Best Tips for Sticking to your DIet – Keep calm Prepare for the unexpected
No one likes the idea of a diet and because of this, many people falter on their way to getting their dream bodies. Even when armed with all the right information, it’s still very easy to get discouraged about the whole thing and quit.
So here are a couple of things I’ve found that will help you stick with it.
You may not need all of them but some might scream out to you as a good idea and if that’s all it takes to keep you on path, that’s good enough.
Prepare for the Unexpected
In my last post, I went through the pitfalls of not having a plan in place but let’s assume you do have a well thought out plan at your disposal.
You’ve got your diet regime all set up and you’re ready to go with all the motivation in the world.
Life will no doubt always get in the way of you sticking to it.
You are at your weakest temptation-wise when you’re stressed and are out of a routine.It’s at this point, people usually find themselves in a situation they don’t expect to be in and their diet subsequently goes haywire.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that Stressed Backwards is Desserts, I think not.
Typical examples of this I’ve experienced are
- There is a road accident on your back from work and you don’t have time to do your normal groceries. You opt to get a takeaway instead. Long day bottle of wine
- You miss a train/bus/plane and you now have some time to kill. Boredom eating
- It’s someone’s leaving do in the office and they’ve brought in pizza and cake for everyone to indulge in. Free food celebration indulgence
- You get a call from your kid’s school saying they’re not feeling well and you need to pick them up.They need some comfort food and you indulge as well
- Your friends are visiting for the weekend and you opt for a big night out, drinks munchies and some comfort breakfast the next day. Catch up glut fest
- You run out of supplies of a crucial ingredient for a meal you wanted to make and opt for something quick and simpler. Inconvenience binge
- You’re away on a work trip/holiday in a nice hotel/restaurant and you see something nice on the menu you haven’t had one in some time. Relaxation splurge
- You’ve traveled somewhere and they serve something you can’t get back at home so you indulge. Rare find pig out
- You’re either busy with office meetings and/or work and you end up missing lunch, making you super hungry by the time you get home. Long day couch potato time
- You notice something in your fridge is about to go off and have some of that instead. Economist tuck in.
These are all stereotypical hot spots were your will power it gone to shot and your diet is the last thing you can think about. But these are small ones.you have all the normal day to day stuff like,
- The Weather
Even the smallest thing like having a sink full of dirty dishes is enough to take you off course.
If you find yourselves in situations like this, and you truly can’t get out of it, you need a medium-level compromise at hand, something quick and easy you can prepare and account for later on during the week perhaps.Something that isn’t completely alien to what you had planned for that day (i.e. a 600 calorie meal instead of a 400 calorie meal etc).
Carry an extra apple at work, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, perhaps pack a spare meal to take in with you just in case etc. Whatever you do, don’t just accept that the situation you’re in gives you absolutely no choice over you’re actions. You can always do something that would make compromising on your diet that bit easier than a opting for full on crash.
The key here is damage limitation.
Tackling Cognitive Dissonance
Saying this though, we can’t always prepare for the unexpected but it isn’t the unexpected that makes us diverge from our diets, it’s cognitive dissonance (basically the little red devil that sits on your shoulder).
To be fair, the odd excursion from a plan will make very little difference overall. It’s the consistent excuses we end up finding, whether legitimate or not, that will completely derail a diet plan. Most of them aren’t really due to external mitigating circumstances but from our ability to make them viable excuses.
Cognitive Dissonance, the ability to reason your way into actions, which you know are detrimental to your goals, is a POWERFUL NEGATIVE TRAIT we all have wired into us.
While we can’t always have a control of our surroundings, we can control this.
The best way I find counter it is to have a fail safe plan in place. Just like how Batman has a secret plan to take down the Justice League if they ever went rogue, you too should have a plan in place to counter your mind incase you are ever faced with a diet wobbly.
The key here is that this is a very personal thing and you know best, what is likely to throw you off course. This isn’t the time to lie to yourself and pretend you’re invulnerable, just be honest and you’ll find this process is more useful.
So if you already know what is likely to take you off course, why not put barriers in place to stop it.
- Putting up Motivational quotes
- Making a bet with someone
- Checking your Progress statistics (weight, body fat percentage, progress pics)
- Having quotes you recite
- Looking at a key goal date before you eat each meal
- Taking picture of your food or yourself before you eat
- Deciding whether you are truly hungry before splurging
- Giving yourself a fine
- Committing to some more exercise later on in the day
- Public ridicule (negative reinforcement type activities)
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is something that works for you and you incorporate it in to tackle your own personal cognitive dissonance.
The first time is always the hardest but with each time, it will get easier and soon you will be ready for whatever life throws at you. Come rain or shine, you will get to your desired goal by your target date.