Managing a full-time schedule, be that work, school, life, or all three, while trying to eat right can be a difficult balancing act. For the first installment of our ThrivePass 9-5 Series: Diet, we’ve compiled a list of science-backed tips to maintaining your diet all day. Keep reading to find out how you can stay on track with eating healthy.
The Willpower Rule:
Willpower is similar to a muscle. It’s strong, but can be easily depleted if we use it too frequently. If you know you’re going to be facing work birthday parties, or happy hours, build up your willpower by treating yourself the evening before with a more responsible option. Instead of a slice of cake at work, or a couple cocktails afterwards, replenish your will power with a more healthy selection of sweets, or savory dishes to appease your appetite. Remaining in a constant state of deprivation (that means never allowing yourself to nibble on sweets or snacks) will make it harder for you to say no to junk food when your guard is down.
Let Small Habits Build:
Much like willpower, a great deal of our dieting success depends on the habits we create. If you find yourself struggling to stick to your diet plans, it could be because you’re lacking uniformity or control in the rest of your life. By instituting small positive habits like yogurt instead of a bagel for breakfast, making your bed every morning, or drinking your eight glasses of water a day, you may find that that positive reinforcement makes more difficult diet decisions easier. Every small habit you incorporate into your life helps you build self-discipline and self-control.
It can be tempting to eat at your desk, one hand on your keyboard, but studies suggest that setting clear distinctions between work and eating will help you manage your diet. Define lunch as a time to eat. Take the time to go to a separate location, the kitchen, the break room, or cafeteria so your brain recognizes that time for eating. When you are eating, eat slowly. Often when we eat too quickly our body doesn’t register when we’re full. To counteract this, eating slowly will give you time to realize when you’re full.
Don’t Drink Calories:
If you’re trying to lose weight or stick to a diet plan, the very first thing you should do is toss any soda or sugary drinks—even drinks that are sugar free or diet. Myriad studies have shown that sugary drinks are the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet, and are even linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity. This also applies to fruit juices, which often contain a great deal of extra sugar.
For those of you clinging to your diet sodas, if you’re working hard to stick to your diet, your sugar free sodas could be getting in your way. We’ve spoken about the bad side of artificial sweeteners before (you can read about them here), but simply put: fake sugar confuses our mind, can inhibit insulin production, and can not only cause intense sweet-cravings, but has in some cases been linked to cancer and other diseases. Cut out all sodas and sweet drinks and replace them with water. Within two weeks or so you should find you crave them less and less, and your pants are fitting a little bit better.
Bring in Some Outside Diet Help:
Dieting is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t ace every step right off the bat. To make life easier on yourself, plan ahead. Stock your fridge with healthy options. When you head to the grocery store, shop the perimeter first which contains most of the fresh-food options. Pack lunches when possible, drink lots of water, and give yourself a break. Like we mentioned above, willpower is a muscle, and just as you wouldn’t expect yourself to dead lift 500 pounds on your first try, don’t expect yourself to be a perfectly restrained dieter right away either. If you’re really having a tough go with your diet, download a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal, which makes it easy to calculate your calories.
If you feel like you’ve been doing really well with your diet, but still aren’t losing weight, you may be snacking on some hidden calories without knowing it. With calorie trackers you’ll be able to see that your favorite granola actually has twice the number of calories as most. The key to all-day dieting is letting go of the all-or-nothing approach. Just because you messed up today, doesn’t mean you can’t do better tomorrow. Bring healthy snacks, instead of chips, stay away from tempting situations, and you’ll find it’s easier than you thought.
How do you stick to your diet all day? Let us know by commenting below or on our Twitter. As always, stay up to date with all ThrivePass news by following us here or on Twitter and LinkedIn.