10 Easy Ways to Stick to A Diet

by Rakib Sarwar, RPh on May 24, 2019
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There is no simple way to lose weight. Being on a diet is not easy. However, there’s a more important question: “How to stick to a diet?” Unfortunately, there is no simple recipe. Many people cope with the difficulties of losing weight and not everyone is successful. Moreover, after the initial enthusiasm, people often lose their motivation.

When you are on a diet, certain types of food will definitely have to leave your plate – and your stomach! Also, you’ll have to do some exercise. However, is this enough? Why some people easily find motivation and stick to their diet, while others lose their will already after two weeks?

What are the reasons for feeling so enthusiastic about your diet, yet losing the will to go on after only several weeks? Do we really have to see the results in such a short period of time to be able to command ourselves to continue? How can you trick your brain into sticking to a diet?

These are some of the questions we will try to answer in this article. In order to stick to your diet, follow these 10 easy tips. Let’s get started!

1. Do not classify certain food as “forbidden”

One of the most common answers to the “How to stick to a diet?” question is: don’t restrain yourself too much. What does this mean? If you forbid something to yourself, then it will attract you even more. It is in our human nature to try to win the things that are not so easy to win. This is applicable to all areas and aspects of our life, not only diets.

How does this rule affect us? Simply put, even though you know that chocolate and cookies are not good for you, the mental image of delicious, yet forbidden food will make it more attractive. You will think about sweets (or junk food – whatever carries the “forbidden” label in your mind!) all the time. You will most probably feel a very strong urge to eat such food. And, in the end, you might give in…

So, what can you do about it? We suggest the following. Don’t be absolutely strict to yourself. It will make you very nervous. Here and there, you can make a small exception. Have a small piece of chocolate or eat one cookie if you feel you are approaching a crisis.

Also, you can have a “cheat meal” or a “cheat day”. You’ve probably heard about it. The basic principle says that you can have one cheat meal every few days, or one cheat day in a week (or once in two weeks). If there are some of you who don’t know what exactly a cheat day implies, we will explain it in simple language.

When the time has come to have a cheat meal or a cheat day, you can eat whatever you like, but in limited amounts (1).

As a result, you won’t be as nervous as usual, you’ll stay motivated during the week, and you won’t think about food all the time. Also, you can think of this principle as the award system for your “good behavior” during the week!

2. Promise yourself you will eat one healthy meal a day

That’s all you need. A quality, rich, and healthy meal a day. Why is this so important? When you’re on a diet, you change the way you eat. Your body has to adapt to the new situation and it is never easy. You will probably eat less, and the odds that you’ll take fewer nutrients than usually are high.

Therefore, you might feel a lack of energy. In addition, such a change might make you feel less ready to engage in training, go swimming or running. As a result, you will slow down your metabolism and you won’t lose much weight. Moreover, you will feel down and might even want to quit your diet.

On the other hand, if you eat at least one healthy meal a day, you’ll have enough energy to exercise and you’ll keep your metabolism running (2). You will provide all the necessary nutrients to your organism. Trust us, it will pay off!

3. Exercise carefully

It is easy to fall into the trap of starting your exercise regime too enthusiastically. Enthusiasm is good. However, if you overdo it and train too much in the very beginning, you’ll most probably lose your motivation after a week or two.

If you’re training for the first time or if you’re back to the gym, remember that less and more (3). Go slowly, step by step. If exercising is taking too much time, look for a different type of physical activity that consumes more calories in a shorter period of time. Also, you can find a friend and exercise together. It will serve as a kind of positive competition and motivation for sticking to your diet and exercising routine.

4. Eat at home

It is much better to make your lunch or dinner yourself, rather than picking it up from a local bakery or restaurant. You can easily control the amount of grease and all the ingredients you put into your dish. Also, you can decrease the size of your portion easily (4).

Combining this tip with tip No. 8 you will read a bit later can significantly improve your lifestyle and health in general. Simply put, we want to say that keeping track of the food you eat and the way it affects you can lead you to amazing conclusions.

Back to the topic. Remember that there are many traps you can fall into when eating in a restaurant. If you order food or eat in a restaurant, you’ll feel tempted to eat everything they bring you and you’ll probably consume more junk food or greasy food.

However, it is not always easy for homemade food. What if you have to go to a birthday party or a business dinner? There’s a simple solution! If you have to go out and socialize with your friends or business partners, don’t go to an event with an empty stomach! Try to trick yourself with a salad and eat your regular diet-compliant meal when you come home.

