Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy. It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of disease. Yet despite these benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging. Here are 14 ways to stick to a healthy diet.
1. Start With Realistic Expectations
Eating a nutritious diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss. However, it’s important to set realistic expectations. For example, if you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to achieve better health may backfire. Researchers found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to drop out of a weight loss program within 6–12 months.
2. Think About What Really Motivates You
Remembering why you’re making healthy choices can help you stay on course. Making a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier can be helpful. Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you need a reminder.
3. Keep Unhealthy Foods Out of the House
It’s difficult to eat healthy if you’re surrounded by junk foods. If other family members want to have these foods around, try keeping them hidden rather than on countertops. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here. Having food on display in various areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods.
4. Don’t Have an “All or Nothing” Approach
A major roadblock to achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle is black-and-white thinking. One common scenario is that you have a few unhealthy appetizers at a party, decide that your diet is ruined for the day, and proceed to overindulge in unhealthy foods. Instead of considering the day ruined, try putting the past behind you and choosing healthy, unprocessed foods that contain protein for the remainder of the party. This will help you feel full and satisfied rather than stuffed and frustrated. A few off-plan choices make very little difference in the long run, as long as you balance them with healthy foods.
5. Carry Healthy Snacks
Sticking to a healthy diet can be tough when you’re away from home for extended periods. When you get too hungry on the go, you may end up grabbing whatever is available. This is often processed food that doesn’t really satisfy hunger and isn’t good for you in the long run. Having healthy high-protein snacks on hand can help keep your appetite in check until you’re able to have a full meal. Some examples of good, portable snacks are almonds, peanuts and jerky. Also consider filling a small cooler with hard-boiled eggs, cheese or Greek yogurt.