Sticking To Your Diet
By Kelsey Proper
I had a conversation this past weekend with one of my cousins at a family dinner. Like myself he works out everyday, but has a huge difficulty sticking to a clean diet. Luckily he inherited the good genes in the family, and has a very high metabolism. He can like crazy without noticing much of a difference, while if I eat 2 carbs it feels like I gain 2 pounds instantly (I got the fat genes of the family). While fat gain isn’t as much as an issue for him, he knows that’s if he were to have a more balanced and consistent diet he would probably see a definite change for the better.
So as he asked me this, it really got me thinking. What is it that motivates me? Why is it easy for me to stick to a diet? Why am I successful with my diet? (Granted in the past I have not been absolutely perfect when it comes to dieting. There are many days that I’ve sat on the couch hating myself for the gallon of I was cream that I emotionally ate the day before, but luckily I am much better about it now!). After thinking about this the past 24 hours I decided on a few main ideas that I believe help me stick to my clean diet.
1. Wasted workouts
You’re workout is only as beneficial as you diet. Let’s face it, just because you went to the gym for a half hour and floated around on an elliptical, doesn’t mean that you can go home and eat 5 coney dogs. This kind of defeats the purpose. To me, it’s not worth the regret of spending two hours kicking my own as in the gym, stuffing my face, and then kicking my add again later for eating 3 snickers (because one is never enough). I work hard on the gym, and I need to work just as hard in my diet to benefit the most possible. The thought of throwing two hours of hard, sweaty work away is enough to allow me to keep myself in check.
2. Someone is always working harder than I am.
Whatever your goal is, whether you’re preparing for a competition , cutting, bulking, trying to lose weight, etc, etc… I find it helpful to remind myself that someone is always working harder than I am. I tend to be a very competitive person, which I think is true of many (if not all) of the people who find themselves in the gym day in and day out. The constant reminder that someone is working harder than me to achieve the same goal motivates me to work even harder, not just in the gym, but in my diet as well. Back to number one, your workout is only as good as your diet, and when you slack in your diet, you’re not going to make the same progress as someone who kills it in both areas. Stay competitive, with others and with yourself.
One of the BIGGEST keys to successful dieting I have found is preparation. Many people have said “Wow, I would never have time to do all of that cooking, etc.” The key here is.. you make time. You have to set yourself up for success. So if that means before you go to bed that you have to spend 10 minutes to get your food for the next day packed up, you do it. If you have to spend two hours cooking for the week when all you want to do is sleep… you do it. When you find yourself doing dishes every single day because you go through so much Tupperware… you just do it (even though dishes suck). Not only is food preparation important, but being prepared with your food. Everyday when I leave the house I have all of my food for the day packed in my cooler. There are days when I eat it all before I make it home, and there are days that I end up bringing most of it home to eat. The key here is though that you are prepared no matter what. There is no excuse if you didn’t take your food to work to go to a fast food restaurant, or trying to Macgyver something to fit your diet from the local coney. If you have all of your food with you, there are no excuses. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING.
This kind of goes along with the competition aspect of number 2. But I know that if I set achievable goals, that I am much more likely to stick with my diet when I see it working. I know that losing 10 pounds of fat in one week is not going to happen, but if I can set goals that are actually obtainable, it reinforces the fact that what I’m doing is working and I’m much more likely to stay on track that way.
5. Diet Buddy
For some people it is helpful to have what I call a “diet buddy”. I know this sounds cheesy, but when you’re beginning a completely new lifestyle, it’s not always easy to do on your own. This buddy could come in many different forms. Whether its someone who is on the same diet as you, the person that wrote your diet, or simply someone that you can text or call when you feel the urge to eat a big mac and a blizzard. I find that especially in the beginning it’s very helpful to have a support system and try not to just do it on your own.
6. You are human.
Even though we all strive for perfection in what we do in the gym and outside of it, you can’t lose site of the fact that you are human. If you slip up and eat something that you should have, or your 1 cheat meal a week turns into two, and then three… Try your hardest not to get off track or get down on yourself. Stressing yourself about your slip up will only cause you to rebel and stray away from your diet. I can say this because I’ve been there (more times than I’d like). But, every time that I did stray and beat myself up about it, it just lead to a downhill spiral. Remember that you are human, we make mistakes at times, and we slip up. Make up for it in the gym, push yourself harder because you know that you can! At the same time, don’t use this as a fall back point. It happened, you cheated, you ate those chocolate chip pancakes like a champ. Now get over, get your ass back to the gym, and try not to let it happen again (anytime relatively soon).
7. Food is fuel
This was one of the hardest things for me to get used to. Like most people, I love food that tastes good. What is better than peanut butter and chocolate melting in your mouth, creating that perfect medley of deliciousness!? I’ll tell you, a banging body, that is what. FOOD IS FUEL. It doesn’t have to taste good. I know it would be wonderful if we could all gain muscle and lose fat eating ice cream and bonbons, but this isn’t the reality. Food doesn’t have to taste good for you to enjoy it. Stop worrying about what tastes good, and worry about giving your body the proper nutrients that it needs. This isn’t the easiest thing to wrap your head around, but once you do, it will make your dieting that much easier, and you will begin to actually enjoy your food.
Make the commitment. If you’re going to commit to a diet, just do it. Don’t half ass it. The second you start giving yourself leeway, you’re headed downhill. Just like the people that decided they were going to go to the gym everyday as their new years resolution, but by February were no where to be found. If you’re going to commit to a new lifestyle, DO IT. Make a commitment to yourself, and stick with it. Don’t make excuses.
I hope this helped at least one person take a different take on dieting. It doesn’t have to be miserable, it’s just a mindset change. Remember that what you’re doing is for the better! It may be difficult at times, but push through it, and remember that you can do it! The harder you work, the better you will feel. Happy dieting!