5. Drink water

Water is of utmost importance for your overall well-being and for sticking to a diet. You already know this and you’ll probably just skip this section, but wait! Even though there is no need to add anything special to this tip, we want to remind you that you should drink at least two liters of water a day.

Water removes harmful substances from your body. It will immediately make you feel more energized. Moreover, it stimulates your metabolism and creates the effect of a full stomach. Drinking enough water will increase the quality of your diet and make you more motivated (5).

6. Long walks, swimming or running

Even though you might think: “How is this related to my diet motivation?”, trust us, it is closely related to it. It directly affects your motivation, it reinforces the urge to stick to your diet plan and to enjoy your results.

First of all, exercising is good for you. We all know that. However, sports activities such as walks, swimming or running will accelerate your metabolism. In this way, it represents excellent support to your diet (3). You will burn lots of calories and you’ll see your results quickly.

As you see your results, your motivation will become stronger. You will want to continue with your diet. In addition, exercising will reinforce the secretion of serotonin, a hormone of happiness. This will make you look at your diet from the bright side. You’ll feel more motivated and ready to endure, overcome the obstacles, and achieve your goals.

7. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly

We all tend to be extremely nervous when on a diet. It is not easy to stick to it. However, there are some tips and tricks that will 100% help you stay on your diet and achieve your goals.

One of those tips is eating slowly and chewing your food. Why is this important? It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive a message from your body that says your stomach is full.

If you eat very quickly, you’ll actually be full before you even notice it. It means you’ll probably eat a double portion of food as you won’t feel that your stomach is already full, which is completely unnecessary.

In addition, you will most probably feel bad later, as your stomach will hurt and you might even experience digestion problems and stomach gasses. Therefore, eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly will make you feel full as soon as you physically are (6). This will decrease your food portions and keep you healthy.

8. Keep a diary

Keeping a diet diary is a very good way to track your progress (7). Each new pound you lose will motivate you to stick to your diet. In addition, there are many other things you should write in your diet diary. Those include:

  • Exercising routine
  • Each meal content
  • Calories per day
  • Waist circumference
  • Weight
  • Mood
  • Nutrients and energy relation.

This way, you will be able to easily track the calories you intake, modify your diet if you feel you are exercising too much, or improve the effectiveness of your existing diet by introducing smaller portions of food or eating healthier food.

In the meanwhile, you will become aware of the types of food that suit your body the best. This will help you get to know your body and enhance your lifestyle and everyday habits.

9. Make a few small decisions that you will strictly respect it

Remember that less is more, even when you are on a diet. Therefore, if you want to lose a few pounds, make those small, tiny rules and decisions (8). It is important to make goals that you can stick to. If you force yourself with decisions like – you must lose 10 or 20 pounds in 60 days, you will probably not be able to achieve these goals and you will feel like a failure.

This is very bad for your mood, motivation, and general well-being. It might even make you quit the diet.

To begin with a diet, it is important that you really want to do it. However, keep in mind that you should break your large goal into smaller, easily achievable goals.

10. Start your diet on Monday

Even though experts’ opinions vary on this particular topic, the majority of psychologists agree that starting your diet on Monday increases your chances for success.

Namely, they say that Monday is the day that symbolizes a new beginning. Therefore, you might feel free of psychological burden, dissatisfaction with your weight, and motivated for starting a diet.

Also, our life is planned and based on a 7-day week, 30 or 31-day monthly programs. In this way, starting your diet on Monday will help you organize your diary, your “cheat days”, your gym visits, and more.

The Bottom Line

How to stick to a diet? The answer is not very short. Also, sticking to a diet is not easy. You have to be devoted to it. Also, you have to be ready to cope with many difficulties in this way.

Despite your initial enthusiasm, you will certainly experience many days when you will feel like breaking your rules. There will be lots of different obstacles. Those difficulties include losing motivation, mood changes, feeling hopeless, or dissatisfied with the results, as well as thinking of changing your diet type in the middle of your way.

However, If you follow the above-mentioned tips with patience and can continue for a while, you will obviously feel your improvements. This will definitely encourage you to be successful to stick to a diet.

References:

(1) //onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eat.22671
(2) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2606986/
(3) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925973/
(4) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561571/
(5) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133077/
(6) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212566/
(7) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268700/
(8) //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904755/


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