The six simple ways to stick to your diet
Sticking to a healthy diet and a consistent exercise regime is as tough as completing a Rubik's Cube with your eyes shut – but there are ways you can make it easier for yourself
Here six ways to improve your dietary adherence:
1) Plan and prep your meals
A rookie error many make is turning up to work without any lunch – as much as you tell yourself you’ll buy a salad and a piece of fruit, you’ll always opt for that sandwich meal deal.
Meal prep is essential for sticking to your diet – and it doesn’t have to be the same boring chicken, rice and broccoli like the people on Instagram make you believe. Transformation specialists Ultimate Performance include some top tips in their book Body Transformation Meal Plan Design:
- Write a weekly food list so you don’t run out of meal inspiration
- Do your food shop on a Sunday so you have a fridge full of food for the week
- Prep your lunches for work the night before
- Make sure you’re making a variety of different meals – no one wants to eat the same thing every day
- Plan your dinners so you have the ingredients in the fridge when you’re ready to cook it
2) Pick your preference
Gone are the days when carbs and fats are looked at like the devil – they’re both now understood to be essential to a healthy diet.
Some people prefer to a high carb diet, and others high fat – find what works for you and adjust it accordingly to your lifestyle. If you’re more active, then try to keep your intake of carbs high as you’ll be needing the energy.
An example breakfast from Ultimate Performance is poached eggs and avocado on sourdough toast.
This ticks all your boxes. It comes in at 380 calories, complete with 20 grams of muscle-building protein, 20 grams of healthy fat and just 30 grams of carbs.
It can also be cooked in under 10 minutes - vital if you're running late in the morning.
3) Find your favourite meal frequency
Whether it’s the standard three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) or six smaller feeds – there is no right or wrong. If you’re a busy person then maybe three meals works best, and if you work from home or are more active five to six more frequent meals could work for you.
What's important is hitting your target number of calories and macros - proteins, carbs and fats.
4) Engage in other fun activities
Don’t let your life revolve around food or the gym – make sure you have other ways of keeping active that you enjoy. Whether it’s football, swimming or walking the dog – any activity is good for your health.
5) Allow for flexibility
Cheat meals here and there are okay. Try and aim for the 80/20 approach, where 80% of your diet is clean and 20% of the fun stuff.
The stricter you are with the diet the more likely you are to cave and have a massive binge, so go out for dinner on the weekend or indulge in a cheeky mid-week donut - it won’t set you back if it’s in moderation!
6) Celebrate every win
No achievement is too small when it comes to health - whether it’s losing a pound in a month or a stone in a week. Anything is better than nothing!
But it’s important to focus on more than the number on the scales – celebrate trying new foods, fitting into old clothes or building your own confidence. After all, any reason to celebrate is a good one.
Follow these six rules and watch your diet become your lifestyle.
Read more from JOE's Ditch The Dad Bod series.