When it comes to losing body fat, one of the biggest barriers to people’s progress is sticking to a diet for a long period of time. Despite cleaning up certain areas of their nutrition and staying consistent with their training and exercise, it can be hard not to be tempted by things that are going to throw you off track.
As a result, when people don’t see the progress they want, they lose motivation, discipline and positivity when it comes to getting in better shape. All the hard work and dedication that they put into training goes out the window and not only to they become frustrated, they also become confused as to why their efforts aren’t being rewarded. In short, if you can’t stick to your diet for a long period of time, you will not see the results you want. Diet is what glues everything together. So how can stick to it?
Make Your Meals Enjoyable and Tasty
Arguably the most important tip for sticking to your diet is to make your food tasty and enjoyable. There is a common misconception that all the fun and enjoyment is taken away from your life when you start a diet. This is far from the truth. While you are indeed reducing the amount of high-calorie, processed ‘junk food’ you consume, you can still have flavoursome, nutritious, filling meals – food that you should enjoy eating. In addition, seasoning your meals will make sure that they do not taste bland – for example, have salt and pepper on a savoury meal and cinnamon on your oats in the morning.
If you enjoy eating the food in your diet, you are far more likely to stay consistent with it. The same goes with snacks – there are many healthier, lower-calorie and equally tasty alternatives to chocolate bars, sweets and crisps. For example, fruit is incredibly nutritious, lower in calories and satisfies your sweet tooth, while protein bars are very convenient, high in protein, lower in calories and include chocolate if or when you have those cravings. Making smarter choices is essential for diet adherence.
Eat High Volume, Low Calorie Foods
A struggle many people face, particularly those with a large appetite, is suppressing their hunger when their calories have decreased from what they were eating before. One of the best things you can do, however, is to eat low calorie, high volume foods. This is because they will take up more space in your stomach and make you feel fuller, without having piled on the calories in the process. As a result of feeling fuller and more satisfied, you are then less likely to be tempted by high-calorie ‘junk food’ to satisfy your cravings.
The best examples of high volume, low calorie foods include nearly all vegetables, lean protein (chicken breast, 5% fat beef mince, shrimp, for example), rice cakes, low-fat yoghurt, and high-fibre carbohydrates. If you struggle with hunger cravings, be sure to add these into your diet so that you are more satisfied throughout the day and you do not turn to foods that will take you well above your calorie target.
Adopt Certain Strategies
If you enjoy your diet and maintain fullness during the day, it is much easier to stick to your diet. However, this still might not be enough for people and other strategies may need to be introduced. One of the most popular mothods is intermittent fasting, a protocol where you delay your first meal for later in the morning (or midday) and eat all your food within a smaller window during the day. If you combine this with black coffee throughout most of the morning, it will mean that from your first meal to your last, you will be more satiated and therefore less likely to be tempted by snack foods.
Other good methods include chewing gum, drinking zero calorie soft drinks, drinking lots of water, and as mentioned, drinking coffee during the day. Adding this into your routine will suppress your appetite even more and make you last longer without food, especially if you are looking at doing intermittent fasting.
Another great way of sticking to your diet is simply by being busy throughout the day. Certain people do very physically active work which involves lots of walking and lifting, whereas others have more sedentary jobs where they sit at a desk for most of their day. However, if you can keep your mind occupied with your job or even with a project, hobby, or goal that you are working on, you will then think less about food and therefore not be as tempted by eating. Try to remove all temptation around you and focus on progressing.
Plan Your Meals
The last tip revolves around planning. Many people slip up as a result of not knowing what they are going to eat during the day and end up eating whatever is available to them, which often throws them off their diet and affects their progress. By planning and preparing your meals during the day or even the week, you not only have clarity in your mind, but you will also have the food with you, which makes you more than likely to stay on track with your nutrition. This does not mean you have to eat every piece of food out of a tupperware box, but more about having a good structure with your diet that fits around your daily schedule.
Sticking to a diet can be psychologically challenging for people, but it is absolutely essential for progress. In order to do so, your diet has to be enjoyable and sustainable so that you adhere to it over a long period of time and even for the rest of your life. You can also adopt the other methods in this article to help you even further if you are someone who struggles to control your hunger. By doing this, you will find sticking to your diet a lot easier and therefore achieve the results you want.
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