How many times have you gone into a new diet, or any change, with high hopes only to crash and burn within weeks? This happens far more frequently than you realise.
Many people approach a new diet with an all-or-nothing mentality. This not only sets you up for disappointment but also makes the transition more difficult and uncomfortable from the start.
You don't have to give up everything or completely overhaul your life to see results. Small, manageable changes are usually the best approach. They also help you succeed because they are easier.
Starting a diet is the easy part; sticking to it and seeing results is the difficult part.
Here are some pointers to help you make the most of your new diet plan by understanding what to expect and how to set yourself up for success.
Tip #1: Start Small.
Begin with one or two small goals that you believe you need to work on and commit to them for two to three weeks in order to make them a habit. Once you've mastered your small goals, set some new ones. If you're still having trouble, try a different goal and different habits until something clicks.
Tip #2: Create Your Own System.
Building systems is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your long-term health and fitness goals. Systems are routines that are built into your daily life to assist you in removing obstacles and developing habits.
And the more seamless your goals are, the easier it is to stick to them and the faster you will see results.
Do you want to improve your ability to go to the gym every morning? Choose your gym clothes the night before and place them next to your bed.
Want to stop eating out every day for lunch? Set aside time each week to meal prep healthy options, or use a meal delivery service to do the work for you.
Tip #3: Stay Accurate.
You can't manage something if you don't measure it. Stop guessing how much you're eating and start tracking it with a macronutrient-friendly nutrition app.
Tracking your daily food intake, including cheat meals and alcohol, is the most effective way to hold yourself accountable and ensure you are meeting your goals. Otherwise, when it comes to nutrition, you're flying blind.
Tip #4: Manage Your Cravings.
When you start restricting something, it's human nature to crave that same thing. And the more you restrict, the more you crave — particularly sugar cravings!
Aside from sheer willpower, good nutrition is an excellent way to reduce cravings. Increase your protein intake, focus on more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, and avoid calorie restriction.
Organizing your cheat meals and learning true diet maintenance can also help. No food should ever be forbidden, especially if you want your hard work to last after you've finished dieting.
Allowing yourself small amounts of your favourite cheat foods will help you improve your relationship with them.
Schedule cheat meals ahead of time to eliminate any guilt associated with them. You don't have to overdo it to enjoy it; challenge yourself to include some favourite foods and gradually reduce your intake.
Tip #5: Sleep is Important.
You can kiss your willpower and good intentions goodbye if you aren't sleeping well or enough. Dieting already requires some self-discipline, and it is much more difficult to stick to a diet, get a good workout in, and support your health when you are tired. Muscle recovery and growth require rest as well.
Make sleep a priority by setting a bedtime and getting up at the same time every day. Remove all distractions from your bedroom, such as your cell phone, television, and light. And gradually increase your sleep time to at least 7 hours per night. It will make a huge difference.
Tip #6: Don't Rely on the Scale.
Weight fluctuations are completely normal and are not always under your control. Water retention can cause drastic swings in your body weight depending on your macronutrient intake, workouts, stress, sleep, hormones, and so on.
Not to mention that if you're gaining muscle while losing fat, the scale won't budge even if your pants are getting looser. So, rather than living and dying by the scale, track your progress in other ways.
A body fat analysis is the best way to see if your efforts are paying off. This will show you how much fat you've lost and how well your workouts are supporting lean muscle mass, resulting in a more toned appearance.
Tip #7: Be Consistent.
True change comes from consistency and patience, not perfection. Remember that your health is the result of all the decisions you've made throughout your life, not just the last meal you ate.
You are what you repeatedly do, so the more you do something, the more powerful it becomes. This is what consistency entails.
Strive to get it right most of the time rather than all of the time, and everything will fall into place.