Consistently eating a healthy diet can be tough. But it can also be deeply rewarding. The challenging part is just all those times in between: the times you’re tempted to cheat or throw in the towel. Here’s some advice for maintaining your diet through thick and thin.
Junk Food Free Zone
If you’re trying to stick to your diet, keep junk food out of your home and pantry. It’s very hard to focus on your goals when you have a gleaming bag of Cheetos staring you in the face every time you go check your cupboards.
Even if other members of your household are still indulging in junk food just politely request that they store them in an out of the way place that won’t tempt you. Sticking to your diet has a lot to do with mindset, so don’t put obstacles in your path.¹
Don’t Aim For Perfect
Many times when setting out on a diet people take an overly dramatic approach. They search for the “perfect” diet or cling to visions of an incredibly toned physique and healthy state of being down the road.
If you start to see your diet as black and white you will actually be on a path to becoming more likely to fail. Instead, even if you lapse once or twice and cheat a little bit stick to your overall goal and don’t be too hard on yourself. Discipline but not extreme obsession is the name of the game here.²
Eat Food You Actually Like
One of the biggest diet disasters is when people try to force themselves to eat foods they hate. Don’t do it. If you can’t stand salad or quinoa then don’t push it in your mouth day after day – one day will come when you say forget it and tank your diet.
Instead, do some research of healthy foods that fit with your diet but that you also actually like eating. Then stock your cupboards and refrigerator with those foods and prepare meals with them. Your diet will go much, much better.³
Accountability and the Buddy System
It’s a great idea to have someone who will help motivate you and encourage you to stick to your diet. It’s even better if you actually do the diet with a buddy or friend and check in with them daily. This ensures accountability and keeps you on a mutual trend of supporting and pumping each other up.
It can be hard to do a diet in a social vacuum. Find friends who support you and turn to them. Maybe your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband or a family member also wants to join you on your diet journey. Take them up on the offer. It can make all the difference in helping keep you motivated and excited about your diet for the long run.⁴
Don’t Go Too Far Overboard
If you are feeling some hunger pangs and craving snacks it probably means your diet is working. But if you’re actually becoming weak and dizzy or feeling genuinely starved for nutrients then you’ve taken the diet too far.
If you rush or push too hard to see results you could actually end up undoing any progress you’ve made and seriously harming your mental and physical health.
There are minimum acceptable levels of calories men and women need per day. If you take your diet too far and start going below these levels you will likely get weak, tired, uncomfortable and may fail to stick to your diet.³