Going on any type of restrictive or elimination diet is challenging, but it’s even more so when there are constant distractions and “cheat” foods all around you. After some challenging moments, when certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Devon Byrne almost gave in and grabbed a half-eaten roll from someone else’s bread basket, she figured out some strategies that helped her successfully make it through her healing diet. Are you considering some type of an elimination or healing diet but are worried about how not to cheat and how you’ll really make it happen? Learn seven diet hacks that will help you stick to your diet and ensure success.
After having tried and failed many elimination diets, I’ve learned there’s one important thing you need to do before you even begin any type of a diet. To come out on top and stick to your diet plan, you have to establish why you are doing this and stick with it! As simple and obvious as it sounds, make sure you know your end goal and your motivation for doing this diet. Your willpower builds its unwavering strength from motivation. I’ve failed a few times at an elimination diet because I was never fully committed to its reasons and rules. And then, after you know why you are on this diet with a clear goal, you need a game plan on how to stick to your diet.
Planning ahead and anticipating what can lead you to cheat is key. Here are my 7 tips on how to help you stick to your diet.
- Carry a large water bottle with you at all times.
Like, 48-fluid ounces large. A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces daily. Add 8 fluid ounces for every small cup of coffee you drink, and up the volume even more if you’re exercising. Hydration makes you feel satiated and keeps all your systems in tip-top shape while you detox. If you get bored with all the plain water, simply add lemon slices. (Bonus- lemon also aids in digestion!)
- Replace snacks and cravings with alternatives.
We all have our standby snacks that we crave, and when you have to cut them out as part of any diet, you need to have “safe” but still satisfying alternatives. These alternatives will help you stick to your diet when temptation for forbidden snacks creeps in. Your go-to snacks should be something you can carry around with you at all times like certain fruits (in moderation), beef jerky, beet chips, or carob-coconut-collagen cups. Also find alternatives for your favorite food textures. Flourless banana pancakes (They actually taste like pancakes, I promise!) are a great substitute for the classic breakfast flapjacks. Need something crunchy and salty? Replace pretzels with sprouted nuts or grain-free chips.
- You can’t buy too many vegetables.
That means you can’t cook too many either. Veggies are so good for you and can help to keep you full. I always make sure to have lots of cut up veggies with me (carrot sticks helped me fight my craving for crunchy breadsticks!) There are so many ways you can cook veggies too so you don’t have to be limited to eating only one type of veggie cooked one particular way. Eat as many allowable veggies as you want to help yourself stick to your diet plan.
- You can’t cook too much broth.
Bone broth is the elixir of a healing gut, and it’s a protein-rich food that will keep you feeling full during your diet. Just like veggies, you really can’t have too much. Use it for braising, making soups or on the go pho! Make a huge batch and take some with you in a thermos. It will help keep you full, plus bone broth has lots of gut healing benefits too! Find a recipe for Turkey Broth (with added collagen) here.
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
Keep in mind that intense cravings come from hunger. One night, during my job at an Italian restaurant, I nearly transformed into a werewolf, eager to pounce for the pizzas that floated by me as whiffs of cheesy-bread temptation drifted behind. Lesson learned? If I had eaten dinner before I started work and really satisfied my hunger… this wouldn’t have been an issue! Being full of “safe” foods will help you ward off cravings and stick to your diet!
- Know your restaurant hacks.
Sticking to your diet at home is easy once you get into the swing of it… the challenge comes when you go out to eat. I know the cravings for forbidden foods can be pretty insane in a restaurant where so many tantalizing foods are around. You have to take control and ask questions to the waiter: “Do you add sugar to this?” “Are these gluten free?” Salads are usually safe bets if you ask for no dressing, but plain lettuce won’t necessarily cut it! Be prepared with a small container of your favorite diet-friendly condiment or dressing so you’re not munching on dry foliage while your friends and family mow down on the goodies.
- Establish an ally.
Unless you’ve decided to completely cast aside society during this diet, chances are you won’t be alone for the duration of your elimination diet. While it may seem like a strategic move to hunker down in a safe place to avoid getting affected by the tide of societal temptation, reality is you will most likely have to be around other people. So find someone you can count on to hold you accountable and help you stick to your plan is vital. You need someone to give encouragement AND tough love. Someone you can reach out to if you are facing temptation, and you know they will text you right to help you get back on track. They don’t have to eat exactly what you do all the time, but your ally must have a genuine respect for the journey you are on.
Easy, right? Well, maybe not always, but these seven tips can help you not only survive, but stick to and succeed at a restrictive diet. If you’re craving additional support, I’m a click away with more tips on dialing in on your willpower, why you should always read food labels and how to deal with food loss after a pantry clean out!
Read more from Devon Byrne at her website www.nativewisenutrition.com.
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