Ways to Make Your Diet a Lifestyle
Ever tried a diet only to give it up a few days later? Want to know how to make it stick?
THE STORY: Many of us have tried different diets in our lives only to find that we have trouble sticking to them. The problem? You need to think of the way you eat as a lifestyle, not a diet.
WAYS TO SUSTAIN HEALTHY EATING AS A LIFESTYLE: The problem with a lot of diets is that you’re depriving yourself of foods you like or cutting so far back on food and calories you’re likely to crash. Neither are sustainable ways of living. Turn a diet into a healthy lifestyle instead with these tips!
DO have realistic expectations about your eating and weight loss. If you go into a healthier eating lifestyle expecting that you’ll automatically never eat anything unhealthy again or that you’ll lose 20 pounds in a week, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t live up to your expectations you’re more likely to give up and quit on the healthy life.
DON’T give up your favorite foods. Totally depriving yourself of your favorite foods will virtually guarantee you won’t stick to healthy eating patterns. At some point, you’ll get tired of missing your favorite foods and end up bingeing them. What’s more, it’s been shown that having a small treat every day can help you stick to your diet. So instead of deprivation, have smaller portions of your favorite foods or add healthy items to your favorite unhealthy meals (like veggies to pasta to bulk it up).
DO start with small changes. If you want permanent change, it’s better (and easier) to start with tiny tweaks. Trying to change everything at once will get overwhelming quickly. Instead, set small goals of healthy changes you’d like to make. Drink an extra glass of water a day or switch your fast food lunch for a salad. The changes will add up and stick.
DON’T forget to eat a good breakfast. If you start the day with something like sugary cereals, you’re automatically off to a not great start - you’ll be hungry again in no time and will be more likely to overeat later on. Instead, make sure your first meal of the day is well-balanced AND contains plenty of protein to help maintain stable blood sugar.
DO practice mindful eating. How often do you eat in front of the television or computer? How often does doing that result in you overeating? Taking time to pay attention to what you’re eating and enjoy your food while appreciating its ability to nourish you will increase your chances of making successful, long-term changes.
THE WRAP-UP: Changing your lifestyle rather than going on a diet will enable you to make healthier choices and maintain any changes you decide to make. It’s far better than depriving yourself of things you love or making yourself miserable! If you need help getting started, check our menus for special diets to find what fits best for you.