Your First Time on a Diet: Tricks to Stay on It

Dieting doesn't have to be an excruciating experience if you follow a few simple rules

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Diets are not easy to follow. You are asked to give up almost everything you like to eat and drink in exchange for the promise you will see results in a few weeks. The brain is not wired this way. It wants to see improvements immediately. It's no wonder many people give up.

The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you intake. Thankfully, making this a habit is totally achievable without feeling like “you can’t take it anymore.”

You don’t have to be 100 percent determined 100 percent of the time to wait it out and see the benefits. Motivation has a natural pace and, like any cycle, it slows down sometimes. This is not a letdown or a catastrophe. There is no reason to give up. Rather, take a break from dieting and exercising for a day or two.

Overcoming challenges on your way to reaching your ideal weight and measurements is inevitable. But you can ensure you’ll get there by incorporating a few tricks.

Eat breakfast

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Isn’t this great? The way to lose weight is actually to eat. The key is what you’re eating. Make it a healthy and nutritious meal so you have energy throughout the day and don’t get hungry. Studies show that skipping breakfast makes you famished later, causing you to eat more than usual. Include foods that are high on fiber and protein. Now is also the time to eat some healthy fats and carbs.

Think about it

Are you really hungry? Ask yourself before you reach for that donut and be honest. If you are, your body will not be craving refined sugar; it will want a real meal like roasted chicken with vegetables.

Don’t forget to move

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You can get in shape just by walking. It’s important to keep your body moving so you burn more calories. A good trick to know when you’re exercising is to not rest for more than 30-40 seconds. This will also increase the number of scorched calories. That’s why many personal trainers recommend circuits. They are one of the fitness trends for 2016.

Eat vegetables first

This is a good trick to keep in mind when you are watching your portions. Veggies have lots of fiber and protein, which make you feel full. As a result, you are not likely to overeat. The best kind to have before a meal is anything green – spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Skip foods high on carbs after lunch

The first kind of calories your body burns are those coming from carbohydrates. Fat gets used last. Make your body go through its carbs reserve early so fot the rest of the day it uses calories from fat as energy.

Take a walk

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Now that you’ve eaten, take a walk to get your digestive system going and burn off some of the calories you just consumed.

Drink a lot of water

People often confuse thirst with hunger. Avoid making this simple mistake by drinking water before it's mealtime. You’ll also feel fuller so you won’t end up eating a lot of food.

Eat several times a day

This is not a mistake. Eating four smaller meals a day as opposed to two big ones is a much better option. You consume fewer calories because you’re not starving at any point. Your blood sugar levels are steady throughout the day as well.

Bring your own lunch

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A study from 2012 published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people on a diet, who bought lunch even one day of the week, lost an average of five fewer pounds. Make sure you eat protein-rich foods. This nutrient is what tells your brain that you’re full. It preserves muscle mass, leading to fat burning.

Set one small goal at a time

The bigger the aim, the more time it will take to achieve. That’s why you should set a realistic but small goal. You can accomplish it much faster. Your brain will be happy because it sees results soon and you’ll stay motivated – a win-win situation.

Cheat /reward days

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This must be the most controversial concept in dieting. Nutritionists are divided. One thing they agree on is that you should not reward yourself with a lot of your favorite dessert. There are ways you can eat the sweet stuff and not gain weight, but the prizes should be something to serve as an incentive for you to keep going. Book a massage session, buy yourself new sneakers, or binge-watch Netflix, if that is what you're into. 

Expect a relapse

Sometimes people just have a bad day and need chocolate ice-cream or brownies to make it better. There is no harm in indulging once every few weeks. Don’t make it a habit and you’ll be OK. You can’t be a perfectionist. It’s not realistic so don’t let it even cross your mind.

Clean your cupboards

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to choose between a sweet late-night snack and your health. Go through your kitchen in a “spring cleaning” style. Get rid of fattening foods and junk to avoid any temptations. Replace them with yogurt and fruits.

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