Dieting can be extremely tough, but there are lots of ways you can make it easier and stay motivated throughout. No matter what the reason may be for dieting, these 8 handy tips will not only help to keep hunger at bay, but will provide you with that little extra boost you may need when it starts to really get difficult!
1. Exercise portion control
Controlling the amount of food you consume for each main meal, as well as snacks, is a very smart way of reducing the amount of calories you consume. And if you do it right, you won’t really notice any difference until you get on the scales!
Our advice would be to start slowly with controlling your portions, and don’t go overboard by removing half your usual meal! All you need to do is just make some small cuts and be smarter about how much you eat.
If you are looking to control the amount of calories you eat each day and you have a specific number you need to stick to, then spreading out your calories between each meal and snack is extremely important anyway. So portion control, and learning how to do it smartly and not leaving yourself feeling hungry is the way to go!
2. Keep a fruit stash
One of the most common ways to ruin a diet is through snacking. More often than not we find ourselves reaching for the cookie jar because we think that just one more won’t make a difference – but it will!
Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that they are not allowed to snack when dieting, but having a couple of snack times (usually morning and afternoon) is a great way to keep the metabolism going between main meals, and to keep hunger at bay.
But snacking on the right thing is important, so don’t make it difficult for yourself. Stash lots of fruit so you can access it easily. If you work in an office for example, then stash it in your desk drawers, and make sure you keep it well stocked.
3. Use smaller plates
Now this may sound a little silly, and surely we have the will power to not pile ridiculous amounts of food onto an already decent sized plate? Well the problem with that is that we all do it without even realising it!
A smaller plate will not only instantly reduce the amount of calories you consume, but it will also make you realise that you weren’t as hungry as you thought you were. It can often take up to 30 minutes for hunger to fully disappear, and that’s why we often keep eating – not realising that we have actually had enough to satisfy our hunger already.
You can also use this mantra for packing your lunch when you go to work. Make sure you use a relatively small container, and then you can pack it as much as you want! You will still find that you are eating less, but you won’t realise it.
4. Brush your teeth before bedtime
You’ve often heard that eating at night is a contributing factor to weight gain, and in some respects this may be true. However, what ultimately makes you gain or lose weight is the amount of calories you eat during the day.
Sure, if you eat just before you go to sleep, then you are not really giving your body chance to burn it off as you won’t be active. This is why it’s always advisable to eat at least 2 hours before you go to sleep. The problem however with that is that your last evening meal might be at least 4 hours before you go to sleep, which leaves you feeling hungry and cranky.
A great way to combat this hunger is to brush your teeth after your last main meal. The reason why this works is that you usually don’t feel like eating straight after brushing your teeth. You have a nice minty tasting mouth which you don’t want to ruin, and any food or drink tends to taste funny as well. Mouthwash is also a great way to keep hunger at bay.
5. Use ‘selfies’ as motivation
Taking a ‘before’ picture is a great motivator when it comes to dieting. If at any point you are really struggling and need a kick up the bottom to get back on track, just take a look at your ‘before’ picture to remind yourself why you are dieting.
Dieters often forget why they are trying to lose weight in the first place, so remembering why you started this journey is a great way to keep going. If this doesn’t work for you, then don’t hesitate to try something else. Just make sure you give yourself constant reminders.
7. Watch your liquid calories
It’s so easy to focus entirely on what we eat when it comes to dieting that you can forget about what you drink. The liquids that you consume can often be high in calories, and may put you over your daily allowance without even realising it!
Alcohol is of course one of the worst drinks you can have if you are trying to diet. A pint of lager will contain on average almost 200 calories. Soft drinks can also be quite bad – a can of coke can contain around 40 calories!
Apart from the obvious health reasons for avoiding alcohol and soft drinks, cutting these out altogether, or at the very least reducing them dramatically will make it much easier to stick to stick within your calories for the day.
8. Dig out those skinny jeans
If looking at photos of yourself before you started the diet doesn’t help keep you motivated, then digging out your old jeans certainly will! We all know how frustrating it is when some of our old clothes don’t fit anymore – so use that as the perfect motivator to stick with the diet and keep shedding the pounds.
9. Move those leftovers – immediately!
Leftover food can be a very big temptation, so make sure you don’t leave it lying around. As soon as you’ve finished plating up, pack it away in a container ready for the fridge once it’s cooled down.
It may also be tempting to go for seconds once you come back into the kitchen, so it’s also really important to put it away as soon as you can. That leftover food will also be a nice bonus the next day when you raid the fridge.