Family, Self

6 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Diet (And Get Your Family Involved!)

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how to stick to a diet when you love food

It seems a bit contradictory to say keep your mind off food during a diet. After all, you’re changing your lifestyle and food plays a big role.

You may be obsessing over what you can eat and what you can’t eat. Eventually, this will cause you to either binge or restrict food, create anxiety, or completely cause you to give up on following the correct dieting tips and creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself altogether.

The goal is to feel good, stay emotionally fit, and eat food you enjoy while on your diet, not worry or obsess about what’s changing in your life.  So what is the best way to stay in control of your new lifestyle and keep your mind off food?

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Here are 6 diet tips that you’ll find easy to implement. They not only offer you ways to enjoy the food you love while learning how to stick to a diet, but they also help you keep your metabolism going, getting your family involved in the process:

1. Plan your meals for the week. 

Planning your meals will take the worry out of "what should I eat?" Many people enjoy meal planning and knowing what you’ll be eating on each day will take the guesswork out of what eat. You can even plan your snacks.

You can get your family on board by asking each person to write down their favorite meal (make sure they know fast food is not on the menu) and add that to your meal planning. Then, the night you cook their chosen meal, that can be their night to help with cooking.

Meal planning also helps reduce stress on busy school nights and work days helping you keep your mind off your diet and focused on the days’ activities.

2. Grocery shop off your meal plan list. 

Sticking to your list will ensure you are sticking to your diet. A good suggestion is to shop from the perimeter of the grocery store. The perimeter of the store boasts the healthiest choices.

If you bring the family along, divide your shopping list. Older children can go off on their own to get the items you know they will be successful at getting. Have younger children help by letting them put the food in the shopping cart.

This is a great opportunity for you to teach your family how to shop from a list of the freshest produce and perishables around the perimeter of the store.

Bonus: Teaching your children to follow a list will set them up for success in their adulthood and it saves you money because you’re less likely to purchase extra items.

3. Don’t deprive yourself. 

Deprivation can lead to overeating and emotional stress. You don’t need to deprive yourself of the food you love when making lifestyle changes. Learn how to combine your food in the correct way and eat in 2-3 hour intervals and you’ll never feel deprived. You’ll notice a shift in your weight and metabolism.

Adding in foods you love with the ones you feel are necessary for overall health will stop the feeling of deprivation which will also create a good eating practice.

Never cut out food groups unless medically necessary. Try not to label any food group as "bad" because that leads to a negative mindset towards food in general which can cause you to eat too little.

Meet yourself where you are and make positive changes do not beat yourself up over what not to eat. Deprivation leads to binge eating then your mind will constantly be on food. To prevent that from happening, adopt the healthy practices suggested.

RELATED: 15 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Weight Loss Journey

4. Drink plenty of water. 

Staying hydrated will curb your appetite and reduce cravings. At times when you feel hungry, it may very well be a sign that your body needs water.

Drinking water first is a great way to check in with your hunger. If you are no longer hungry after drinking, you’ve saved yourself some unnecessary added calories. Your body feels satisfied and you no longer crave something to eat. If the hunger pains do not subside think of when you last ate. Are you eating every 2-3 hours?

Make sure you drink at least 64 oz. of water per day. This will help flush toxins out of your kidneys. Kidneys are your bodies main filtration system. Keep them in check with lots of water.

A quick indicator of dehydration is if you notice your lips getting dry, that’s a sign that you need to hydrate. If water is not your thing, flavor it with berries or citrus fruit. You’ll see that many of your cravings subside keeping your mind off of food by staying well hydrated.

5. Stay active.

Having a hobby or participating in physical activity will keep your mind off your diet and focused on enjoying life. Do something you love! Physical activity creates endorphins which create feelings of happiness. Ask family members to join in the fun. Walk, ride bikes, take a group class at your local fitness facility.

If you like to paint, craft, or do woodwork, teach your family your skills. These are things you will enjoy together for years to come. Your mind will not have time to focus or worry about a diet when it’s engaged.

6. Choose healthy snacks.

Snacking on food that is rich in fiber and high in protein will prolong your hunger. Plan your snacks in advance as you would your meals to prevent overeating. Keep them within reach.

A good idea is to keep a basket on your kitchen counter that contains snacks with a calorie count of one to two hundred calories per snack. You should plan to eat these snacks two to three hours after a meal and have one at least an hour before bed.

Dieting does not have to be as hard as you imagine it might be. Follow these six suggestions to set yourself up for dieting success.

Kick start your new lifestyle with these methods and you’ll see the pounds slide away for good. And, as an added bonus if you’re a parent, you’ll see your kids leading a healthier life too.

RELATED: 11 Insane Fad Diets That Will Actually Destroy Your Health

Barbara Ann Bruno is a Speaker, Author, and Women's Empowerment Coach. Her goal is to see you successful. She helps women reach their weight loss goals in realistic ways. No fad diets, only realistic eating, and fitness that meets your needs. Barbara will meet you where you are on your journey. Contact her today to get started.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.