For most people, there comes a time in their life when they need to change up their diet. Whether it’s because they have a personal desire to lose weight, a doctor-ordered diet or some other reason, we all will likely attempt to change up our eating habits for the better at some point. And anyone who has already tried this will know it can be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. If nothing else, habits have made it difficult to breakaway from our usual meals. They say the beginning of a diet is the make-or-break point, and while it may not be a breeze after that, getting past the first hump can mean a lot for the success of your diet. Take a look at some of these helpful tips of how to start your diet off right and make it stick.
Understand your goals.
Before you even start your diet, you need to understand why you are doing this. What goals are you setting for yourself? Are they specific? How are they being measured and for how long? Too many people go in to a diet without considering these very important questions. Even a specific goal and a specific timeframe won’t be enough. Let’s say you want to lose 30 pound in 6 months. Great, what comes next? What’s to stop you from reverting back to your old eating habits after those 6 months and regaining those 30 pounds? Sit down and put some real thought into what you want and want you need to accomplish with this new regiment. Having that laid out before you will better help you stay on the right track.
Establish an eating plan.
Not knowing what to eat is a surefire way to quickly falter on your new diet. It might seem like a inconsequential aspect, but without really forming a plan of smart and healthy meals you’re likely to drift back to those quick and easy options you chose before. At the beginning of the week, plan out your meals for the entire week so you’re never left wondering what’s for dinner. A common suggestion when trying to lose weight is that multiple small meals are better than three large meals. If you’re going with this plan, be sure to plan out those in between snacks as well. This will help avoid those times where you’re scrambling for meal ideas and end up grabbing the easiest and quickest meal—which is rarely the health-conscious choice.
Change the relationship between activities and food.
One of the biggest struggles with a diet is breaking those bad eating habits. We get so comfortable with the snack foods we like that it becomes almost second nature to us. One way to help break those habits is by separating certain foods with certain activities. For instance, you may feel like watching a movie isn’t the same unless you’re enjoying it with a big bowl of buttery popcorn, or that you need beer and nachos to watch the hockey game with friends. Break the link between these activities and junk food. Don’t get me wrong, you miss those indulgences at first, but the more you distance yourself from a bad habit the less you think about it.
Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Some people approach diets with a go-for-broke attitude. They feel that if they’re going to attempt to diet, they might as well go all the way and aim to get back to their school days’ weight. Those kinds of diets rarely yield success and can in fact be very dangerous. Be sure to consult a doctor before attempting any diet to ensure you’re taking the safest method to lose weight. And there’s no need to rush yourself. Take it 10 pounds at a time and get to your goal safely.
Find a diet-partner.
It’s always easier to do something with a buddy rather than doing it alone. Find someone who is willing to go along with you on your diet, even if it is just for the first few weeks so you can share the struggle. Motivation is often the biggest hurdle to overcome with these kinds of efforts and having someone to pull you up, while you do likewise, can really be a major benefit. However, you’ll need to chose your diet-partner wisely. Someone who is too intense or too relaxed about their diet will do more harm than good. Don’t just choose your closest friend without figuring out if you’re on the same page. Sit down and make a plan together so you can share the road together.
Don’t let a slip-up throw you off.
There’s a fine line you need to strike with your diet in terms of success and failure. While you should stick with the guidelines you’ve set for yourself, you need to know how to deal with those times you slip-up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, as it’s bound to happen occasionally, so don’t see it as failure on your part but rather a bump in the road. It does not mean that you don’t have the discipline to succeed, nor does it mean you should skip a meal or otherwise punish yourself. Simply learn from your mistakes, move passed it and do better next time.
Don’t forget the exercise.
Any strict diet will be made ineffective if exercise is not also brought into the mix. Don’t make excuses about how you don’t need to exercise because you’ve given up potato chips. Exercise is an essential ingredient in every successful diet. When you make that eating-plan, add in a work-out schedule and stick to it as much as you stick to the diet.