Eating healthy is a challenge that many of us struggle with on a daily basis. You’ve found yourself committing to a diet for the tenth time this year, but the likelihood that you’ll stray after only a week is high. You eventually find that you’re setting unrealistic standards for yourself and end up feeling frustrated. How can you fight that urge to stray from your goals and stay the course? Here are a few helpful tips!
Don’t Quit Cold Turkey
One of the biggest faux pas individuals make when it comes to eating healthy is starting a diet completely out of the blue with little preparation, and making a complete switch from unhealthy eating practices to entirely new, healthy eating choices.
While this is admirable, the mindset you’re in when you start almost never sustains. Taking on too much too fast leads to frustration rather quickly. Implementing positive eating habits is a process, and should therefore be taken on step by step. In an extreme example, if you rely on fast food for dinner every night, cutting it out of your life without gradually weaning yourself off will leave you craving it, and therefore more likely to stray from your new “healthier” eating plan.
Decide what small changes you want to make and gradually implement them into your new habits.
Don’t Deny Your Cravings
Cravings are common, especially when you begin to deny yourself the food choices you used to enjoy. However, it’s common amongst dieters to completely deny themselves any such luxuries, which only builds the craving more, resulting in a huge deterrent from your healthy eating journey down the road.
For this reason, you should moderately satisfy cravings as they come up. The key word here is moderation. An entire bag of chips isn’t ideal, but a small handful with be more helpful than harmful in the long-run.
Gradually Decrease Serving Sizes
Another mistake actual diets make is drastically cutting back on the amount of calories consumed on a daily basis. If you were eating upwards of 4,000 calories a day, immediately cutting that down to 1,200 calories a day is unrealistic and incredibly unsustainable.
If you’re looking to cut back on your serving sizes, do so in small steps. Perhaps you decrease the amount of starches you eat with dinner and increase your vegetable intake. It’s important to slowly and steadily cut back on unhealthy components of your diet while simultaneously adding in healthier options.
Increase Your Water Intake
Feeling hungry when dieting is common, so in the interest of cutting out unwanted snacking, you should supplement your healthy meal plan with increased water intake. Not only is water a key component of any healthy diet, but it’s also essential to keeping your hunger in check.
Men should be drinking about 15.5 cups of water a day and women should be drinking 11.5 cups of water a day. If you’re currently falling well below that threshold, know that you’re not alone, and that increasing your intake will be beneficial to you in several areas.
Stop Purchasing Unhealthy Items
Finally, it’s time to reign in your grocery list. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality really does work when it comes to healthy eating. If you have a habit of constantly stocking the pantry with unhealthy snack foods, removing them from your shopping list fixes the problem at the source.
Healthy eating is not always easy, but it’s not impossible. With some dedication and realistically setting goals, you can get to where you want to be faster than you think. Utilize these tips to ensure that you not only implement your healthy eating habits in a way that’s effective, but that you also stay the course for the long haul.