Making changes involves a lot of effort and this concept is especially true in the case of deeply ingrained behaviors like dietary choices and rituals. Despite the initial surge of motivation that accompanies the decision to go on a weight loss diet, the process often weakens our willpower reserves, especially if we don’t have a carefully crafted plan to deal with difficulties that can and most likely will occur down the road. Since motivation levels can fluctuate widely over the time, relying solely on willpower is not usually a wise strategy. Here are a few strategies that can prove useful if you want to follow through on your plans:

Select tasty substitutions Deprivation rarely works over long terms and swearing off your favorite foods can quickly backfire over the long term. Finding healthy, low-calorie substitutions and/or setting rules about portion sizes and frequency of indulgences can prove extremely helpful. Just make sure that the substitutions are really a healthier choice than the thing you are trying to avoid, as sometimes healthier sounding options can be deceiving.

Burn it off Slip-ups inevitably happen and feeling guilty after things don’t go as planned can make things even worse. Taking a proactive approach and attempting to limit the damage by burning some of the calories you ingested when binging will greatly limit the emotional reactions associated with this event and encourage you to continue your plans.

Each day is a new one approach This tip falls right in line with the previous one and also encourages an attitude that enables you to make the necessary corrections along the way instead of beating yourself up over mistakes. The longer you doubt your skills and ability to follow through on your plans, the more likely you will be to engage in behaviors that support this idea, so go back to your normal routines ASAP.

Pack healthy food Having healthy snacks at hand can be a great choice when you hit energy lows and are tempted to reach for unhealthy vending machine treats that are available with little effort. Carrying a piece of fruit, dried fruit trail mixes or perfectly portioned snack options with you at all times will make it easier to make the right choice when huger pads strike.

Track waist size The scale might fail to deliver the results you’re hoping for, which can leave you feeling discouraged and frustrated. However, progress is often more evident in terms of how your clothes fit and the centimeters you have lost will sometimes be a more noticeable cue that you are, in fact, moving in the right direction.

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