Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Diet

The weather is miserable, the Christmas cheer has completely passed and you’re looking out to a bleak and dreary January and February. But if that diet resolution you made on New Year’s Eve seems like an impossible dream and you’re finding the biscuit tin just too hard to resist, you’re not alone. More than a third of women on a New Year’s diet are secretly cheating. In fact, according to studies, close to 90% of us admitting to failing on previous January healthy eating plans. But don’t give up. Remember that it’s simply a case of knowing how to tackle the common problems that can derail your diet. So ensure that 2010 is the year you finally stick to your resolutions with the following tips.

1. Unattainable goals

If you think you’re going to lose three dress sizes in a month, never eat chocolate again or spend two hours at the gym every day, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Apart from the fact that losing weight so quickly is not healthy, it’s also relatively impossible. Set yourself more achievable, short-term goals such as a pound a week or fitting into your skinny jeans by March. For example, to lose one pound you must cut back on 3500 calories – this is 500 calories a day for a week. That’s the equivalent of those extra few chocolate digestives and taking a brisk walk every day with a friend. It sounds simple but you could lose a whopping 8 pounds loss in two months.

2. Bingeing in secret

If no one else sees it, it doesn’t count – is the mantra for over a third of dieters. Handbags and drawers were found to be the favourite places to stash supplies of junk food. Some women even admitted to bingeing in their car! Try replacing snacks in the cupboard healthy ¬alternatives, such as nuts, yogurt ricecakes or fruit, so you won’t be tempted to eat in secret. And next time you’re on your own and you grab something fattening to eat, ask yourself: “Would I eat this if someone else was in the room or would I be too embarrassed?” If the answer is yes, then don’t do it!

3. Partner persuasion

It might seem like he’s deliberately tempting you by bringing home that tub of ice cream but it probably hasn’t crossed his mind that his behaviour’s making things difficult for you. So if your partner is in the habit of tucking into a calorie-packed meal right in front of your face, let him know he is sabotaging your attempts to get thin. And why not get your man involved in your new, healthy regime? That way you’ll both feel the benefits and you’ll be able to support each other as a team.

4. Giving up

So you went out for a meal with friends, ate chips and had a glass of wine. But this is not the problem. The problem is when you think: I ate too much on Friday, so I may as well carry on all weekend! To try and solve this, ditch the all or nothing mentality. Don’t use slip-ups as an excuse to give up. Just move on and try harder next time. A study from the International Journal of Obesity found that people with a flexible approach to eating – one that allows for some ‘bad foods’ – were more likely to maintain their weight loss than dieters with an all or nothing strategy.

5. You can’t stop comfort eating

It’s only human to run to food as comfort – since many of our rituals are linked with food from early on in life. You’re not alone if you eat for emotional reasons whether it’s because you’re fed up, lonely, or had a bad day at work. But try choosing food-free mood lifters instead. This could include activities to distract yourself from comfort eating, such as phoning a friend, painting your nails or best of all exercise which will provide you with lots of natural endorphins.

6. You hate gyms

Not all of us are made for gyms. They can be trying places at the best of times. Watching the healthy people jog as you sweat on the treadmill in your old clothes, feeling like an unattractive marshmallow. But sadly, a healthy diet and exercise go hand-in-hand and it’s only that combination which gives great results. You need to find the right exercise for you. Look for local sports teams or dance classes, or simply fit exercise into your daily routine by vacuuming with a bit more vigour, walking to work and taking the stairs instead of the lift!

7. You have health food fatigue

Anyone who tries to stick to a diet of salads and jacket potatoes with cottage cheese, is destined to diet failure, because let’s face it – they’re pretty boring foods to eat every day. The key is to keep eating foods that you and your family love otherwise you will always revert back to your old bad habits. So if Shepherd’s pie is a family favourite, you can still eat it, just tweak the recipe. Use half as much lean mince, half the baked beans, and fill half your plate with steamed green vegetables so you’re eating a smaller portion.