I'm sure everyone who's clicked on this topic has tried a diet or diet(s) of some sort. Our reasons might vary but we can't deny that our nutrition intake plays a major part in the way we look and feel, and that has urged us to get on a diet for one of those reasons. However good the intentions, some of us may have experienced a less than delightful and fulfilling journey through dieting. I know many, including myself, who have been scared from the harsh experience and strict standard we put upon ourselves when diving into a new diet plan. With that in mind, I've put together these 3 tips that I hope will change your experience for the better.
1. Fit the diet around your lifestyle, not the lifestyle around the diet
A diet shouldn't take away from the good in your life, it's supposed to enhance it. So instead of sacrificing brunch with the girls and Taco Tuesdays, why not work out a diet that works around that? Love carbs but want to eat a little better? No matter how popular, the Keto diet is probably not the choice for you. Love your avo and toast every morning? Intermittent fasting is probably not for you either.
Instead of changing your whole lifestyle around your diet, start by noting down all the little things that make life great and go from there. Instead of having a Mocha in the morning, have a Cappucino with a square of dark chocolate. Instead of missing out on Friday Pizza Night, have the pizza but opt the garlic bread out for a salad instead. Focus on using food to heighten life's experiences instead of making experiences all about the food. This way getting on a diet will feel less daunting, and chances are that you'll probably end up sticking to it long term.
2. The "all or nothing" mindset
Although we often hear the phrase "progress is better than perfection", how many of us truly believe this? Who's tried to pick up a new habit, and one or two weeks down the line notice their efforts diminish and think to themselves "I might as well start again next week" or "I'll pick this up again when I'm ready"? I know I have. But yet, every time we endeavor on a new skill/habit, once again, we put all our efforts into the beginning only to find ourselves falling off the wagon again.
If there's one belief that I'd like for you to impart with, it's to "fail better". Yes, fail, fail, and fail again. Even the best of us all aren't perfect, so why are we so obsessed with getting it right the first time? Who's to say that this is the right diet for you anyway? Definitely plan ahead, but be open and honest with how you feel throughout the process, then adequately add and subtract to the diet to create a customized diet that suits you the best. (Quick tip: the best diet is the one you manage to stick to)
3. Any diet that thrives off self-determination, is the diet you'll likely fall off
It's quite common to feel like starting a diet is like holding your breath underwater, you know the timer is counting down but it gets harder and harder to hold on. When you give up and binge over the weekend or go off the rails, it often feels like we've gone so far off there's no point trying to get back on track.
A better way to plan a diet is to plan it based on practical routines. Make it so practical that it makes sense just to follow it. Not following? (pun intended)
Amy wakes up at 730am everyday, picks up coffee and a ham & cheese toastie at her local cafe on the way to work. She brings her meal prep for lunch but always feels peckish and ends up picking up a banana bread from downstairs. She wants to lose a few kilos so she's focusing on cutting out some excess calories throughout the day. How can Amy make practical changes to her routine?
Amy still wakes up at 730am every morning, instead of picking up coffee from the cafe she now makes her own coffee at home in her Keep Cup and has a hearty granola bar instead. She then has her meal prep for lunch, but she has increased her protein portions and swapped over the carb portion with high fiber carbs such as sweet potato instead of rice to keep her energized and fuller for longer. Not only has Amy cut at least 100calories from breakfast she has also cut at least 250calories from the banana bread. Simple enough?
4. Am I actually losing weight? Track it...
A simple way to know if you're making progress is to track it! Before you throw in the towel thinking that you've done this before and it's way too tiring to do on the daily, read this last tip...
If you've never tracked calories before, this term simply means that you're recording down everything you eat in a day. In weight loss terms this usually means that you're tracking your food intake to make sure that you're eating less than you're expending energy (you don't always have to be in a deficit to lose weight but we'll get into that in another post).
If you've tracked calories before, you might have experienced how annoying and obsessive daily tracking can get. However it doesn't have to be, if done right you can quite literally calculate how quickly or when you'll be able to reach your goal weight.
This is actually one of our top and first recommendations for anyone to achieve any fitness goals. Download the MyFitnessPal app onto your mobile device, there will be prompt on how you can best use the app.
Instead of tracking your calories daily, plan out your meals for the week. Input all the information into the app, and only edit them when you're deviating from that meal, are having anything extra on your plate, or having less or extra food and drinks. This way it's not only less demanding of your time, but it also serves as an accountability to yourself to follow the plan at hand.
*Reminder: the best diet plan is the one you stick to, so be kind and honest with yourself*
I hope this article was helpful to you, if it was, feel free to share it with someone else in your life that might find it helpful too. Leave us any comments or suggestions of articles you'd like us to write about.