We're always looking for ways to optimise our existing nutrition plans, yet it can be challenging when it comes to sticking with one for longer than a few months once the novelty wears off – this is especially true for neophytes. The key to achieving long-term success with a diet is to make sure it’s not excessively strict so that it’s actually feasible. Follow these quick tips to work some sustainability into your diet today!
Be kind to yourself
Diets that are torturous and make you miserable won’t last long. If you want to ensure the longevity of your diet, ensure that it’s something feasible and doesn’t ruin your daily life. Diets that cut certain foods out completely are almost impossible to maintain in the long run, so be wary about those. Apart from being realistic with your expectations, being kind to yourself also involves allowing yourself cheat days. We’re all familiar with that terrible feeling of watching our friends chow down on some sizzling fried food while we down our sadness in a bowl of salad. That kind of feeling isn’t going to give you much motivation to keep to your diet in the long run! Of course, cheat meals should be earned, so when you know you’re going to dine out, work a demanding training session into your schedule and be sure to get back on track the following day.
Break your diet down by the macros
An effective and manageable way to plan your diet is to break down the types of food groups you need to eat by percentages, following a pie chart. For instance, 30% fats, 30% carbohydrates and 40% protein make up a pretty manageable diet that can serve as a good starting point. There are plenty of apps out there that can help you track your macros conveniently (remember that these are only approximations at best), so you can measure your progress and adjust the proportions according to your needs. It’s important to note that carbohydrates deserve a place in your diet, contrary to what many people on diets may say. If you’re exercising vigourously, carbohydrates are absolutely necessary to give you the energy you need. Choose complex carbohydrates that that come with a good deal of dietary fibre and other nutrients, with examples being brown rice and sweet potatoes
Quality of food > type of food
Aside from adhering to the guidelines of the specific diet you’re under, the quality of the food you’re consuming also matters. Eating fresh produce and skipping dried or excessively processed food plays a significant role in ensuring that you’re getting the quality food that you deserve. A general rule when you’re grocery shopping is to buy from the outer aisles as this is where all the fresh produce usually is, and skip the inner aisles which sell pre-packaged food.
Keep track of your nutritional intake
While obsessive calorie-counting is mentally unhealthy, it may be a good idea for you to keep a food journal of what you’re eating every day for at least the first week of your diet. Tracking every single food item you eat may make your numbers look uglier than you want, but being honest with yourself is important if you want to achieve long-term success.
Diets don’t have to ruin meal times for you. A successful diet may be somewhat restrictive but can also be respectful of your need for the occasional treat. Achieving this is possible and when you combine that with an eating habit that's mindful of your body's nutritional needs, it'll no longer feel like a “diet” to you!