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Watch: Six tips for sticking to your diet

Belfast personal trainer and nutritionist Alan Waterman shares his tips for keeping your diet on track

By Alan Waterman

Ever find yourself falling off the wagon?

It’s the cry of the serial dieter: the one’s who always find themselves on and back off diets, rarely with any long-term weight-loss success.

But why does it happen, and what can we do to help keep ourselves on track?

Check out my top six tips for improving your ability to stick to your diet:

1. Avoid extremes

By pushing to very low calorie intake or trying to adopt certain practices which will cause us to struggle to keep our appetite under control, we will find ourselves much more challenged to stick to our diet for any significant period of time. The more extreme our methods, the less sustainable the diet and the higher the risk we’ll find ourselves breaking it.

2. Personalise it

The more geared towards our own personal preferences our diet is, the greater the likelihood we’ll want to continue following it. Basing it on the foods we actually enjoy eating, an eating schedule which is convenient for us and which takes into account all our likes and dislikes will help to fully personalise our diets and improve our chances of adhering to them.

3. Be realistic

Setting unrealistic goals will decrease our desire to stick to our diets, because we’ll likely feel that our diet is not succeeding if it’s not producing those ambitious results. We have to acknowledge that achieving change takes time, and that by trying to rush it often sets us up for failure. Aiming to lose between 0.5 – 2lbs a week is, in most cases, the most realistically sustainable approach, albeit a slower rate than many would wish to see.

4. Get your sleep

Aiming to prioritize our sleep as much as possible can make a huge difference to our ability to keep our appetite in check. Reduced sleep impacts our cravings and hunger, which can easily affect our ability to stick to our diet, and lead us to taking in more calories than we otherwise would. Although the recommended 7-9 hours may not always be realistic, depending on our situation, we should aim to fall as close to those guidelines as possible.

5. Be flexible

Have no wiggle room within your diet?

Beware - rigid type diet approaches, where we become highly restrictive of certain foods and practices, can push us dangerously close to disordered eating, and even encourage binge-type behaviours. It’s also not realistic to expect that we will be able to constantly resist our cravings or avoid eating out, so rather than seeing either as reasons to quit our diets, we should learn how to incorporate them on a moderated basis.

6. Watch your food environment

When left to willpower, we really don’t stand a chance. If we have easy access to foods we know we’re prone to overeating, we will eventually give in. Keeping our food environment as 'friendly' as possible by limiting our access to those types of foods reduces our ability to overeat them, making it much easier to stick to our normal diet structure.

If you want more tips on how to get the very most out of your diet and exercise, download my free guide to everything you need to know here.

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