things you can do to help stop you messing up your diet and stick to it with ease instead.
#1 - Identify Your Triggers
If you want to stop yourself from overindulging and going over your calorie allowance you need to learn to recognise your triggers i.e. what is it that causes you to stray from the plan and turn a small hiccup into a blowout?
Keep a diary and note down all the times you feel tempted to eat something outside of your normal meal times. Make a note of;
What are you doing, are you engaged or bored?
How do you feel, happy, sad, excited or bored?
Is it a normal day, have you done more or less exercise than normal?
By tracking when you’re tempted to snack or indulge and how you feel at those times you can begin to find the patterns or situations which trigger you.
Maybe you realise it’s always after dinner when watching Netflix that you want to snack
It could be that it’s only when you’re with friends that you overindulge
Perhaps on the days you do or don’t exercise you eat more
Do you find you eat more when you're procrastinating on doing something you need to do?
It could be any number of things that set you off but once you know you can take steps to counteract your triggers. It could be something as simple as;
Drinking a big glass of water
Taking a walk to stretch your legs and clear your mind
Doing a task that engages you
Or it could be that being aware of your behaviour is enough to stop you
The point is, that without tracking your behaviour you won’t know what your triggers are or how to overcome them.
#2 - Keep Problem Foods Out The House
Sometimes it just boils down to this, if it’s not in the house you can’t eat it.
No matter how much you might want it or try to eat it, you can physically eat something that’s not there.
Now, if you’re one of those people who can have certain foods around without giving into temptation then power to you, but if you’re someone who finds themselves saying “just one more” and are referring to the packet and not the biscuit then it’s safe to say you should keep these foods out of the house.
This simple change can be the difference between overindulging and sticking to your diet.
If you have trouble making this change then just ask yourself what you’d prefer a snack cupboard or six pack…food for thought.
Additionally, by separating your home from the place where you treat yourself can help remove the association you have of being at home with snacking.
#3 - View Calories As Weekly Instead Of Daily
Another strategy to help prevent you from messing up your diet is to view your calories as weekly instead of daily.
This change will give you a better perspective of how your daily decisions and calorie intake will stack up over the course a week and whether or not they will make a difference.
This is important for 2 reasons;
Although your weight can vary widely on a daily basis, changes in body composition at a more fundamental level don’t happen that quickly, this understanding is important for the next point…
A small or even large overindulgence on your diet on one day when viewed in relation to your weekly intake often won’t make a huge difference and it’s possible for you to remain in a calorie deficit for the week*
*obviously this is within reason, if you go crazy and consumed 1,000s more calories than you need then it will mess up your whole week, but if it’s a couple hundred calories on one day then it won’t make a difference in the long run.
#4 - Plan Ahead
This is particularly important for counteracting those times when willpower is low, hunger is high, and tiredness has set in.
By planning ahead i.e. shopping in advance, prepping meals for the week and keep trigger foods out of the house, means that when you’re not in a position to make ‘good’ decisions you don’t need to.
All the decisions will have already been made and you can just get on with doing what you need to do.
You remove all the temptation to stray and make it easy to avoid binge eating.
#5 - Keep A Food Diary
Find you keep messing up but you’re not sure why, think you’re in a calorie deficit but somehow, you’re gaining weight?
Sure, this isn’t messing up your diet in the wider sense of this article but none the less it’s keeping you stuck firmly at square one so let’s address.
The best way to overcome this problem is to keep a food diary every day for as long as you need to, to stop it from happening. This means not only recording what you ate but how much of it too.
Another good practice is to make notes on how you felt when throughout the day and see how this corresponds with your eating habits.
As with the first point in this list, this can help you identify any recurring behaviour patterns and gain a deeper understanding as to why and where you might be messing up your diet.
#6 - Use A Nutrition Plan That Works For You
There is a lot of debate about which diet is best, but that’s a topic for a different article, the point here is that whatever method of eating that works best for you is the one you should use.
If you keep jumping from unrealistic juice diet to unsustainable celebrity fad you will ALWAYS regain any weight you’ve lost and then some.
Like a dog is not just for Christmas, fat loss is not just for summer.
If you really want to lose fat and keep it off without putting yourself through a continuous cycle of messing up your diet, gaining weight and starting again. You must find something that works for you.
A few criteria to keep in mind when choosing are;
It must be sustainable i.e. you have to be able to stick with it consistently
It has to be something that will not be detrimental to your health
It preferably should not exclude any food group or food item unless for medical reasons
It must allow you to have a social life i.e. dinner out with friends, drinks with colleagues or whatever ‘a social life’ may mean to you
It must be made up of 70 to 80% nutritious foods with the remaining 20 – 30% being used to include the foods you like
If you can find something that fits the above criteria you’re on the right track. However, even with the perfect diet setup, they’ll still be times where you mess up your diet for one reason for another.
When this happens it’s important you react in the right way to avoid further damage.
There isn’t always one correct answer for sticking to your diet with ease, often it requires different strategies in different situations or a combination of strategies.
Using the 6 strategies laid out in this blog post;
Identify your triggers
Keep problem foods out of the house
View calories as weekly instead of daily
Keep a food diary
Use a nutrition plan that works for you
You can stick to your diet with ease and say goodbye to binge days and mess ups once and for all.