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Diets can sometimes feel like shifting the gears on a bicycle. For those of us who aren’t famous cyclists, let us explain. 

There are times in cycling when you hit your stride. When your pedaling matches the momentum and gains. There are other times when the track shifts, your pedaling becomes out of sync, and you are not making the progress you want. Leading to more exertion and frustration. 

The commitment cycle is a challenging machine. It is not always easy, but it becomes more of a habit and less of a chore if ridden for long enough. The goal then is to get to the habitual phase of diet and nutrition, when it is not only about spirit and drive, but more a part of routine and existence. We are here to help you get to that point with the following tips.

Have Realistic Expectations

Research shows commitment to weight loss or health programs correlates to expectation.1 Unrealistic expectations are not the pathway to real results. If you focus on attainable goals, it is easier to stick to programs and stay motivated. For example, don’t watch a reality TV show and expect to lose 15 to 20 pounds or more every week. Instead, focus on what makes sense for your body. Getting to where you want to be may take a little time, and that’s okay (and not to mention extremely normal). Listen to your body and don’t overwork yourself. The goal here is to safely and healthily achieve your results.

Keep Unhealthy Foods Out of the House

Proximity is dangerous when it comes to scrumptious little sugar darlings or those crispy, salty chips. While there is nothing wrong with the occasional treat, your home should be off-limits when trying to stay on track with your health needs. Keep your house stocked up with healthy snacks, there are many of them! By restricting access to delicious and tempting junk food, you make it more challenging to give in to cravings.

Exercise With a Healthy Diet

Diet and exercise are like peanut butter and jelly. While you can totally partake in one and not the other, the true deliciousness comes from the combination. Think about it this way: If you go on a diet but maintain a sedentary lifestyle, the constant sitting still presents significant risks to your health, despite the benefits of good nutrition. Find a fulfilling workout plan which works for you and stick with it! You’ll be feeling good with those endorphins flowing while also reaching your results at a much faster pace. 

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the deliberate focus on the act of eating. You want to savor every bite and appreciate the nutritional value of the food you consume. If you are not too fond of items on your plate, consider the benefits food offers. In a study, researchers found participants’ relationship with food improved after four months of practicing mindful eating!2 A healthy relationship with food is empowering and will have you looking forward to every meal.

Meal Prep During the Week

One problem many dieters face is sticking to the plan when a day gets away from them. It is so easy to pick up fast food after a long and grueling day. One way to prevent these drive-thru excursions is to perform meal prep over the weekend. When you know what you will have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it is easier to stick to a nutritional plan. Do what you can at the start of the week to make the commitment to your diet easier.

Reward Yourself Periodically

A strict diet without any room for compromise is not sustainable. It would be best if you allowed yourself an occasional treat. Let yourself enjoy a “free” meal or treat once or twice a week to indulge in something you love, regardless of its nutritional value. You don’t need to completely deprive yourself of the things you love in order to get to where you want to be!  

The commitment cycle is a tricky machine, especially concerning diets. It will steer you into complacency and then throw you into doubt and desire. The best way to master it is with incremental changes like those listed above and remember to be good to yourself during this process. Your body works hard to keep you alive and kindness goes a long way.