6 Tips to Get Back on Track with Your Healthy Diet

Article posted in: Nutrition
woman drinking water to get back on track

You did it before. You lost the weight that was holding you back. Then life—and all its deliciousness—somehow snuck up on you. Unfortunately, this happens to the best of us. We tend to relax after we hit our goals, forgetting that a healthy diet is a lifelong effort. The good news is that you did it before and you can lose weight again. Plus, we’re here for you! Our nutrition experts have put together a list of tips to help you get back on track with your weight loss goals.

Here are six simple tips to help you jump back into your healthy diet:

1. Set New Goals

back on track

You can’t get back on track if you don’t know where the track is! Setting goals helps you to put your plans in perspective and gives you something to work towards. Plus, research tells us that they really do work. Let’s take New Year’s resolutions for example: A study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, found that 46 percent of New Year’s resolvers were successful after six months. Less than 50 percent might not seem too great. However, compare that to the success rate of nonresolvers: just four percent!

From this research, it’s pretty clear that just by setting a goal, you’re more likely to achieve success. Try setting smaller, attainable goals that include a realistic timeframe. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and can set a follow-up goal once you’re ready.

2. Create a Grocery List

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Well first, purge. And be ruthless: Chips, crackers, desserts and soda should be the first to go. Don’t forget about the ice cream in the freezer, too! If you’re going to get back on track, you need to eliminate temptation.

Second, re-familiarize yourself with our approved foods. Many (but not all) can be found in the South Beach Diet Grocery Guide. Write down your favorites and create yourself a list so you aren’t buying foods you won’t or shouldn’t eat. Stay on the periphery of the grocery store where fresh produce, meats, fish and dairy products are located. Only visit the center aisles when absolutely necessary and stick to what’s on your list. At the checkout, keep your eyes on your cart—not the sweets and treats all around you.

3. Keep Track of Your Food

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Just by keeping a food diary, participants in a 2008 study lost twice as much weight as dieters who kept no record of what they ate, says Science Daily. You can track your meals the old fashion way with paper and pen, use the notes in your phone, or look for a smart phone app that provides a food journal.

4. Start Exercising Again

back on track

When you lose your weight loss momentum, it’s normal to want to cut out the hard stuff—like regular exercise. Because what you put in your body is just as important as how you move your body, the South Beach Diet recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day during weight loss and 60 minutes per day during weight maintenance.

Don’t forget that you can mix daily activities and sports to fulfill your prescription for health. Push-mow the lawn for 30 minutes. Try hand-washing your car. Go golfing and pull your clubs. Play kickball with your son or daughter for 30 minutes. Exercise doesn’t mean 60 minutes of mindless time on an elliptical machine or training for a triathlon. It’s more about just making a conscious effort to move—or do things differently than you did before (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator). Start slowly, build up gradually and stick with it.

Now, if you are exercising but have stopped losing weight, consider this: Weight loss reduces the amount of calories you burn. So what worked last year or six months ago may not work now. If you’re walking, try jogging and then start running—even for short bursts. If you’re not lifting weights, invest in some five or 10-pound dumbbells. It can help you maintain and regain lost muscle mass and “help prevent metabolic slowdown,” says Healthline.

Pro Tip: Do you have a friend you used to work out with? Ask him or her if you can start exercising together again. Exercise buddies hold us accountable and challenge us to work harder.

Looking for some fun workouts? Check out some of our favorite fitness routines below:

5. Stay Hydrated

back on track

Water flushes your body of toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, aids digestion, normalizes blood pressure, cushions joints and helps your body maintain its electrolyte balance, says Harvard Health. Another reason we love water? According to Medical News Today, it suppresses your appetite by giving you the sensation that you’re full. Plus, there’s evidence that people who drink water may burn more calories just by drinking it cold.

On the South Beach Diet, we recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. So, if you’re 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 75 ounces of water. However, please note that this is just a recommendation and you may need more or less fluid based on your activity level or other factors. Speak to your doctor to ensure you are hydrating properly for your specific needs. Add citrus juice, add herbs, add tea bags if you must. Just get used to drinking plenty (if you’re not) and it can help you lose weight.

Having trouble getting in your fluids? Try these Five Simple Tips to Get in More Water! > Infused water is also a tasty way to boost your H2O intake. Click here for 14 Infused Water Recipes to keep things interesting! >

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6. Forgive Yourself

back on track

Feeling frustrated? Disappointed you gained weight? Feel bad that you overate? “It happens to all of us,” says Registered Dietitian Courtney McCormick. “If you find yourself overindulging a bit too much, don’t beat yourself up over it,” she says. Just recognize your mistakes and move on. Learn from your errors and get back on track with your healthy diet with a positive mindset.