Five Simple Fixes to Make Your Diet Stick

My clients do Pilates for a huge range of reasons. Some are hoping to alleviate back pain; others take it up to tone their core. A few are just hooked on how the movements feel, lengthening and strengthening their muscles.

But many of my students take up Pilates with the aim of losing weight. Pilates is an excellent component to anyone’s workout, and centering and stretching your body on days off from cardio. But fitness is only one component of a weight-loss regimen: food, and our habits around it, is just as key.

Of course keeping to a diet is easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tricks that support good habits. If you’re beginning a diet, or want to keep your current one on track, the tips below will keep you on the path to success.

  • Gradually reduce your sweets. Some people try to eliminate sugar cold turkey. But unless you have a health condition that requires such action, it’s best to ease into the new sugar restrictions. I’ve seen too many friends and clients cut out all sweets successfully for several days, only to cave in at a party or office event—usually in dramatic, ravenous fashion. This does more harm to your body and its hormone levels than just keeping with the old, sugar-steady diet! Instead, take a moderate approach. If you used to have dessert or a sugary snack every day, taper down to having them every other day, then every three days. Eventually, you can save those desserts for special occasions with friends, and sweets will be what they’re supposed to be: treats!

  • Don’t skip meals. It’s critical to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Skipping breakfast or lunch means that, should a lone donut happen across your path, you’re much more susceptible to accepting it—or maybe two. Though you want balanced meals, make sure they have plenty of protein, which will keep you full until the next dish.

  • Keep to one alcoholic drink per day, max. If you drink too much, you’re probably going to eat too much. This happens to me when I’m meeting friends for dinner but aren’t that hungry. I end up loading up on drinks, and then cave in to (usually greasy) food. Alcohol can be a catalyst to all sorts of foods that, three drinks in, seems like a super idea to stuff down one’s maw. Instead, order one drink and at the same time order a protein-heavy salad or snacks like roasted almonds and olives. That way you don’t have a chance to change your order to french fries when the drink is finished!

  • When out to dinner, choose either alcohol or dessert—not both. Since you’re out with friends, it’s worth celebrating with a treat—but don’t go overboard. Both desserts and sugary cocktails are highly caloric. Choose one or the other, and actively savor it!

  • Drink lots of water and tea. Sometimes when I’m craving juice or fruit, it occurs to me that I’m actually just craving the water in those products. If this happens to you, drink a full eight ounces of water, then wait five or ten minutes and decide whether your body really needs those fruity sugars. Tea is also perfect as an afternoon treat. I enjoy Weightless Tea by Traditional Medicinals, which has a natural appetite suppressant and diuretic. (On a separate note, the tea is great to have when you’re feeling bloated, especially right before your period.)

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