It might seem hopeless, but there is an easier way for you to adhere to your meal plan and achieve your goals. Rather than sweating over your daily caloric intake or dropping carbohydrates or fats, it’s best to incorporate a routine-based discourse to food consumption. When you target food quality, have minimal restrictions, and give yourself flexibility in your meal plan, you’re more likely to have greater success for longer bouts of time, and that’s setting yourself up to accomplish your goals.

How about this as a thought: what if you never had to give up delicious foods, count your macro intake, or pine over all the foods you no longer can eat?

Doesn’t that sound amazing for those who may be marooned in a whirlwind of dieting. And yet, as a food specialist, I honestly believe this is the best way to view dieting.

After all, time has shown that yo-yo dieting, resolutions along with diet trends and fads aren’t the solution. If they were, no other trends would have been created and everyone would have no issues with meal prep or dieting. There is nothing wrong with having a goal or a positive mind set giving us the ability to become healthier, more focused on better products and nutrition however, only about 8 percent of people reach the finish line of the goal they set.

Instead of continued frustration day in and day out, here are four steps to help you to adhere to your diet, end the mindless game of missing delicious foods, allow you to lose weight, and create more happiness and satisfaction from food.

QUALITY VS QUANTITY

Setting goals where you receive a reward once it’s achieved is great, but what if you could receive that benefit daily? Choosing higher quality foods that have better nutrition help to not only satisfy but to diminish cravings and reduce the need for sugar.

Choosing carbohydrates that are not refined carbs such as legumes – beans, lentils, alfalfa, soybeans, peanuts and whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, farrow and bulgur.

Improving your knowledge on these ingredients and having some fun in the kitchen can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your meals. Offering you more opportunities to dine in rather than having to go out to restaurants or choosing fast foods. Spending a few extra moments, creating fresh snacks or meals that you can pull from your freezer, lend a hand in never going hungry or making not so great choices when your day runs longer than anticipated. Having access to quality food choices over processed or fast foods is always a win.

You don’t need to be a chef or a master in the kitchen in order to prepare healthier non processed meals. There is no shortage of healthy eating blogs, plant-based diet recipes, and so much more for free plus many step by step videos available on YouTube. This gives you the confidence and know how to create homemade and fresh dishes that suit your liking. Choosing better health for yourself is always the best step.

When creating your planned meals, keep these four points in thought:

  • Use whole and fresh/fresh frozen as much as possible
  • 25-30 grams of protein per meal
  • Consume as many vegetables as you can eat, keep in mind reds and oranges have more natural sugars than greens. Eat plenty of all colors daily.
  • Enjoy a variety of healthy fats, no matter if it comes from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or anchovies or meat, olives or olive oil.

As you begin, every meal may not be perfect, but replacing high calorie processed foods with fresh natural foods will show you quick results, boost your energy levels and even offer you fresh healthier looking skin.  So, if you have a not so great eating day – don’t get discouraged, just move forward as tomorrow is a new day.

WILL EVERYTHING BE “HEALTHY”

We all indulge, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s knowing that when we do, maybe choose smaller portions, eat a little slower and truly enjoy the food we chose. These delightful pleasures should be enjoyed in moderation.

While some choices may be healthier than others, that doesn’t mean unhealthy choices should be avoided. Because food is food, some have higher caloric intake, some have better health benefits than others, it’s knowing how much of each you need to satisfy your hunger each day, to keep you fueled properly so you are happy, healthy and strong. I am not a fan of placing a stigma on foods such as “bad foods” or foods we “can’t have” this way of thinking only allows us to gravitate to those items and possibly causing us to binge eat, over eat and to feel guilty about it afterwards.

Having ice cream or pizza doesn’t make you powerless, and deciding on a piece of hand fruit doesn’t make you an exceptional person. Many times, this whole game of dieting can become extremely emotional, overwhelming causing many of us to run and give up. Don’t get sucked into these emotions.

We should never feel guilty or upset because we ate something “wrong” we are human and trying to make the best choices that fit our lives, not somebody else’s life.

With saying this, accept your food desires and cravings especially when they are strong. Life is to be enjoyed, besides if you “cash in” on these cravings and choose a much smaller portion, you are mentally satisfied after a few bites. A quick tip à if you are craving ice cream- have it. Take a ¼ cup only at first and enjoy eating it. You will find you are no longer desiring sugar, you ate quite a bit less than you would have if you went to an ice cream shop or if you grazed all evening on healthy foods waiting for your food sensory satisfaction that never comes.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to consume all things green and brightly colored. If you don’t like cauliflower, then don’t eat it. Maybe you really enjoy green beans and will have no problem consuming these daily, in my book that’s a win! Don’t ever let guilt over food win over your mind set. You are strong and determined.

BE COGNIZANT

When eating, try to take to yourself and enjoy the act of consuming healthy and nutritious foods. Too many times, we are side tracked, distracted and don’t get to savor or enjoy our meals.

This means, try to not eat at your desk, step away from your office or don’t take your cell phone so you can enjoy conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Make the effort to take your time when eating as well. This helps with digestion, feeling satiated and an overall gratitude of enjoying your lunch hour. These steps can be extremely successful with helping you lose weight and maintaining a healthful mindset.

BE ADJUSTABLE

Life has its ups and downs, some days will be better than others, some days healthier and some that will be mentally challenging. But don’t get frustrated and surely don’t give up!

Being able to bend to life’s ever-changing schedule will make changing your diet for the better a much easier process. Just jump back on the bandwagon as 1 missed workout or a few unhealthy snacks or meals wont steer you down the wrong path and cause tons of weight gain.

Reestablish your goals and healthier eating plan. Again, make successful small steps that you can easily maintain rather than changing 100% of your eating all at once. Be consistent, flexible and know you are moving towards a healthier you.