Getting your nutrition up to speed is never as easy as it sounds – if following a healthy diet was effortless, then we’d all have six-pack abs all year round!
The truth is that the best laid plans can be quickly undone by reality: a missed meal, a sneaky drink with mates, grumbling kids and even a hard day at work can have us dumping our prepped meals for a juicy burger with extra fries.
For many, getting back on the wagon proves too difficult. So when crises strike how do you dust yourself off and get your healthy diet back on track? Read on to find our top three tips!
Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day
One of the strangest results revealed in studies on healthy eating indicates that many people confuse the feeling of thirst for the feeling of hunger. As a result, we end up eating a lot unnecessary food trying to replenish our body’s lost hydration lost through sweat, urine and even breathing. As a guide, the average person should drink two litres of water per day – perhaps even three litres if they are exercising.
There are two very simple ways to increase your daily water intake:
- Keep a one-litre bottle of water on your desk (or close by) and aim to empty it twice
- Incorporate broth-based soups and lush fruits (like watermelon) into your meal plan
Break the pattern that leads you to temptation
Whether it’s the 3pm slump, or a heavy night on the town, you can break those distinct patterns of behaviour that encourage you to gobble down something laden with sugar and fats.
The best way to break a pattern is to avoid the stimuli completely. This may mean cutting short your night at the pub or staying clear of the biscuit tin until you can get comfortable saying “no thank you”.
If you can’t avoid the stimuli, what you can do is introduce a totally different response pattern: for example, when you feel the 3pm slump head to the exit and go for a quick walk or substitute your snack for a healthy option – like a protein bar.
Break down your eating plan into simple, incremental blocks
If you find yourself falling off the bandwagon frequently, then perhaps you need to take a closer look at the manageability of the diet you came up with.
Overhauling a diet from top-to-toe is far too stressful for most to handle, so if you think your diet overall is reasonable – but it’s taking some getting used to – what you can do is stagger the diet into easy chunks and support your body with supplementary nutrition.
One of the best ways to do this is to introduce new elements every three weeks. Week one to three could focus on drinking enough water and following a reasonable bedtime schedule. Week four to seven could then introduce a single balanced meal every dinnertime with a protein snack. Week eight to 11 then introduces a balanced meal at lunchtime, and from week 12, you can have a totally new dietary mindset ready to rock!