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Best Tips on How to Stick to a Diet

Updated on March 6, 2020
BodystrongBen profile image

I have a masters degree in sports science and around 10 years experience in personal training and sports research.

Sticking To A Diet

One of the hardest things most people seem to find is not sticking going to the gym but actually sticking to a diet. Why is it so hard? Although I can now mentally stick diets out well, I’ve had so many troubles in the past. Even now, I don’t eat much chocolate, until I put myself on a strict diet and then i start to crave it. It becomes the forbidden fruit I want because I’m telling myself I can’t have it. I do however have some little tips I use myself to help in sticking to a diet. I have only learnt these by years and years or practising and trying different diets.

Get Your Diet Set

I have tried dozens and dozens of diets. Even now I find myself trying new diet regimes for 10-12 weeks to see how my body reacts. I want to find the perfect diet for my body and although I’ve had great results I want to keep going until I find it. First tip is that you need to get YOUR personal diet set.

For instance, most people think, I might try eat a little healthier next week or I might cut out the chocolate for a few days. This is completely the wrong mind set. You need to get a diet set so you know exactly what diet you want to follow. Look at what you want to achieve and find the best diet that suits your goals. Decide on a diet, not a mixture of 2, not a little bit of a diet, decide on a diet and lock it in. If you decide on an intermittent fasting then that’s the diet you must proceed to take, not just a couple days a week or every New Years resolution. Decide a specific diet and that’s final, it’s the best way to stick to a diet and not cheat.

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Prepare Your Diet

As the saying goes fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Preparation is the key on how to stick to a diet long term. Preparing in your free time, so that you don’t need to think about what to eat is also a blessing for busy people.

Basically when you go shopping, create a list. Work out what meals you want to eat for the week to fit in with your diet and write down the ingredients. Once you have the ingredients in your house for them meals, you will more than likely stick to them. Also prepare a few days ahead. I like to make 2 or 3 days worth of meals and keep them boxed up and refrigerated. This means you no longer have to worry about cooking for the next few days and you have your healthy meals sat there ready to go.

Have Realistic Expectations

To keep to a diet you need to have realistic expectations. You can go in with an all or nothing attitude, it just won’t work. You have to expect that you will have cheat meals and even cheat days. Too many people nowadays expect to eat perfect 24/7 so when they cave in and have chocolate they think it’s all ruined and stop the diet. In reality we will all cave in to our cravings at some point but keeping it to a minimum is key.

Right now I have no specific diet but I eat high protein, low sugar and generally healthy meals through the week. All day on a Saturday I like to eat anything, whether that be pizza, crisps, chocolate, fast food ect. I find that doing this, come Sunday I feel lethargic and I’m ready for healthy food again. It also helps me if I’m craving bad food on Thursday/Friday, I know I only have to wait a couple of days to fill my cravings.

Set Goals

Setting goals is talked about in fitness all the time, whether that be in diets or in workouts. You need to set a main goal, something that you can aim towards and focus on. Say you have a holiday in 12 weeks and your main goal could be to lose 10 pounds by that time. Then you need mini goals, every 2 weeks aim to have seen a drop of 2 pounds. Setting your mini goals will help you see progress which is a great motivation tool. Remember any progress no matter how small, is still progress.

As mentioned earlier you need to keep your goals realistic. Having unrealistic goals will just mean they won’t ever be reached and can hurt you mentally.

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How To Stick To A Diet On The Weekend

As mentioned earlier I tend to have Saturday as a cheat day but I have had times where I have dieted 7 days a week. To stick to it on a weekend can be hard as it’s the time when most people splurge out on unhealthy things. The best way to do this would be to prepare your weekends meals on a Thursday or Friday so that they’re ready to go. It’s highly likely if they’re already made that you will eat them instead of going for the classic takeaway option.

Also if you’re going to eat out, then have some sort of a game plan before you go. Look up the restaurants menu online and look for healthy meals there. Try eat out in places that generally are considered healthy, a lot have calorie counts on the menu as well so take it into consideration.

Another tip is to carry healthy snacks with you. If you’re going out on a weekend and may be out a while, take some healthy snacks with you. This could be some fruit, healthy cereal bars, protein bars or small salad pots.

I Can't Diet I Love Food

It’s crazy how many people actually say this to me. We all love food though and just because you want to diet doesn’t mean you have to take out flavour or even cut down on portions. Try being more creative with your meals, it’s so easy now with the internet to find some brilliantly tasty and healthy meals. Allow yourself set cheat meals and cheat days to indulge on your cravings so you don’t miss them.

Dieting is mainly a mental game and you have to be mentally set on your goals and diet to stick to it. If you aren’t serious or don’t have serious goals then you’ll cave early, it’s that simple.

Thank you for reading.

© 2020 Ben Smith

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