Starting a new diet? Hooray! Whether it's a New Year's diet, a five-day cleanse, the Whole30, or a lifestyle change, you're about to embark on a challenging but rewarding journey that will have an amazing impact on so many aspects of your health.
As you likely already know, a lot of diets fail (don't shoot the messenger!). Whether you give up entirely after a few days or weeks or "cheat" on your plan more often than you stick to it, the truth of the matter is that it's much, much easier to fail a diet than it is to succeed at one. But we're not going to let you fail! That's what we're here for.
We've compiled some of the best pieces of advice we can give to you about staying on course — with these tips, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. Now let's go crush it!
Preparation Is KEY
If there's one tip we couldn't stress enough, it's preparation. In fact, with diets, it doesn't usually come down to motivation; it comes down to preparation.
Many pitfalls of a diet can be avoided with a little extra prep. No healthy options for lunch? That can be avoided by planning ahead and grocery shopping on a Sunday. Hungry in the office but there's only a bag of chips? Pack healthy snacks in your bag or keep them at your desk. No idea what to eat for dinner because you're focused on all the foods you can't eat? Try a little recipe reading.
A diet is more than a decision to eat healthy — it's a commitment to educate yourself about nutrition, stocking up on the right foods, meal prepping, and meal planning. Ahead are more tips that come back to this principle of always being prepared. Leave as little room for error as humanly possible by doing the following!
Learn the Ins and Outs of Your Diet
Are you going on an elimination diet? It's as important to know just as much about what you can eat as you do about what you cannot eat during this time. In fact, you should heavily focus on the foods you can incorporate into your meals so they're at the front and center of your mind.
Take time to read and learn recipes. Figure out what snacks you'll want to eat. Make a list of grocery staples. Become a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Find Your Favorite Meals — in Advance!
Come up with a list of your favorite meals that you'll want to make — think about three to five breakfasts, three to five lunches, and three to five dinners that you can always fall back on. What groceries will you need to make this happen? Can you do any nonperishable meal prep? Think about freezer packs of preportioned smoothie fruits and veggies, dry overnight oat mixes you can keep in jars in your cabinets, etc.
Additionally, if you travel for work and don't have the ability to cook every day, consider what restaurants you can rely on that have options that nourish your body and help you stay on course.
Meal Prep, Meal Plan, Repeat
So you've learned about your diet, you've chosen the recipes — now make sure you prep for the week! Plan out your meals and prep accordingly. Create foods that are easy to take with you to work, school, or wherever you are; tailor it to your lifestyle!
If you prepare enough, it doesn't matter how crazy your schedule is or what life throws your way — you won't be left stranded with no options.
NEVER Let Yourself Go Hungry
We're gonna go out on a limb and put a rough guesstimate out that roughly 99.99 percent of regrettable eating decisions are only made out of pure, physical hunger. If you're full and satisfied, it's a lot easier to ignore the cookies on your coworker's desk or the croissants in the kitchen, right?
Yes, you should focus on a caloric deficit if you're trying to lose weight, but letting yourself go hungry and undernourishing yourself is a recipe for disaster. It's better to have more calories from good, nutritious foods than to give up on your diet outright and grab pizza because your stomach was rumbling.
Pack. Healthy. Snacks.
In line with always being prepared and never letting yourself go hungry, make sure you have snacks in your gym bag, your purse, at your desk, in your room, in your home, and literally anywhere else you are. Choose healthy bars, fruit, nuts, or whatever you're able to eat that's in line with your plan. This will help you curb cravings and prevent that desperate noshing on candy and crackers when you're caught somewhere for a long time without food.
Drink Extra Water
We're always preaching about hydration (most of us are pretty dehydrated in general), but it's especially true when you're dieting. Sometimes when your brain thinks you're hungry, it's actually because you're thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water before each meal and sipping all day long to keep hunger pangs away and excess eating abated.
It's tough business going alone, but having a partner can make it a little easier. Whether it's a significant other, best friend, coworker, parent, sibling, or accountability partner from a weight-loss support group, having someone to lean on for emotional support, grocery advice, recipe swaps, or even just a healthy snack will make your success all the more attainable.