We hear all the time…
“It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle!”
But let’s face it…With anything where we can’t just do whatever we want, whenever we want, we are going to have some “slip ups.”
We are going to wake up late because we accidentally turned off our alarm.
We are going to skip our workout because we are stressed.
We’re going to buy that outfit we don’t need just because we really really want it!
There really are very few places in life where we can do exactly what we want all of the time.
YET somehow we expect that with our diet.
We think we can “go on a diet,” lose weight, then go back to eating what we were eating before and keep the weight off.
We have this delusion that we can eat whatever we want all of the time.
But it doesn’t work that way.
HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that we need to continue this cycle of extreme calorie deprivation and cutting out all of the foods we love.
We need to instead realize that it is all about balance and finding something we can do consistently.
Dieting doesn’t have to suck; however, just like everything in life, there will be times we have to do things we don’t fully want to do!
AND I think it is important to recognize that there will be periods where we will be more diligent and times we will…well…”fall off.”
Everything goes in cycles. Here are 5 tips though to help you make dieting suck less!
5 Tips To Make Dieting Suck Less:
1. Find meals you love. Plan those in first.
Dieting has come to mean bland, boring foods. Chicken and broccoli. Bland white fish and asparagus.
But A. These things don’t have to be bland and boring. And B. There has to be a balance which includes foods you enjoy.
If you want to stick with a diet and make it something you actually ENJOY doing, you have to be able to make meals you love.
I always tell people starting my Macro Cycling programs that they should plan in meals with their family or meals they really love first. If you really crave salmon or steak, plan it in. And work your other meals around it.
Really crave chocolate or something sweet at the end of the night? Plan it in first. That way you can work everything else around it!
Remember it is 80/20 not perfection that gets results. Perfection might lead to faster results, but it generally also leads to incredibly short-term results!
2. Stop making it about perfection. Give yourself one focus.
We go in with this all or nothing attitude that often leads to us “falling off” before we really even start.
And if we do get in a routine, at the first sign of life getting in the way, aka work stresses, family pressures, the HOLIDAYS, our goals and diet go completely out the window.
We struggle to stay consistent because we’ve put so much pressure on ourselves to be “perfect.” To only eat whol,e natural foods. To be within a gram of our goal. To always be under our calories.
But it isn’t about perfection.
It’s about knowing our goals and being consistent.
Especially during those busy times, don’t worry about the details. Give yourself just ONE THING to focus on to keep you on track.
I always tell clients that if they can do just one thing, make protein your focus. If you make protein your focus, you’ll see results.
Or if they’ve even struggled with that, I’ll tell them to simply start by LOGGING. There is accountability in that AND it can help us then slowly make changes as we feel ready.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Those small tweaks, that consistency adds up!
3. Stop cutting out foods you love first.
Ok we all know certain foods are bad for us. But we love them anyway.
Those foods that we love are often also the first things we cut out. And then all we can think about is how much we want those foods.
So what happens?
We end up binging and then struggle to get back on track.
But what if we didn’t first cut out those foods we love the most?
What if instead we first focused on adding in other things? Or making tweaks to those foods we love so they fit our macros better?
What if we got rid of the other fluff so we could even still indulge in those foods we love?
A. Consistency is about balance. It isn’t all or nothing and even unhealthy foods can have a place in our lifestyle!
B. When we make those other changes FIRST, often making the bigger changes. aka sometimes reducing or even eliminating those unhealthy foods we feel we “need,” becomes EASIER because we aren’t then cutting out the things we love first. We don’t feel as DEPRIVED because we’ve made other changes that have created new habits.
So when you’re getting started, start with easy and small tweaks. And even consider how you can make meals more macro friendly!
4. Fuel your body instead. Less isn’t always more.
A big reason why we think diets suck is because we are ALWAYS hungry.
There is legitimately a term for this hunger, and the resulting ANGER from it…HANGER.
So of course feeling hungry and low energy all of the time isn’t going to make us want to stick with our eating plan.
Nope! But it may make you reach for the quickest and most unhealthy thing in sight!
And not only can this constant starvation cause us to fall off our diet, but it can also actually cause our results to stall or plateau. LESS ISN’T ALWAYS MORE!
Yes, a calorie deficit is key. But too little and you can’t workout hard and your body starts to try to conserve energy.
PLUS, it is NOT just about calories in vs. calories out. The quality of those calories matters! And that doesn’t just mean healthy vs. unhealthy foods but even the MACRO ratios that you consume.
Even though you may want to lose weight quickly, don’t starve yourself. Make sure to fuel your activity and it will not only make eating well more pleasant but help you stay consistent long term!
5. Plan for the worst.
It’s easy to eat well and stick to your goals when you aren’t stressed, have full control of your schedule and are 100% motivated and even getting results.
However, that all happens at the same time like maybe 5% of the time if we’re lucky.
Most of the time we are stressed, or tired, or have family obligations…Or heck…we just want to go out and have fun!
But most often we only PLAN for the times that it is easy. We don’t prepare for the times that we are going to have other things going on that may make it seem impossible to prep or stay on track.
That is why it is key that we consider and plan for the “worst.”
How can we provide ourselves with guidance to stay on track even when things aren’t easy? How can we create consistency and balance so we can keep ourselves moving forward or maintaining even when “dieting” isn’t our main focus?
Often I think this means giving ourselves one thing to focus on. One clear and easy goal that we know will keep us on track enough.
I also think it is about remembering it is about CONSISTENCY and not perfection that truly matters in the long run.
And I think it is important that we come up with ways that allow us to diet with balance. Find easy meals out. Plan around the things you love and enjoy.
Find quick snacks that, while maybe not perfect, are way better than the alternative and will keep you feeling fueled and on track.
Dieting may not always be fun but it shouldn’t detract from your life. There will be periods where you will want to be stricter and others you will do the bare minimum. The key is finding a way to make it “not suck” so you can remain consistent and find balance!
And it is also about remembering EVERYTHING goes in cycles. Don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up. Just make small little tweaks to always be getting better and preparing yourself to make the most out of what you can!
With these 5 tips you can get on track and make dieting…well…suck less!