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5 Tricks for Sticking to Your Diet.

Hit a home run for your diet by following these 5 tricks.

There are as many diets out there as stars in the sky. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – but there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) from which to pick. If you select a diet that is restrictive, then it’s going to be difficult to sustain – and it may result in nutritional deficiencies over time. Therefore, the first (and most important) step is finding a finding balanced diet that works with your lifestyle.

Trick #1: Set a goal

Goals are a great way to both get motivated and stay focused. SMART goals – that is, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely – are the most effective. Instead of saying that you want to drop some extra weight, a SMART goal would be that you “want to lose 5 inches from your waist by next summer.” See the difference? Tracking your progress against this goal will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

Trick #2: Focus on one change at a time

It’s no secret that habits are developed slowly over time. In a 2009 study, researchers found that forming habits can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to focus on only one or two changes at a time – so that you don’t become too overwhelmed. Introduce the changes that you need to make slowly, and over time. After all, you’re in this for the long run.

Trick #3: Plan ahead

Planning plays an important role in sticking to your diet. If you plan, then you are less likely to face problems. If, for example, you go on vacation without doing some preliminary research, you might find that your hotel doesn’t have fitness facilities – and that there are no gyms nearby. Plan your days, weeks and months around your fitness and weight release goals. This means scheduling gym time, planning meals, researching restaurant menus for healthy options, etc. A little planning can help you stay in control of your diet.

Trick #4: Do it with a friend or partner

If you are working on sticking to a new diet, ask a partner or friend to do it with you. It makes it more fun, is an added source of motivation, provides support and increases the level of accountability.

Trick #5: Follow the 80/20 rule

If you don’t occasionally eat the unhealthy foods that you crave and enjoy, you’re going to crave them even more. Eventually, you may break down and binge – and then feel guilty for having indulged. You may even end up binging even more to pacify the guilt. It can be an endless downward spiral that breaks dieters. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time. With the other 20%, allow yourself to enjoy the less healthy foods that you really enjoy. It creates balance.

Do you have any other dieting tips or tricks? Please share them in the comments below!