How to Stick to Healthy Eating
Whether it's a general healthier eating regime or a planned diet, staying within the boundaries of good nutrition can sometimes be a struggle. A number of factors can affect our ability to maintain strict habits, and the solution starts with making your diet a comfortable habit. There are certain disciplines that you can practice in order to make healthy eating second nature.
I will be covering some basic tips which have helped me personally to stay motivated and achieve weight goals and fat loss targets. This article aims to give you somewhere to start with your healthy eating habits. You could implement one or all of the following tips to take the first step towards a healthy life.
Ease into it.
When starting a new diet or regime, particularly if dieting is completely new to you, make sure that there is a gradual shift between your regular eating habits and the proposed diet. If you switch too quickly you'll find that all the most difficult aspects of maintaining healthy eating will hit you all at once, and you will most likely give it up soon after beginning. Personally, I am now able to switch fairly quickly from one diet into another (for muscle gain or weight loss), but there are times where I feel the changes are too dramatic to switch instantly. In the case that the diet is vastly different to the current, I usually transition into my new diet over the space of 1-2 weeks. I find that this allows me to take the necessary steps steadily and comfortably slip into a new pattern.
It can be very difficult to stick to your guns when there are temptations everywhere you turn. As you ease into your new diet, try to remove as many bad foods from your kitchen as you can. These will most likely be habitually purchased foods that are always stocked up on such as crisps or biscuits - there may be a place for some of these later, but for now try to get rid of them.
Start Tracking Your Progress.
When starting your diet, you could take a photo of your current physique for later comparison. Your weight loss or gain progress will be a relatively slow process, especially on a visual level. On top of this, you see yourself every day, so what you see in the mirror looks the same every morning. Taking a photograph of your starting point (or whatever stage you are at) will highlight your progress positively when you refer back to it. You could even take daily, weekly or monthly photos to see the full transformation.
You can also track your weight, although I feel that there can be many variables that can affect your weight and throw off the accuracy, like muscle gain, difference in quantities of food still digesting or water retention underneath the skin or in the muscles. A better metric for tracking your progress would be to take measurements. Waist measurements are the most common and should give a fair representation of the progress you have made for most people. Saying that, the areas of the body that fat is primarily stored can differ from person to person, so you may want to consider body fat calipers so that you can measure different areas of your body to keep track.
Personally, I like to go off a visual level because I am not dieting and exercising to gain or lose weight per se, I am trying to improve my overall health and enhance my physique visually.
Share it With Friends or Family.
Sharing your diet can be a great way to stay motivated as it opens up opportunity for people to tell you how well you're doing or how good your food looks. This again gives you a great sense of achievement and fulfilment, and positively reinforces your decision to stick to a healthy diet. It can also serve as a means of sharing recipe ideas amongst your friends, which brings more involvement and enjoyment into the diet - it doesn't have to be a daily grind! Consider setting up a messenger chat group where you can easily send photos and link information to one another.
Improve Your Efficiency.
One reason people often decide to ditch their diet is because of the lack of time they have to prepare healthy meals. A major flaw in people's diets today is always choosing fast food and microwave meals over cooking fresh food because they don't have the extra time to do so. Cooking ahead of time and in batches can be a big time-saver that allows you to consistently eat well with a fraction of the preparation time. You could either cook the days meals in the morning or even cook a large meal and refrigerate or freeze part of it for the next few days. Also, use some quick 5 minute recipes to make preparing meals less of a chore.
If you were to cut out all of your favourite foods completely, chances are you won't be very happy during your diet. For someone just trying to get into shape, not enjoying your food is a deal-breaker. Trying initially cutting down how often you go for your guilty pleasure, and eventually settle at around once per week. Within fitness advice you will often hear of having 'cheat meals' once every week or two. Besides potentially having some benefits in terms of muscularity and metabolism, a cheat meal rewards your efforts and feels earned. Be sure not to let any bad foods sneak back into your daily routines - look forward to it at the end of a successful week. For an even greater effect, you could find a healthy alternative that still satisfies your cravings.
What you eat on a day-to-day basis doesn't have to always be the same, you may develop some staple meals that are easy to make or tastier than others, but it is important to also keep it fresh! Having the same meals every day can make you sick of even thinking about eating it again when the time comes. Every now and again, look for new recipes or try new seasonings and spices to mix up your meals and remove the monotony of eating the same food day in, day out.
Remind Yourself Why.
When you're feeling close to giving into to the temptations and the easy way out, remember why you ever started eating healthy. Take yourself back to the moment where you flipped the switch and decided to take back control of your health and eating habits. Refer back to your photos and realise that you have achieved something great and with that same will-power you can achieve something even greater.
Hopefully these tips have given you some extra motivation to push on with your healthy lifestyle. With a little dedication you can create good habits that are just as hard to break as the bad ones - it gets easier the more you put into it.
Depending on your current situation, some of the above ideas may be very different for you or may already be part of your day to day life. Either way, please stay tuned as I plan to go into increasing depth of some of the ideas presented in this article.
Remember that the hardest part is starting, but rest assured once you start you'll never look back.
What do you find to be the toughest part of sticking to eating healthily?
© 2015 Sincere Health