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Eeeee!!! Here I am. On Day 10 of my 42-Day Eat Good Challenge 2016. And so far, so good! I’m really surprised at how much easier this one is than last year actually, but I credit it to the following tips I’ve come up with over the past 3 times I’ve done this challenge. So here they are: 7 Easy Tips to Stick to Your Diet!

I’ve made a video about this, so that might be easier for you to digest. GET IT?! DIGEST?!?!?!

Video of 7 Easy Tips to Stick to Your Diet

And if you would prefer to read, here are the 7 Tips (but it’s funner to watch the video!) :P

#1: Make a Long-Term Goal

When I say long-term, first of all, I don’t mean like a year. I mean a manageable amount of weeks that is not too overwhelming for you to consider. That may be 3 weeks. Maybe 4 or 5. For me, the sweet spot is 6 weeks. It’s long enough to really get into some fantastic habits and also long enough to hate what I’m doing at times and have to persevere…

But it’s not so long that it feels like forever and that I’ll never make it…which just leads to failure anyway.

But the main point is that it’s longer than just a few days, so you can go through some struggle to accomplish it and so that you have to adapt some new strategies that you didn’t used to use, to begin learning how to incorporate better habits on a regular basis…so that when you’re finished, the good stuff comes naturally.

Here is an example of my Long-Term Goal for this particular challenge. I tend to use sticky notes for this stuff, as you’ll see. And here is the one I’m using this time:

image of a sticky notes with 42 boxes and 6 crosses

#2: Make a Daily Plan

For me, personally, this is the most important step of any I’m about to give you. I have to make a daily plan when I do these kinds of challenges, or when I am really committed to the success of anything — whether it be work, getting in exercise, eating the right stuff, etc.

I use little sticky notes again for this kind of stuff.

My daily plan that I need to use is a list of all the food I plan on eating, including snacks and water. I find that getting to cross things off a list helps to keep me focused and motivated. This might not work perfectly for you, but try it and see if it helps. Just the commitment of putting it on paper does the trick for me.

When I filmed this video on Monday, here was my daily list for what I was going to eat.

image of list of food meals

You can see that I didn’t quite get to my goal of 3 30-ounce mason jars of water, and I didn’t end up eating the Lara bar and the orange, but I ended up adding veggie burgers to the end, to make up for it.

Flexibility is ok as long as you’re staying on plan, and it just helps to have it written down so you don’t get off track.

#3: Drink Lots of Water

So if you know me, you know that I am a kidney stone former (lucky me!). I went through a lot of research and trial and error to find out how to stop them for myself, and one of the main steps was drinking a LOT of water during the day.

And yes, I do have to pee like ALL the time, because of it. :) But that’s a small price to pay compared to the fun of kidney stones! I also cut out spinach, beet greens and a few other things just in case.

But drinking more water is a good thing for ANYONE to be doing. There are a few main reasons why.

image of cheri holding a large mason jar full of water

First, when you drink lots of water, your cells get properly hydrated and you are able to digest and function much better than on less water. I have found that when I am super hydrated, I get much less crave-y than without, true story. And that is definitely worth the effort to me…to not crave as much junk just because I’m drinking water!

And helping your body digest your foods better, and perform all bodily functions better…that’s definitely worth the effort as well.

My trick for drinking lots of water is to have a large glass to use that I can fill a certain number of times through the day. I cross that off the list just as I do the food I’m about to eat for the day, because the two are equally important to me.

#4: Eat Lots of Fiber

Okay, I’m decidedly NOT talking about taking Metamucil or some fiber supplement here. That’s a COMPLETELY unnecessary thing when you get enough fiber from your foods.

And if you’re getting enough plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, etc), you will automatically be getting the right amount of fiber. Don’t eat those fiber-cereals, that’s just as much as a waste. Just get fiber from the natural plant foods themselves and your digestion and waistline will thank you! You’ll also get many more phytochemicals (plant nutrients) in this way.

image of fiber foods

What’s even more, you will feel fuller when you eat. The best part is you can eat massive amounts of plant foods, feel full and satisfied, and you won’t have taken in many calories. That’s natural weight-control right there! That’s why plant foods are so powerful — they give you so much fiber and micronutrients, while giving you the right amount of macros (protein, carbs and fat) all while keeping you healthy, energized and ridding your body of disease.

You can’t say the same for meats or refined grains. Did you know that animal meat or any other animal foods like cheese have absolutely no fiber whatsoever? Fiber is only found in plant-based foods…so eat them, and make sure to get the whole natural varieties!

#5: Try 1 New Recipe Per Week

When you start to take charge of your health by eating more plant-based, fiber- and nutrient-filled foods, you will not only see a change in your waistline and energy levels, but you will also need to make a commitment to learn more about how to prepare them to keep them interesting.

The way I was before I started really focusing on my health and trying challenges like this, was that I was always eating the same old boring things. I ate a lot of pasta and boxed meals. I took the easy way our a lot and relied on candy and fast food, packaged processed foods and sugary drinks. There’s not a lot of nutrition in any of those foods, so I was seriously deficient in so many vitamins and minerals.

But over time, as I started to branch out and include more and more healthier plant-based foods into my diet, I realized that I would have to learn new techniques of cooking and food preparation if I wanted to stay interested. I’d get on a smoothie and salad kick and sort of be paralyzed into eating only that because I just didn’t have the knowledge to use other techniques.

image of shopping list and grains

I knew it’d be a long journey to get here, but I’m now at a point where I feel that I have enough knowledge in my brain to keep myself interested and informed…but hey, it only took like 3-4 years!!

That’s a long time to keep trying at something…but it’s worth all the effort to learn. So that you can “arm” your brain with the knowledge and skills to keep you on track when you’re scrambling for ideas on what to eat next.

You’ll be able to just look in your fridge and imagine 3-4 different possibilities from a random assortment of veggies and beans and grains.

But unless you put the work in during the beginning stages and put in the effort to learn the new techniques, and what the news foods are, you’ll always set yourself up for failure.

Make it a goal to try to cook one new thing or recipe per week, and within just 2-3 months, you’ll have a whole slew of ideas in your head to choose from the next time you’re in a rut.

#6: Plan the Same Meals 3-4 Days at a Time

For me, I find that it’s absolutely impossible to eat a brand new thing for every single meal of every single day. And I’m sure that you’re exactly the same as me. Heck, you’ve probably even got a much more challenging situation than me if you’ve got children, or spouses to think of, maybe you work overtime a lot, or you work the night shift…

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.18.45 PMThere are so many reasons that we can have a tough time sticking to a diet or lifestyle plan.

But if you plan for yourself and try to take it a bit easy, by preparing the same foods only 3-4 days at a time, it might be simpler.

For me, I like to choose a smoothie, and a few meals, like a salad and a soup, that I’ll make for the next 3 days. By the end of the 3 days, yeah, for sure I’m sick of it. But I didn’t have the extra special hard task of having to decide and shop for completely different meals all the time.

This will even save you money in the long run.

And it will help YOU stay on track if you’ve got to prepare completely other meals for loved ones who don’t follow the same lifestyle or diet plan that you do.

#7: Make a Shopping List

And last but certainly not least, is to keep control over yourself when you’re at the grocery store. (Of course, also try not to go when you’re hungry! Try having a smoothie before next time.)

But by all means, as long as you’re doing all this planning for yourself, you should plan what you’re going to get at the store as well. I know this step helps me stay on track a lot. And I even say in my head before I go, “This is all you need and it’s all you’re going to buy. Trust the planning you’ve put into this: no impulse buys!”

Here is my shopping list from a few days ago, when I decided to make 2 salads and a soup for this past few days.

image of list with recipes

I’m making the Apple Bok Choy salad recipe that’s already on my site and Kimberly Snyder’s “Dharma’s Kale Salad”, plus I defrosted a soup I had in the freezer and ate some yummy avocado along with it.

Since I’ve been working on incorporating this lifestyle as much as possible, I’ve been buying staples for this kind of eating all along. It’s an investment in your health and well-being, and I find that to be one of the most important investments you could ever make, don’t you?

 

Hope this list helps!

What’s Your Favorite Tip To Stay On Your Diet?