When it comes to starting a ‘new’ diet or kick-starting a healthier lifestyle, we always begin with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, a lot of us fall short of our goals fairly quickly, and it’s often down to one of the following reasons:
- Changes to our diet are unrealistic.
- We don’t want change badly enough.
If you plan on making a change, setting realistic targets should be objective numero uno.
Here are a number of simple tips on sticking to your diet:
Don’t change everything at once.
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? You should make small changes to your diet, instead of drastic ones. This will help you for two reasons: firstly, you won’t put yourself under too much pressure from the beginning; and secondly, it will become clearer where your main problem areas are. If you change everything at the same time, it’s very difficult to pinpoint what the wider issues may be.
Focus on one meal at a time.
Changing a whole diet plan can be pretty daunting, so rather than restructuring your entire eating habits, try focusing on one meal at a time. Break things down into breakfast, lunch and dinner to begin with, and then move on to snacks and bedtime nutrition.
Identify weaknesses early.
Don’t feel like you need to follow an exact format. If lunchtime nutrition throws up the biggest obstacles for you, tackle this first. Try to establish the root cause of the problem: Is it a question of time? Does money play a factor? Is it convenience, or do you lack confidence to cook your own meals? Time to turn this weakness into a strength…
(see article: Unlocking the Fundamentals of Nutrition: 7 Key Tips)
For some people the main issue with nutrition is not really understanding our relationship with food, and how we need the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fats to support a healthy lifestyle. Take some time to learn how a well balanced diet is perfect for supporting your exercise and health goals, but be mindful that this is a long-term relationship. Quick wins and ‘fad’ diets won’t cut the mustard. Focus on sustainable gains.
(see article: The 3 T’s of Nutrition for Losing Body Fat)
Create options for yourself.
There is nothing more depressing than staring at a plate of chicken and broccoli, every, single, day…so create options for yourself to stay interested in your new diet. Come up with at least 3 meal options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and try to alternate between these. If you take away the guess work, you’re far less likely to deviate from the righteous path!
Using flavourings like our Active Seasonings™ is a fantastic way to add a bit of zing to plain, or otherwise boring food.
Be Good 80% of the Time.
All healthy diets come with a degree of flexibility, so don’t beat yourself up if you eat something you shouldn’t, now and again. The key here is to eat well 80% of the time – the other 20% gives you a bit of freedom to enjoy pizza and ice cream wins (in moderation of course).
Look at this 20% as a reward for your efforts in the gym and on competition days. There is nothing more satisfying than loading up on calories after a dirty lifting session! Just be wary of rewarding yourself too often if you haven’t been putting the work in…this is when the pounds begin to pile on.
Prepare your food in advance.
You needn’t conform 100% to the Tupperware Grand Master lifestyle, but cooking food in advance for meals throughout the week, is a great way to reduce poor snacking choices and unnecessary outlay on fast food too.
Remove Yourself from Temptation.
If self-control is not your strong suit, do what you can to remove the evils of temptation from everyday life. Don’t buy sweets and sugary drinks if you suspect you’ll be picking at them in the house. If they are treats for your partner or kids, keep them locked away out of sight. Normally we snack out of habit rather than necessity. Out of sight, hopefully out of mind…
See all the takeaway menus on the noticeboard, and on the kitchen table? Put them in the bin! You don’t need them.
Use Supplements as Needed.
Very few people get all the nutrients they need from their diet alone. Supplements provide a convenient and affordable way of increasing levels of quality nutrition – particularly for things such as protein and vitamins & minerals, which are often areas that people struggle with most.
If you start to feel peckish, reach for a protein shake instead of a Twix bar. The protein will increase your level of satiety, keeping you feeling fuller for longer – creating a virtual muzzle against poor eating decisions.
Track what you eat.
Some people fill out eating plans; others use apps to track the exact numbers of macros they are consuming each day. Sometimes it’s as easy as simply taking a picture of what you eat. Visualising what you consume can really help identify problems with your diet, and it only takes the click of a button.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. Changes to your diet and physique also takes time. The key to real change is continual small, progressive changes. Put these tips to the test and see how you get on.