The 3 Most Important Secrets to Sticking to Your Diet
Dieting isn’t easy. In fact, the very concept of “dieting” is inherently flawed, implying it’s something short-term. Classifying a diet as temporary actually makes it harder to maintain healthy actions long enough to see results.
Instead, dieting should be a constant flow towards healthier eating habits. That mental shift turns something you’re forcing yourself to do into something that you do automatically. The change is subtle but the psychological impact is stunning.
1) Choose the Right Plan for You
There are thousands of diets available, but because maintaining a routine is essential for success, you need to choose the right one for you. You need the diet that allows you to enjoy food and—by extension—life.
If the diet you choose is difficult for you, makes you miserable, and makes you feel constantly deprived, you’re not going to stick with it.
How do you find a diet that works?
You need to consume fewer calories than you expend until you reach your goal weight. Thereafter, you need to be in equilibrium, which means you need to consume the same amount of calories that you expend. That’s it. But, creating and (especially) maintaining that deficit when you are trying to lose weight can be hard. Here’s how the Hollywood Cookie Diet® can help.
The Hollywood Cookie Diet® line of products is tasty—like indulgent little snacks. More importantly, they’re scientifically designed to replace higher calorie meals. This automatically creates that all-important calorie deficit.
How do you do it?
Replace 1 or 2 of your daily meals (breakfast and lunch are good options) with your favorite flavor of Hollywood Cookie Diet® products and then eat a sensible dinner (at least 3 hours before bed).
This routine comes easy because it doesn’t interrupt your normal eating habits, it just reduces the calories you consume.
Diet Secret 1.5: “Automatic” Exercise
You can also create or increase that calorie deficit by burning more calories through exercise. But “exercise” doesn’t mean slogging through a gym circuit like it’s a prison sentence. Rather, find ways to make your exercise automatic.
- Find an outdoor activity that’s fun and/or exciting, like kayaking.
- Pair “dreary” exercises (like the treadmill) with something you like (watching a favorite series on Netflix or listening to a mind-engaging podcast).
- Team up with a friend—social support and interaction makes each session easier and makes you more likely to come back for the next one!
2) Reward Yourself
Positive feedback is an important part of sticking with your diet. The easiest and most effective way of engaging in positive feedback is to employ treats or rewards. It sounds deceptively simple but it’s a powerful psychological tool that creates tremendous results.
We already use:
- Treats when training dogs
- Rewards when teaching children
- Bonuses for improving an employee’s performance
Why not use the same positive reinforcement technique to help you stick to your chosen diet?
The Two-Tiered Reward Scheme
You need to reward yourself regularly to help overcome your own momentum but you also need to acknowledge the impact of significant goals. That’s why a multi-tiered reward scheme works best.
- Use small rewards (daily or weekly) to maintain motivation and a positive attitude.
- Use large rewards to mark major milestones (such as achieving weight loss or fitness goals).
In order for your positive feedback to be effective, the rewards you choose must be personally meaningful. They must be:
- Something you enjoy
- Something you want
- Something you don’t already have
Because the goal is sticking to your diet, non-food rewards are best.
Many people use physical objects or experiences like new clothes or accessories, new books, new gadgets, or massages to maintain that motivation. You can also use non-tangible experiences as rewards too. Date nights, days off from the gym, or weekend getaways work just as well.
3) Forgive Yourself
Diets need to be flexible, not rigid. Guilt will quickly sour your experience and make it difficult to stick to your diet.
- You will go out for pizza and drinks with friends.
- You will splurge on hot buttered popcorn at the movies.
- You will see something on the desert menu that just screams your name.
Those indulgences are okay—psychologically healthy even. What’s truly bad is punishing yourself for these indulgences.
This “all or nothing” dieting is psychologically unhealthy and creates unnecessary tension, guilt, and negative mood swings that—in turn—make sticking with your diet all that much more difficult.
Celebrate these moments as enjoyable rewards. Experience them fully in a positive way. Let go of the guilt and negative self-talk. Then get back on track tomorrow.
Consistency Makes Dieting Easy
Consistency is essential and the 3 tips for sticking to your diet listed above will help you maintain that. If you choose a diet that is easier for you, you will be more likely to stick with it. If you use meaningful rewards to pay yourself for success, you’ll be more likely to stay the course. If you forgive yourself and let go of the negativity, you’ll maintain an essential positive outlook.