8 Tips for Sticking to Your Eating Plan
Here’s how to stay on track, no matter what, without missing a thing. Brought to you in partnership with Protein One.
Sometimes sticking to your healthy eating plan feels easy, natural, and like you could do this forever. But we all want to treat ourselves to that plate of nachos sometimes, and that’s okay! Avoiding temptation 24/7 is impossible, but staying on your weight-loss path doesn’t have to feel like an all-or-nothing deal. It’s all about managing impulses, so we’ve rounded up some tips for staying satisfied, with some help from Vera Sweeney, founder of lifestyle and parenting brand LadyAndTheBlog.
When routine goes out the window, sticking to your weight-loss path gets way trickier. If you know you have an event after work, an odd schedule, or no way of knowing what food will be available and when, pack some healthy options, such as a Protein One.
“In order to ensure that I stay on track with my health goals during the week, I have to spend some time meal prepping each Sunday,” says Vera. “Staying organized, creating a workout schedule, and laying out all my lunch and snack portions ahead of time ensures that I never have to make any impulse purchases while out that I might later regret. I’ll even make sure to stash Protein One bars in my bag so I always have a healthy snack on-the-go.”
Knowing that you’ve got this will give you the confidence you need to make good decisions. If you’re in a pinch, just reach into your bag.
Don’t skip breakfast
You’ve probably been hearing this since you were a kid, but it was true then and it’s true now: Eating breakfast is the first good food decision of the day. It kick-starts your metabolism by telling your body that there are plenty of calories on the way, so no need to hoard them. It also replenishes your brain and muscles, setting you up for a killer day at work. High-protein and low-sugar choices will keep you full until lunchtime, so less likely to reach for a mid-morning snack. If you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast (and really, who does), take something on the go.
Protein is your friend
If sugar and carbs are your manic friends, protein is the one that never lets you down. A diet high in sugar and carbs can cause blood sugar swings that have you slaying work one minute, then slumped at your desk craving a snack the next.
“As a mom of three who has a full-time job, I admit that it's not always easy to eat right in between car pools and business meetings,” says Vera. “That's why leaning on protein-packed snacks has become a solution I can depend on. I can carry them wherever I go—no matter where I am or how full my workload is for the day.”
Adding protein to your diet will keep you full longer and curb cravings. Another neat metabolic secret is that protein requires more energy to digest and helps you build lean muscle. With 10 grams of protein, just 90 calories, and 1 gram of sugar, Protein One is balanced fuel for any fitness or general weight management goal.
The thought of never, ever being allowed to eat a certain food only makes it infinitely more appealing—setting the timer for an eventual breakdown. If you love something, have it! If you view having a little of what you love as a pause, rather than a setback, you’ll be less likely to fall into the deal-breaker attitude that so often undoes progress.
Going out tonight? Eat your afternoon snack.
There’s a misconception that going out for a meal must be preceded by hours of hunger or the whole day’s a bust. But skipping your usual snack sends a message to your brain that something is seriously amiss, and that dinnertime is go time. Avoid overdoing it by arriving suitably hungry, but not ravenous. This way, the healthier menu options will hit the spot.
Keep snacks around
Good snacking choices come down to what’s available (example: the snacking horror story that is every road trip), so plan ahead. Stock up on better-for-you snacks and keep them in the places that you’re most likely to reach for them. If you know you can’t concentrate while you’re hungry, keep them on your desk at work. If you’re always late, stash them in your handbag. Making good choices easier is just smart snack strategy.
Throw a snack in your gym bag
Avoid the temptation to reach for an empty fix like sugar or a bag of chips by making healthy pre- and post-workout snacks a feature in your gym kit. A hungry start will impair your performance, so eat a light snack one to two hours before your workout (make that gap longer for vigorous exercise), and be sure to hydrate and eat a high-protein snack like Protein One afterward to help your body recover.
Eat what you love
As in any relationship, forcing it won’t work. If you hate salads, don’t make them! Meal planning shouldn’t feel like penance, it should make you excited. If preparing and buying food doesn’t make you look forward to eating it, stop and think about what you actually enjoy. There’s a big wide food world out there, so trust that there are healthy options you’ll enjoy—and go find them.