Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.
It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of disease .
However, despite all these benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be difficult.
Here are 14 ways to follow a healthy diet .
1. Start with Realistic Expectations
Eating a nutritious diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss.
However, it is important to set realistic expectations.
For example, if you push yourself to lose weight too quickly , your plan to achieve better health may be counterproductive.
The researchers found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to leave a weight loss program within 6 to 12 months.
On the other hand, setting a more realistic and attainable goal can prevent you from being discouraged and may even lead to greater weight loss.
Having realistic expectations increases your chances of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors.
2. Think about what really motivates you
Remembering why you are making healthy decisions can help you stay on track.
It may be helpful to make a list of the specific reasons why you want to improve your health.
Keep this list handy and ask when you feel you need a reminder.
When you’re tempted to have unhealthy behaviors, remembering what motivates you can help you stay on the right track.
3. Keep unhealthy foods out of the house
It is very difficult to eat healthy if you are always surrounded by junk food.
If other family members want to keep these foods around, at least keep them hidden, instead of putting them on the counter.
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here.
Having food on display in several areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods .
Keeping unhealthy foods out of the house, or at least out of sight, can increase your chances of staying on track.
4. Don’t have an “all or nothing” approach
An important obstacle to achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle is the thought of “black and white”.
A common scenario is that you take a few unhealthy snacks at a party and decide that your diet is ruined for the day, and proceed to overdo it with unhealthy foods.
Instead of considering the “ruined” day, try to leave the past behind and choose healthy and unprocessed foods that contain protein for the rest of the party.
This will help you feel full and satisfied , rather than embalmed and frustrated.
A few out-of-plan options make very little difference in the long term , as long as you balance them with healthy foods.
Rejecting the urge to judge your day as “good” or “bad” can prevent you from overeating and making bad decisions.
5. Bring healthy snacks
Complying with a healthy diet can be difficult when you are away from home for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, when you are too hungry , you may end up grabbing whatever is available.
It’s often about processed foods, which don’t really satisfy hunger and aren’t good for you in the long run.
Having healthy, protein-rich snacks on hand can help control your appetite until you can have a full meal.
Some examples of good portable snacks are almonds, peanuts and beef jerky. Also consider filling a small fridge with boiled eggs, cheese or Greek yogurt.
Take healthy and protein-rich snacks when on the road or traveling in case you can’t eat for several hours.
6. Change diet and exercise at the same time
You may have heard that you should not change too many things at once when trying to improve your health. Overall, this is good advice.
However, research has shown that when changes are made in both diet and physical activity at the same time, the results tend to reinforce each other.
In a study of 200 people, the group that began eating a healthy diet and exercising at the same time found that it was easier to maintain these behaviors than those who started with diet or exercise alone and then added the other later.
Simultaneously changing the way you eat and exercise increases your chances of having a healthy lifestyle.
7. Have a game plan before eating out
Trying to maintain a healthy diet while eating outside can be very difficult.
Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier.
It is better to have a strategy before arriving at the restaurant, instead of feeling overwhelmed once you get there.
When you go out to eat outside, keep in mind what you are going to ask for, both in food and drinks and stay very focused on that, not on the tempting letter.
Having a plan before eating out can help you choose healthier foods.
8. Don’t let travel make you derail
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, being outside your family territory can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips:
- Research restaurants and supermarkets in advance.
- Pack some healthy foods that don’t spoil easily.
- Challenge yourself to stay on the road for most of the trip.
You can follow a healthy eating plan while traveling. All that is needed is a little research, planning and commitment.
9. Practice conscious eating
Eating carefully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Take your time to enjoy food and appreciate your ability to nurture it. This increases your chances of making successful and lasting behavior changes.
In one study, overweight and obese women who practiced conscious eating had significant improvements in their relationship with food over a period of 4 months.
Another study on women who ate in excess found that binge eating episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 per week, and the severity of each binge also decreased. This happened in just 6 weeks.
Adopting an attentive eating approach can help you achieve a better relationship with food, and it can also reduce binge eating.
10. Track and monitor your progress
Recording the foods you eat in a diary, an online food tracker or an application can help you follow a healthy diet and lose weight .
Measuring the progress of your exercise is also beneficial and provides you with motivation that can help you move forward.
The researchers reported that overweight women who were given pedometers walked further and lost 6 times more weight than women who did not use them within 3 months.
Tracking food intake and exercise can provide motivation and responsibility. Studies show that it helps to follow a healthy diet and leads to greater weight loss.
11. Get a partner to join you
Complying with a healthy eating and exercise plan can be difficult to do on your own.
Having a diet or exercise partner can be helpful, especially if that person is your partner or spouse .
When the researchers looked at data from more than 3,000 couples, they found that when one person made a positive change in their lifestyle, such as increasing physical activity, the other was more likely to follow suit .
Having a partner who joins you to make healthy lifestyle changes can increase your chances of success.
12. Start the day with a protein-rich breakfast
If your first meal is well balanced and contains adequate protein , you are more likely to maintain stable blood sugar levels and not overeat during the rest of the day.
In one study, overweight women who consumed at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast felt more satisfied and consumed fewer calories at lunch than women who ate a low-protein breakfast.
Eating a protein-rich breakfast helps you stay full and can avoid overeating later in the day.
13. Realize that it takes time to change your habits
Do not be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to adapt to your new healthy lifestyle.
Researchers have found that it takes about 66 days, on average, to make a new behavior a habit.
Eventually, eating healthy and exercising regularly will become automatic.
Do your best to stay motivated and focused while adapting to a healthy lifestyle. On average, it takes 66 days to create a new habit.
14. Find out what works best for you
There is no perfect way to eat that works for everyone.
It is important that you find a way to eat and exercise that you enjoy, that is sustainable and that can be maintained for the rest of your life.
The best diet for YOU is the one you can follow in the long term.