March is National Nutrition Month, making it the perfect time to reevaluate your diet and make sure you’re eating the right balance of nutrients. We’re sharing 8 tips to help you stick to a diet year-round.
- Determine the Right Kind of Diet
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet recommendation. One way to understand what your body needs is through a DNA test, such as the Pathway FiT. Looking at your nutritional needs, metabolic health factors and matching diet, this test can reveal your genetic diet type, including the ratio of carbs, proteins and fats for your body. With this information at hand, you can make more proactive decisions regarding your diet based on your DNA.
- Understand Your Reasons
It’s hard to stick to a diet if you don’t have a reason for doing so other than “the doctor told me.” You can feel much more motivated to stick to a healthy diet if you have a list of reasons why. Your intentions may include losing weight, reducing your blood pressure, increasing your healthy cholesterol levels, or simply feeling healthy and fit. Create a list of reasons and consult this list when you’re tempted to dump the diet.
- Don’t Go From 0 to 100
If you’re new to dieting, take it in gradual steps. Shifting from eating junk food to eating nothing but vegetables in one day is difficult to maintain, especially when research has shown that foods like cheese and sugar can be physically addicting. Take it slow and in steps. You might start by cutting out sugary snacks on weekdays and rewarding yourself on weekends. Or, balance a salad with a salty snack during this transition.
- Treat Yourself
The healthiest of diets are ones you adhere to for life. While it’s important to be healthy, life is also meant to be enjoyed! Plus, the more restrictive a diet, the more difficult to follow. If you’re craving pancakes on a Sunday morning, enjoy the pancakes. If you want to order dessert after a special dinner out, order the dessert. Life is about balance. Aim to eat healthy 90% of the time and treat yourself 10% of the time.
- Know the Difference Between Hunger and Cravings
As you can learn from the Pathway FiT DNA test, some people are more inclined to crave foods, even when they’re not hungry. There’s a big difference between hunger and cravings. Often, we may want a snack when we’re bored, tired, or upset, or when we’re dehydrated. Rather than immediately turn to the pantry for a snack, try drinking a glass of water. Or if you can’t avoid those hunger pains, reach for vegetables or fruit.
- Find Healthy Alternatives to the Snacks You Love
As shared before, life is about balance and food should be enjoyed. If you love the saltiness of chips and French fries, find a healthier alternative to a salty snack, such as roasted chickpeas or snap pea crisps. If you prefer sugary snacks, berries are a delicious alternative to cookies. Or, find a recipe for a healthier cookie, like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Love sour candy? You can’t go wrong with a crisp green apple.
- Don’t Stuff Yourself, But Don’t Starve Yourself
As you’ll see, the key word with diets is “balance.” The same goes for how much you eat during a meal. Many nutritionists agree with the Okinawan rule, which is to eat until you’re 80% full. It takes around 20 minutes to digest your food, so eating until you’re 80% full gives you room to feel 100% full within the next half hour. On the other hand, don’t starve yourself. Calorie counting can be dangerous, as you need to eat enough calories to stay energized, especially when you’re exercising.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If you indulge too much over the weekend, don’t punish yourself. Perfection is impossible and unnecessary for a healthy life. If you overeat during a meal, work it off at the gym later in the day or week. Exercise and dieting go hand in hand, so when you go off a diet, hit the gym to make up for it. If you spend a few weeks away from the treadmill, eat a healthy balance of foods so you still feel naturally energized and fit.
Celebrate National Nutrition Month by determining your unique diet type and discovering healthy foods you love to eat! Eating healthy has never been so delicious.