How to pick the right diet and stick to it
Making the decision to eat healthier and actually doing it consistently are two very different things. It’s easy to get excited about a new fad diet, throw out all the sugary foods in your pantry, and whip up a week’s worth of green smoothies. But on day three of drinking those smoothies, your self control may start to wane. If you want to really create lasting change, you have to commit to more than a diet. You have to totally revamp your lifestyle for the long run. Here’s how to do it.
Start with a sustainable change
Most trendy diets promise dramatic weight loss quickly — and all you have to do is cut out an entire food group or completely change the way that you eat. There are two problems with this. First of all, weight loss really shouldn’t be dramatic. It should be gradual over time, losing about half a pound or one pound per week. This slower weight loss is more sustainable long-term, whereas fast and drastic weight loss typically leads right back to weight gain.
Similarly, in order to set yourself up for success, changes to your diet should be small, too. That’s not to say your current eating habits may not need a massive makeover, but rather that you shouldn’t do it all at once. If you’re used to eating dessert every day, try to skip it just two days a week as opposed to going cold turkey. Or if you’re prone to snacking, don’t stop altogether — just make one of your snacks a healthy choice. Smaller changes done at a gradual pace should help you to stay on the wagon indefinitely. Super restrictive diets rarely last long-term.
Consider your personal goals
Maybe you don’t want to lose weight. Perhaps your goal is to gain muscle. Or maybe you’re looking for clearer skin or stronger hair and nails. Whatever your aim, remember that, when it comes to diets, one size doesn’t fit all. For instance, if you want to grow stronger, you wouldn’t follow the same low-calorie diet as someone who simply wants to shed a few pounds — you’d go in the opposite direction. Do some research to find a diet that will help you reach your personal goals.
Pinpoint your problem behaviors
Some people struggle with avoiding late-night snacking, whereas others can’t bring themselves to eat breakfast and then, by 10 a.m., they’re ravenous. What pitfall plagues your progress? It’s helpful to lay out the ways you could potentially get sidetracked, and then find a way to forestall these problems before they even arise. For example, if you know you’re prone to snacking, don’t even buy the treats that tempt you. If you don’t have them on hand in the first place, it’ll be impossible to over-snack.
Learn to listen to your body
Regardless of how you choose to tweak your current diet, there’s one pearl of nutritional wisdom that applies to everyone: get better a listening to your body. Start to consciously note when you feel true pangs of hunger, when you’re full, and which types of food make you feel energized as opposed to sluggish. When you start to draw these connections, it gets easier to eat according to your body’s signals, and therefore avoid over-eating.
14 Simple Ways to Stick to a Healthy Diet [HealthLine]
Outsmart These 5 Diet Downfalls [Fitness]