Losing weight ranks highly in the ten most popular New Year resolutions, in all the countries where too many kilojoules are a problem, including Australia. So if you’re trying a new eating/exercise plan this year, how’s it going?
No doubt about it, sticking to a diet can be extremely challenging, but with persistence and a bit of strategy, it’s possible to see results and achieve your health and fitness goals, without going backwards again.
Here are some tips to help you stay committed to your eating/exercise plan:
Set achievable goals: Start by setting realistic, achievable goals for yourself. This will help you stay motivated and on track. If you need some external nudging and you can’t afford a personal drill sergeant, there are apps that can keep track of your food and exercise goals.
Plan your meals: Organise your meals in advance and be sure to include healthy, nutritious options. This will help you avoid last-minute decisions that could lead to unhealthy choices. Scientifically based meal plans such as the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet have helped many people lose weight and keep it off.
Keep healthy snacks on hand: Having fruits, vegetables, and nuts, can help you resist the temptation to reach for junk food when hunger strikes (but remember juice is full of fruit sugars, and nuts are high in fat), so don’t go crazy..
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help you feel full and avoid over-eating. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day if possible. If the tap water where you live is not very nice, consider investing in a water filter to make getting enough water a treat instead of an obligation.
Avoid temptations: Remove any unhealthy or tempting foods from your home to avoid giving into cravings.
If the people you live with don’t want to give these products up, organise somewhere special to store them, preferably out of easy reach.
Track your progress: Keeping track of how you’re going, via weight or waistline measurements, help many people stay motivated and see the results of all that hard work.
If you don’t like scales and tape measures and taking notes, but are seeing a doctor regularly, they can do this for you, and tell you which direction you’re heading.
Get support: Having a good support system, whether it’s friends, family, or a support group, can be an enormous help with staying accountable and on track with your diet/exercise plan. If you don’t have the right people nearby, reach out to trusted people online.
Be flexible: Allow yourself some flexibility in your diet, such as occasional treats or deviations from your plan. This can help you avoid feeling deprived and prevent binge eating.
Find healthy alternatives: Find healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. Is there something else you can snack on to satisfy cravings? Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Stay active: Regular exercise can help you stay committed to your diet and improve your overall health and fitness, as well as your serotonin levels.
If you’re time-stressed and you can find something fun that is part of your day (such as walking or riding your bike somewhere you need to go, or doing a job that needs doing in the garden), that can be an easier way to get your daily exercise than shelling out for a gym membership, though that works for some people too.
Stay positive: A positive attitude and mindset can go a long way in helping you stick to your diet. Stay focused on your goals and the benefits you will reap from following a healthy diet. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Reward yourself: Treat yourself to something you enjoy, such as a massage or a night out or an exciting trip, when you reach a diet or fitness milestone.
Remember, just like anything worth doing, it takes time and effort to change habits and stick to a diet or new exercise plan. Don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Just get back on track and continue working towards your goals.
What matters is your overall direction, not a few bumps and detours along the way. With persistence and the right strategies, you can stick to your diet and achieve your health and fitness goals. Good luck!