5 Small Changes To Make Your Diet Last, As Told By An Expert

by Stefani Pappas

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I've worked with countless individuals who want to lose weight.

When you first start a diet or weight-loss program, you feel amazing! That initial rush of adrenaline and vigor inspires you to make healthy changes.

This initial inspiration can last an hour, a day or maybe even a week.

Then, a holiday party or candy bowl at work pops up, and you completely forget why you even started a diet in the first place!

There are some tips I share with my clients to keep them consistent throughout their journey toward better health.

They will help you stay focused. Make your diet last and finally turn your healthy motivation into a lifestyle.

1. Make an inspiration board!

This is something that I have almost every one of my clients do.

Go to your local store and grab a few health magazines, a large piece of paper or poster board, scissors, and tape. Take a look through the magazines and cut out words and pictures that speak to you.

Don't just go for "skinny" models. Focus more on objects and words that inspire you.

Put together a collage and know that it doesn't have to be perfect; as long as the inspiration board speaks to you, it counts.

Once you are done, place the board in a spot that you view daily, like your walk-in closet or bathroom. Look at the board every day to help inspire you throughout your journey.

It may sound simple, but trust me, it works!

2. Get a support group.

Working with a dietitian can help tailor a program to your specific needs and give you expert advice.

However, there are tons of support groups online that you can join to help inspire you during your journey.

Even going to a class regularly at the gym can help build a group of friends who you enjoy spending time with and simultaneously keep you motivated to continue exercising. CrossFit and other community-based fitness programs are other great tools to explore.

It's difficult to stay motivated by yourself, but having friends who support you along the way can make things seem more effortless.

3. Build in non-food rewards.

How often do you see people lose weight, and then gain all of it back?

Once many people hit their weight-loss goal, they tend to celebrate by reverting to their old eating habits.

Throughout your journey, build in non-food rewards. Plan a trip for when you lose the weight, or treat yourself to a manicure or new pair of jeans during your journey. Take time to reward yourself for your hard work, and focus on activities that will make you happy.

4. Keep a food journal.

Many of the foods we eat contain hidden, excess calories.

Keeping a food journal helps you track your food consumption and quantify what you are eating. Staying diligent with tracking your food can help you understand what you can eat in a day.

Download MyFitnessPal or any other food journal diary, and be sure to stay consistent!

Some apps will even remind you to track your food if you forget to track a meal, and this is another great strategy to hold yourself accountable during your weight-loss journey.

5. Focus on a feeling.

Looking "skinny" is a superficial, impractical goal.

When you lose the weight, how do you want to feel? Strong, sexy, powerful and invigorated?

Focus on feelings of empowerment when you are trying to better your health. After you eat a healthy meal or work out at the gym, how does that make you feel?

That kick-ass feeling has much more promise than anything else! Identify why you are on this journey, and remind yourself daily that good health is priceless.