"10 Tips for Sticking to Your Diet"   by Stella Juarez

Protein shakes, tuna, broccoli and oatmeal are great for building muscles but let's face it, there are days when pizza & other junk seduces you away from your goals. Whether your dieting for a show or just trying to break bad habits, these 10 tips can help you stick to your diet.

1.  Stay out of the kitchen except when it’s time to eat.  After eating, clean up, grab a glass of cold water and turn the lights off.  The kitchen and its immediate surrounding area are now CLOSED. 

2.  Prepare your meals in advance and stick to PRE-SET eating times.  If it means eating cold chicken & broccoli in the car, so be it!  Not only is this good for your metabolism, it’s also good for your sense of discipline and control.

3. Keep Tabs.  How many more meals or grams of protein do you have left to go in the day.   Do you really want to eat this junk now and then out of guilt, cut back on the meals that are going to actually help you reach your goals?

4. Do the math! Having a latte a day or some other little vice you just can’t seem to give up?  Multiply the calories, fats, and carbs of one portion times 365.   The shock value of what “just one a day” can be enough to stop you dead in your tracks.  Why not let the collective days of saying “No” add up in a positive direction?

5. Do something busy and productive. Fold laundry, do the dishes, walk around the backyard, call a friend you haven’t talked to, send a thank you card, go flex in the mirror or look at your abs.  Do anything but give in!

6.  Brush your teeth.  Heck, floss ‘em since you hardly ever do anyway!  Don’t let little sugar bugs eat your pearly whites!

7.  Talk to Yourself. “It’s not as is I’ll never, ever eat this again.  I just won’t eat it at the moment.  Besides, I already know what it tastes like!”

8. Beat a Sweet. If your craving sweets, try drinking a glass of Crystal Light with crushed ice or eating a frozen strawberry or peach slice.  If your really desperate, try eating a few pickle slices to kill your tastebuds.  Sometimes feeding the craving only strengthens the craving, so practice resisting it once in awhile.

9. Think Realistically. If you want to eat because you feel bad that you’ve already “blown it”, deeply consider how it is that pizza or a burger is going to alleviate that guilt or solve the problem.

10.  Visualize. Take a deep breath and mentally replay your best workout or look through your training journal.  Remind yourself of how much time and effort you’ve invested at the gym and ask yourself it you want to hinder results over a stupid cookie here and there.

You are human. It can be hard to eat clean when everyone around you just doesn’t seem to care.  Don’t kick yourself for always seeming like you have to fight cravings.  Don’t call yourself weak because you find “dieting” difficult.  Simply acknowledging your cravings exist and thinking of silly little mind tricks to stop them can help develop a sense of empowerment.  Your mental success will only lead to the very real success of visible results.

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