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last updated February 25, 2021

How to stick to your diet (without being miserable)

by Rob Arthur

Studies have shown dietary adherence to be a critical component of improving and maintaining health and body composition, more important even than relative amounts of dietary carbohydrate, fat, or protein (1,2,3,4,5).

Yet, we seem to have a harder time keeping up healthier eating habits than we do giving up alcohol, cocaine, heroin, smoking, or gambling (6).

Let’s explore some strategies you might use to more consistently practice your healthier eating habits.

One challenge you might face, particularly if losing weight, is increased appetite (7).

Dialing up your protein and fiber intake might help with physical hunger by promoting satiety (8,9).

Your thoughts and emotions, such as how you react to food triggers, may also be obstacles you encounter (10).

A regular mindfulness practice may help prevent impulsive and binge eating and encourage self-control (11,12,13,14,15).

Cultivating self-awareness might also help with self-control, as well as making better decisions (16,17).

Building self-compassion can help you find and maintain motivation, particularly when you make mistakes, experience setbacks, or want to give up or quit (18,19).

Consider seeking regular coaching or guidance, learning to identify and address potential challenges, and recruiting social support (20).

Staying flexible and aligning your new eating habits with your preferences may also help you stay consistent (21).

Planning your meals and keeping a food log or journal are other tactics you might try (22,23).

Finally, rather than “going on a diet” – a short-term mindset that relies on willpower and often fails in the long-term – aim for building habits you can make part of your lifestyle with less conscious effort (24).

Don’t do this thinking you’ll love yourself once you reach some shape or size.

Do this because you are already worthy of that love.

Worthy of feeling awesome every single day.

Worthy of being as healthy as possible.

Right now, as you are, you are worthy.

This will take time, effort, and patience.

You’ll take steps forward.

You’ll take steps backward.

Keep taking steps.

You’ve got this.


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