Want to lose weight? A growing body of research is revealing that it’s not just your diet that has an effect on your weight loss, but your ability to adhere to your diet that makes the difference. While every dieter is different, there are many tips and idea that could benefit any group of individuals looking to lose weight and keep the pounds off. Find motivation to stick to your diet with these 7 best practices:
Keep a Food Journal – self-monitoring via a food journal or food diary can support your diet in more ways than you may think. In addition to helping you log what you eat daily (along with calories and nutrients), a food journal helps you to track your craving triggers and meal successes. Did a tight work deadline lead you to snack more than usual? Is the kale and quinoa recipe you tried a new favorite worth repeating? A more thoughtful approach to dieting that involves reflection and analysis could be your key to success.
Learn New Cooking Techniques – a big part of “dieting” that people miss is the passion and discovery that comes with cooking one’s own meals. The more you control what you eat, the healthier your entire lifestyle will become and that means learning to cook more for yourself. If you’re lacking culinary skills, don’t fret. Local cooking classes, online tutorials, and cookbooks can help you master some of the simplest and most effective techniques like steaming and roasting vegetables, creating delicious whole food smoothies, baking foods instead of frying them, and so on.
Get a Cookbook – on the note of cooking, invest in a plant-based food cookbook which offers a bounty of recipes that fall in line with your dietary needs. Cookbooks offer both recipes and cooking guidelines as well as menu inspiration, best kitchen practices, pantry suggestions, and more. Plant-based cookbooks are more likely than others to offer you meal ideas rich with veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, legumes, and other healthy components.
Weigh Yourself Daily – stay accountable to all the effort you put in to your new diet by tracking your weight loss progress daily. Record your weight to establish a trend of loss over time, and share progress with friends, family, and partners to stay motivated and energized. Share photos of your favorite meals you cooked on social media, and use wearable fitness technology or apps to accompany your data set with workout and health info, i.e. steps walked, blood pressure, etc.
Change How You Eat – instead of scarfing down your dinner to get to dessert, take more time and care when you eat. Start slowly, savor each bite, acknowledge the food you are eating, and drink plenty of water during your meal. This more mindful approach to consumption doesn’t just let you enjoy your mealtime more, it also creates a habit of eating awareness that guards against mindless snacking
Address Hunger – train your body in the difference between feeling hungry and craving food, and learn to treat hunger as less of an emergency and more of a fleeting discomfort. Even though your diet should incorporate regular meals and healthy foods, you may find times where you experience hunger and that’s ok. Find ways to distract yourself from it and manage it – drink a glass of water, chew gum, brush your teeth, or go for a walk. Acknowledging other feelings that disguise themselves as hunger (i.e. anger, sadness, boredom, etc) will also give you more control over how you respond to them without hitting the snack shelf.
Do a Little Research – planning on going out with a friend for lunch? One trip to a restaurant does not have to undo your entire diet. A little research can go a long way in helping you suggest a restaurant that offers you more diet-appropriate options. Visit a restaurant’s website to view their menu or use free apps like Yelp or Zomato to check out restaurant information, menus, and patron reviews.
Diet adherence may also be benefitted by tailoring a diet more to your baseline dietary preferences. Stringent calorie-counting, elimination, and food limitations may benefit you in the short-run, but learning moderation and revamping your lifestyle with generally healthier habits will be your best option for hitting long-term weight goals.