How To Stick to a Diet
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Each new year, or new month, or new week, you make a commitment to eat better, but by the end of (whatever time period) it is, you find you’ve missed the mark again. It’s frustrating. The battle to stick to a diet and lose weight can lead you to try numerous different diet methods and fads, and end up feeling defeated.
Some people, however, seem to be naturally programmed with the required willpower to stay the course. No matter what, these people pass up cake on birthdays and say “no thanks” to additional cocktails. Are these people just lucky, born with genes that make them particularly determined to be healthy?
Maybe. But a more likely conclusion is that they simply found a method of eating that works for them and fits with their lifestyle. You can find this type of unicorn, too, with a few simple tips.
Let’s talk about what dieting is, why it’s so hard to stick with one, and how you can finally find the willpower to eat healthfully.
What Does Dieting Even Mean?
Many of us grew up watching older family members “go on a diet.” Whether mom wanted to lose a few pounds after the holidays or an older brother needed to trim up for wrestling, our relatives taught us that dieting meant something temporary; a quick fix designed to make you thinner.
In reality, a diet isn’t about losing weight. Everyone, in fact, is on a diet. A diet simply refers to what you eat each day. You can be on an all fast-food diet, although we definitely wouldn’t recommend it.
A healthy diet serves several purposes:
- To keep your body healthy. Your diet should provide your body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to keep your cells and organs functioning properly.
- Give you energy. Your diet should contain enough macronutrients to keep you energetic and fuel your body so you can complete the daily tasks you need to.
- Support your lifestyle. Whether you are extremely active or sedentary, your diet should reflect such.
If a diet is made to keep you feeling good and healthy, why is it so hard to stick to a good and healthy one?
Why Is It So Hard To Stick to a Diet?
There are numerous reasons why it can seem hard to stick to a diet.
The first reason, we’ve already covered. Our mindset. Normally, we tell ourselves that a “diet” means we have to lose weight. We see a diet as a temporary fix when what we need is a permanent solution.
It’s also difficult to stick to a diet when convenience foods are so readily available. In the 1950s and 1960s, TV dinners became all the rage. More families had two parents that worked outside of the home, and the tv dinner was a fast and convenient alternative to cooking a full meal at the end of a long day.
Convenience foods (as well as fast foods) are generally filled with trans fats and preservatives that can cripple a healthy eating plan, and consequently, cause you to pack on unnecessary pounds.
It’s no secret, we’re a generation addicted to sugar. Dietary guidelines released in the mid-1970s told us to avoid fat because it was making us sick. Unfortunately, that created an immediate turn to refined carbohydrates.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates are often used as preservatives in foods that aren’t even created to be sweet, like plain bread.
7 Tips To Stick to a Diet
Despite these factors, it is possible for the average Joe or Jane to stick to a diet successfully. Here are seven tips to help you if you’re struggling.
1. Don’t Wait
Most of us want to select a date in the future when we’ll start eating healthfully. Whether that date is the new year, the first day of the week, or even after a social event like a birthday or wedding, we tend to put off our goals until the timing seems more fitting.
The reality is, the timing is never perfect. After the wedding, after the new year, and after the beginning of the week, there will be more weddings, more new years, and more new weeks, each with their own set of challenges.
Start your healthy eating now; even in the middle of the day. There’s no better time to make a change, and every small change counts.
2. Change Your Mindset
Stop thinking about your diet as something you are forced to do to achieve weight loss and start seeing it as something you choose to do to benefit your body. When you see your diet as your personal choice, and as a decision you’re making to keep healthy, it will be easier to make better choices.
It’s also good to avoid an “end” date. In other words, no more dieting for the big vacation (at which time you’ll abruptly stop eating healthfully). Make your diet a lifestyle change on your own terms.
3. Make It Sustainable
The cabbage soup diet was a gimmicky meal plan in the 1990s claiming that substituting a bowl of cabbage soup for lunch and dinner would help you shed pounds. Many people found success with it and lost weight… and eventually put the weight back on when they decided they couldn’t live the rest of their lives on cabbage soup alone.
Your diet should be realistic and sustainable. It isn’t likely you’ll ever be able to drink replacement meal shakes every day of your life either. Those can be good tools to integrate into your diet, but they aren’t sustainable.
Make sure your diet fits with your lifestyle. If you’re extremely busy and know you’ll never be able to cook dinner on Wednesday nights, for example, plan to order healthy take-out or pick up a quick, fresh meal from the store.
4. Stay Ahead of Your Hunger
Being hungry can derail your healthy eating plan quickly. When your blood sugar drops, you instinctively look for food to “fix” it. Planning for your hunger means having healthy options on hand that are easily prepared so you don’t find yourself munching on whatever’s hiding in the employee break room or the back of your pantry.
5. Eat to Thrive, Not to Count Calories
While it’s true that a caloric deficit helps you lose weight, research shows that calorie counting often misses the dietary mark. Because every person and every body is different, counting calories alone isn’t enough to keep you healthy for the rest of your life.
Not only is calorie counting keeping us unhealthy, but it’s also easy to become fatigued by keeping track of your caloric intake. It can be beneficial for a short period of time but it’s likely not sustainable long term.
6. Make Small Changes
Too often we are tempted to dive headfirst into a new diet, without ever considering if it’s safe, nutritious, sustainable, or effective. These diets may be incredibly complicated, require scales for portioning your food, or even require that you eat at specific times during the day.
Research shows if your diet is overly complicated, you are more likely to give up. Most of us aren’t starting a new diet with an empty schedule and plenty of free time. Attempting to cram dietary rules and restrictions onto an already full plate can set you up for failure.
7. Use a Supplement
There’s no magic pill that will melt away pounds or give you an extra helping of willpower, but you can take a supplement that supports your body while you change your eating habits. A multivitamin can help fill in dietary gaps, but for total health and wellness support, you need something that works on the cellular level.
It may seem counterintuitive to take a supplement that contains fat, especially if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, but pentadecanoic acid has health benefits that can help support your metabolism and even support proper appetite.*
This acid, also known as C15:0, dives deep into your cells to strengthen them and help them stay protected against external stressors.* C15:0 also boosts mitochondrial function by up to 45%, helping encourage your metabolism.*
C15:0 also binds with special receptors in your body, called PPARs. These receptors control functions like mood, sleep, and even appetite. With proper appetite support, you may truly feel you have a newfound sense of willpower.
Fatty15 is the once-a-day supplement that contains pure FA15™, the pure powder, vegan-friendly version of C15:0. Just one capsule a day can support your cellular health and give you better success while you change your eating habits.*
With a few simple changes and a tiny little capsule, you can become one of those “lucky” people who just seem to be able to make healthy choices naturally.
Sources:Science Reveals Why Calorie Counts Are All Wrong|Scientific American
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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