Every year brings new seasons and new goals. Winter time is for hibernation and eating endless goodies. Spring is for starting to cut away all that excess fat that was acquired in hopes of perfecting your dream body. Dream body for what though?
You guessed it… SUMMER.
After our summer fun comes and goes fall begins which we start to relax and rejoice about bingeing and snacking through the winter again. It’s an endless and common cycle and if you’re like most people, trying to stay on track with your diet might be one of the hardest things in the world to accomplish. I know because I’ve been there more times than I can count and every time it’s equally hard. An even harder question might be…
What can we do about it?
Whether you’re trying to shed the winter fat or pack on some muscle for the beach these dieting tips have helped me over the years stay focused, hit my goals, and ultimately enjoy the journey along the way.
#1: DO SOMETHING… Literally
Have you heard the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”? Well, it holds true here as well. If you’re keeping yourself busy and active, you won’t have time to focus on finding bored vices such as snacking. We live in the greatest city in the US with endless things to do…The weather is perfect and La Jolla Beach is begging for you to come play. If you’re sitting on the couch all day, you will hear whispers from the kitchen so get active and stay active to help forget about those cravings.
#2: Drink a lot of water. A Lot.
This may seem trivial but what is all around us, has no calories, is important to our bodies, and doesn’t usually hurt us? Yep. WATER. I keep a bottle of water with me at all times and when those cravings start to kick in I just start pounding the water. As long as I’m putting something in my body it seems to be happy and help me forget it’s not food. Try sipping on water as much as possible and it will help to suppress the cravings.
#3: Drink something with some flavor.
Going hand in hand with #2, drinking something with some flavor can give you the sensation of drinking something that is full of yummy sugars and calories. With so many beverages on the market these days you can easily find something that is calorie free but packs the enjoyableness of a nice soda. A couple of my personal favorites are Powerade ZERO and vitamin water zero.
#4: Chew Gum.
This may seem simple and that’s because it is. It seems like as long as my body is drinking or chewing on something it’s satisfied enough to not need a legitimate snack. I usually keep a pack of gum on me and if I’m feeling some bad cravings I chow down on a stick of gum and it usually holds me off until my next meal. Always come prepared because sometimes that stick of gum can compensate for bored cravings too!
#5: EAT A SNACK!
Don’t be alarmed I’m not agreeing to eating snacks left and right BUT I am actually advocating eating a snack, even an unhealthy one. If you prepare or plan a snack into your day or week you will have a reward to look forward to. How often are you so close to a finish line that the last few hurdles actually seem easy? Exactly my point. Knowing you are going to eat snack or rewarding yourself with even a small unhealthy one will help to keep you focused through the day and week. Just be sure to limit yourself to a snack maybe once or twice a week at most.
#6: GET RID OF ALL THE SNACKS!
Wait what? Didn’t you just tell me to eat a snack and now you’re telling me to throw them all away? YES. That is exactly what I’m telling you to do. This one depends on you and knowing your own limits. Tip #5 only applies if you have the discipline to manage yourself and limit the snacking to once or so a week. If you’re like me and think if the snack is looking at me then I must eat it then this tip applies to you. If the only food in your house is what you’re supposed to eat then there’s no possibility to snack on something unhealthy. I know this is easier said than done depending on your family and living situation though so do your best to eliminate anything unnecessary from the fridge and cupboard!
#7: PLAN PLAN PLAN.
One of my favorite quotes is “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” and it holds true to dieting. How many times have you heard someone say “Oops I forgot my lunch at home” when they’re trying to eat a strict diet? Happen almost too frequently and that’s why preparing your meals and food the night before is very important. If you’re food for the next day is already prepared then eating when you need and what you need becomes a breeze. If you don’t however you become that person who is scrambling for a snack which leads to “I’ll get back on track tomorrow” and more excessive snacking during that day. BE PREPARED.
#8: Play the buddy system.
Who doesn’t love having a good buddy to do something with? Exactly. And who hates to break promises to their buddy? I would like to think most people which is why having a buddy to diet with improves accountability. It’s easy to break a promise to yourself especially when it comes to those hidden snacks but when someone else is holding you accountable to follow through it makes it a bit tougher to start cheating on your goals. Find a like-minded buddy, set a goal, and get to work!
#9: Visualize your goals.
Something many people do and many people don’t. Visualization is so key to success and this hold true when pushing through a tough diet. Take a few minutes from the very start to write out what your goals are and why you want them. Be honest with yourself because there’s no reason to waste your own time if your “why” isn’t strong enough to motivate you. Ask yourself WHY do I want this and then go get it. Keep these goals posted on your wall or door or steering wheel. Do ANYTHING necessary to remind yourself why you started and where you’re going. Post your favorite fitness model up to help you visualize the body you want. If you can see it then you can achieve it.
#10: CHEAT!!! I’m not joking.
What’s worse than cheating once in a while? Cheating all the time. If you’re not rewarding yourself along the way you’re not only going to build resentment for your diet but also build a massive amount of urge to binge eat. Binge eating is exactly what we want to avoid which is why I’m an advocate of rewarding yourself with a cheat meal every once in a while. How often you might ask? Well that’s up to you but personally I like to keep it once every 2 weeks. If you need it once a week then go for it, just keep yourself in check. My personal favorite is heading down to Hodads in OB for a quick burger. Rewarding yourself along the way with the foods that you love will help to keep you on track to achieve the ultimate reward which is the body of your dreams.
When in doubt always ask yourself, do I want the snack I’ve been craving for 20 minutes or the body I’ve been craving for a lifetime. Visualize your goals, reward yourself, hold yourself accountable, and…