How do I stay on track when I diet?
If you can crack this one, your diet will 99.9% be successful, yes?
You can easily google 10 tips for staying on track and they will all be useful. But, today, I want to talk to you about habits. Because without good habits, you'll keep going back to the same way of doing things and your goals will only ever be short-term.
If you want long term success, you need to develop great habits. "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going". (Jim Rohn)
Once you've started your diet and you get as far as, "skip the takeout" and "get moving", you probably start to feel less inspired.
Studies have shown that students who had an unhealthy diet will eat even more unhealthy food during stressful exam situations. Similarly, those students who put healthy food on their plates stuck even more strictly to it during their stressful periods. So, if your stress food happens to be crisps (as in my case...) You can see where I'm going with this...
It's simply not enough to have an incredibly motivating goal in mind. We need more than just good intentions to continue to lose weight and keep it off. Once you make something a habit, your brain instantly draws on it at any time using very little energy. So if you constantly opt for the sweet dessert, your habit will also make this decision for you (almost on autopilot) in stressful situations. This is why you find yourself reaching for the chocolate or wine every time!
By focusing on your habits, you focus on the actual process. Instead of thinking you'll do 10 minutes on the crosstrainer, you'll actual get on it and use it. Instead of focusing solely on the result, you'll learn to work through the process.
And ultimately, if you keep getting on that cross trainer, you'll achieve more. Positive, long-term habits don't just improve your wellbeing, but they also lead to better results.
If you stick to even a 1% improvement in a habit and stick to it every day, did you know you'll improve by almost 3,800% a year? So your results will be almost 38% better than the year before.
So with that in mind, now we can look at those 10 ways to stay on track and see how we can make them a habit.
Turn off the TV - Turn off the TV when you are most at risk of snacking & go do something else. Do this every day - make it a habit. By making it a habit, you'll automatically start to look for something else to do when you feel like snacking.
Accept your cravings - When you crave something, my advice is to drink peppermint tea.* Not only is it great for your digestive system, it's syn-free and will help curb your cravings. Get into the habit of drinking this when you get a craving, and you'll automatically start to reach for it.
Get enough sleep -have a look on my ReJuvenate with Jan page (Facebook) for all the posts on #sleep and how to help yourself get a good night's sleep and how to make it a habit.
Join a group & get a diet buddy - Even this has to be woven into your habits or you'll likely never speak to your diet buddy long term or get the best out of your group. Everything will just fizzle out. Remember, we need more than just good intentions to continue to lose weight and keep it off.
Get moving - I'm hoping by now you'll see the benefit of doing something at the same time every day. Even something small, like walking around the block. Build it into your routine.
Reward yourself - get into the habit of booking yourself time off each month. “A pedicure or a massage is a great idea, but a bowl of ice cream defeats the purpose,” says Weinandy.
Keep a food journal - make it a habit to fill it in. Block off 15 mins each week or a few minutes each day to do this.
Track your successes - these are good for your motivation. Great habits, however, are the building blocks for achieving real progress.
Set small and large goals - Goals limit your wellbeing to a fixed scenario. Good habits give you the tools to succeed long term.
I have a power plate. Do I use it every day? No. Why? Because I haven't made it a habit to do so. Do I still snack? Yes. Why? Because when I'm reading or working, I reach for the crisps. I haven't made it a habit to keep something else in the fridge (or I don't get up to make myself some peppermint tea) so that I can grab something healthier to snack on instead.
Now I'm not suggesting you try and make all of these a habit at the same time. You need to start small and keep that as a permanent constant. Look at this picture below:
I found this on Twitter and I think it's a really great way to ensure that you stay on track. If you exercise for just 10 minutes a day, there will be days when you will feel like doing more, or doing a lot more. But when things get difficult, that 10 minutes is part of your routine (your habit) and you won't therefore ever lose it.
Imagine doing 10 minutes exercise every day for a year... that's a minimum of 36.5 hours. How much would even doing only 36.5 hours of exercise go towards your weight loss goals? Or 36.5 hours of reduced snacking? I've even included a habit tracker to get you started!
A good friend of mine says that she finds these sites really helpful for food, especially when you're short on time.
You have all the tools now to get started and keep going. Next time, I'll talk about how essential oils can support weight loss. In the meantime, work on your habits!
For now, stay safe
* Peppermint and fennel essential oil is great for reducing your cravings but you should only use this under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist.