Kicking off the New Year means planning to live a healthier lifestyle for many.
However, restrictive diets and drastic changes often make them difficult to follow, meaning many fall off before the first month of the year is over.
According to one study, the third week of January is when you’re most likely to ditch the New Year’s diet.
New data from Muscle Food nutrition experts has found that following certain rules can help you stay on track with your diet without ditching the foods you love.
Adjusting your lifestyle a little at a time can make it easier to reach those long-term health and fitness goals with data revealing that following a plan for more than four weeks means you have an 80 percent chance to keep up with the positive changes.
Importantly, experts say cutting out all of your favorite foods can actually have a negative impact on your diet.
Being restrictive can lead to long-term unhealthy habits like binge eating.
Instead, experts advise that you allow yourself to eat the foods you like, whether it’s chocolate or pizza, in moderation, as it will actually help keep you on track.
Ordering your favorite takeout on a Saturday night won’t derail your plan in the long run, as long as it’s part of a balanced diet.
There are a number of other tips that can help you change your eating habits for the better.
Laura Belshaw, brand manager for Muscle Food, said: “Many of us push ourselves to change our diets in the New Year, but cutting out large food groups or drastically increasing calorie deficits can lead to harmful habits and unhealthy relationships with food. food, so it’s no wonder many of us don’t make it to the end of January.
“When we cut out foods, this often makes us crave them more and leads to the inevitable ‘diet crash day’ where we crash and drop everything. Instead, following a smaller calorie deficit and a more balanced diet results in a long-term lifestyle change and is ultimately a more reliable way to reach our goals
“If a plan is sustainable enough to stick with for four weeks, that’s an indication that it’s sustainable enough to stick with long-term and ultimately make those health and fitness goals attainable.”
Ways to keep up with a healthy lifestyle
Tom Bennett, Muscle Food Development Chef, said: “Over the decades, we’ve seen hundreds of diet ‘fads’ promising a quick and easy way to lose weight.
“They often involve cutting out food groups like carbohydrates, which are vital in a balanced diet.
“These fads are often difficult to follow and end up leaving us defeated, so it’s best to stick to a nutritionally balanced and satisfying diet.”
Meal plans take the stress out of deciding what recipes you want to make and are a great option if you’re not sure how to make changes to your current diet.
Tom added: “Meal plans do all the hard work for you, as a nutritionist has already made sure you have all the nutrients you need and has calculated your calorie intake.
“They’re also a great option if you’re on the go or need to fit your meals into family life, as there’s no need to plan, shop or even cook if you’re short on time.
“Time constraints can often be a major factor in why people struggle to change their diet, as many quicker options like takeout make it difficult to stay in a calorie deficit.”
While you may be excited and impatient to start your new lifestyle and see results, doing too much too fast could be setting you up for failure.
Tom suggests making it a gradual process, saying, “We often see clients change everything overnight. They start a restrictive diet, follow a new exercise regimen, increase their number of steps, and go headlong.
“While moving more is an important step in changing your lifestyle, try changing one thing at a time and focus on a balanced diet first and gradually increase your activity or you may burn out in the first two weeks and find it impossible to maintain.”
Finally, remember that changing your lifestyle is about being consistent.
Consistency is key to seeing the results you want, it won’t happen overnight.
Following a balanced diet and enjoying everything in moderation will allow you to maintain a healthier lifestyle and make it easier for you to be consistent.
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