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Watching your weight: 8 ways to sustain a healthy diet

Sustainability is a real buzzword in the fitness industry at the minute - but how is it achieved?

By Alan Waterman

Over the years, there have been endless training and diet packages which offer a quick fix. You could "get the body you want" in as little as 8, 10, or 12 weeks.

The problem is that these approaches rarely provide any lasting results. A couple of weeks of looking great before you start to see all that progress disappear, all because the practices during your 12-week routine were too extreme to be sustainable long-term (ever wonder why those  packages don't last longer than just a couple of months?)

Lasting results come from building daily habits which shape your lifestyle, and which you can sustain day in, day out. The habits which give you results are the same ones which help keep them.

So, how do we start to build those positive dietary habits and reshape our lifestyle? Here are 8 of my top tips to help you do just that:

1. Make small changes over time

The habit building process takes time, and it doesn't happen overnight. Instead of trying to implement many changes all at once (which is much more difficult to sustain,) focus on the process of developing just one positive habit which sticks before looking at building another.

Remember, this isn't a quick fix- we need to be willing to invest time into achieving our long-term results.

2. Eat a diet based around the foods you like

Trying to stick to a diet filled with foods you genuinely dislike is setting you up for disaster.

Kale might be a superfood, but if you can't stand it then don't eat it! Instead, build your diet based on the foods you enjoy- you'll find it much, much easier to sustain.

3. Control your food environment

It maybe sounds obvious, but you'll have a harder time eating junk if you have more difficulty getting hold of it.

Storing it in less convenient places, or making better alternatives more accessible can make a big difference in how readily you'll reach for it.

4. Work at breaking your bad habits

Have you, for example, ever found yourself mindlessly snacking in front of the TV, even when you're not hungry?

We often find that weight-gain has been as a result of developing bad habits over time. Instead of sitting in watching TV, which triggers that notion to snack, substituting it for something as simple as going for a walk removes that trigger, and you can often find yourself replacing it with something much more productive.

5. Fit your meals around your daily routine

There's a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to how many meals to eat each day to achieve your goals, but truth is, consuming 6-8 small meals has been shown to provide no more benefit than eating 3-4 large ones.

Some people have more time to eat than others, so structure your eating pattern and meal timing around your own daily routine, including however many meals to best suit your schedule.

6. Preparation is key!

Struggling with diet consistency as the week goes on? Consider establishing a weekly food/meal prep routine.

This can not only help to ensure that you have easy access to the foods you want to base your diet around, but also means you're less likely to make poor "spur of the moment" food choices.

7. Don't completely cut out junk food

When I say to eat the foods you like, I mean to eat all the foods you like.

Cutting out your favourite treat foods can lead to binge cycles, and is much harder to maintain long-term. Instead of cutting them out, practice being able to include them in moderated amounts on a daily basis - it's a much easier way to control those cravings.

8. Make things as convenient as possible

Some people find that the time investment into prepping or cooking nutritious meals is too much, so struggle to adhere to their diet.

Consider making things as easy as possible for yourself by including as many convenient or minimal-prep foods as possible.

Frozen, ready-chopped, tinned, or packaged versions of your favourite healthy foods are quick and easy options for throwing together meals when tight for time.

Want to discover more ways to make lasting changes for long-term results? Make sure to check out the Facebook page for daily tips and advice as to how to help you achieve those goals.

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