Do you struggle to stick to a diet plan? Do you spend endless hours fantasising about what you would like to eat? Do you berate yourself when you finally cave in to temptation and tuck in? If so, here are 3 tips to help you stick to the straight and narrow.

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  1. The 90/10 percent Rule

Not everyone is going to be a paragon of virtue and discipline and that’s totally fine. As one yogi once told me. You won’t necessarily live longer if you eat healthily, abstain from drinking alcohol or smoking – it will just feel longer!

Jokes aside though, it is completely human to sometimes just want to sink your teeth into that chocolate brownie that is laden with sugars and saturated fats.

Director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Kathy McManus, who is also a registered dietician said that while a good diet is crucial for health, bending the rules on occasion probably won’t hurt.

“Eat a healthy diet 90% of the time and splurge 10% of the time,”….Eating three meals a day for a week means 21 total meals: avoid splurging for more than two of those meals.”

This makes life far more realistic and far less punitive.

2. Do note endlessly berate and punish yourself

Part of sticking to a healthy diet plan is to develop a healthy relationship with food. If you have a punitive approach to eating, it could lead to the development of binge eating and other unhelpful binge eating habits.

While it is understandably disappointing when you feel you have let yourself down, meet yourself where you are and forgive yourself for being human.

Instead of wasting energy on self-blame, focus your energy on eating healthily the following day instead. Ruminating on the past is counterproductive and could in fact affect the future. In other words, endless self berating is utterly unhelpful!

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3. Creating a list of your eating habits

Often, when one overeats, it is not about the food. Rather, there is usually a deeper reason. For example, eating could be an emotional response to a problem.

Keeping a record of your eating habits could help you to identify your triggers and cues to overeating. What are the occasions when you are “triggered” to eat for reasons other than hunger?

Common triggers for eating when not hungry are:

  • Sitting at home watching television.
  • Before or after a stressful meeting or situation at work.
  • Coming home after work and having no idea what’s for dinner.
  • Feeling bored or tired and thinking food might offer a pick-me-up.

Ask yourself if there anything you can do to avoid the situations that trigger you to overeat? Or, could you replace what you currently do with a healthier option?

For example, if you tend to eat badly when you don’t know what dinner is, make sure you plan ahead! If you eat when bored or stressed, make sure that what’s available is an healthier option.

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