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Cheaters Never Prosper—Especially When It Comes To Dieting

When it comes to dieting, it’s a struggle for anyone, even the strictest dieters, to keep on track 24/7. Help yourself by applying these strategies that’ll make it easier for you to stick to your plan, and eventually reach your health and nutrition goals. Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel of dieting!

1. Choose restaurants wisely.

You don’t have to torture yourself by eating a salad in a place that serves pizza, pasta, and pastries—do yourself a favor and just go somewhere else. Think of it this way: restaurants will give you an idea of how tempting it’ll be to ditch your diet just based on the cuisine they offer. Italian restaurants mean a lot of pizza, pasta, oil, cheese, and carbs. Ramen haunts will leave you no choice but to get sodium-rich broths filled with rich meats and noodles. Brunch hot-spots will be teeming with sweet pastries, shakes, and sinful meats. Eat smart by choosing your cuisines wisely and swapping more tempting menus for more diet-friendly ones. Ditch the ramen for Vietnamese Pho, which is said to be full of nutrients and vegetables that are good for the metabolism. Swap Italian for a sashimi and sushi bar. Pass on the brunch spot for that new whole food restaurant. Strategic swaps like these will make it that much easier for you to stick to your diet.

2. Don’t buy what you don’t want to eat.

When avoiding temptation, what you don’t have won’t tempt you. If you don’t have any junk food or sweets at home, then you won’t be faced with almost irresistible snacks. When going grocery shopping, only buy what will be good for your diet. Be strategic, too. Buy sweet fruits like strawberries, melons, and mango to replace dessert pastries and goodies if you know you need something sweet at the end of each meal. If you have a weakness for munching on potato chips, buy plain unsalted nut mixes instead.

3. Water is your best friend.

Ditch the canned or packaged juices, soft drinks, shakes, and sweet coffee drinks. Canned and packaged fruit juices are loaded with sugar and preservatives, and soft drinks have been found to contribute to obesity while doing nothing for you nutrition-wise. Shakes and sweet coffee drinks are loaded with sugar and calories, too, so go simple! Nothing beats water when it comes to keeping yourself hydrated, and it has zero calories. Go for black coffee when you need your caffeine fix—it speeds up your metabolism and won’t give you any unnecessary calories.

4. Eat your greens first.

It’s an old trick recommended by dietitians, nutritionists, trainers, and fitness experts. Instead of eating your greens as a side dish, eat them as an appetizer. It’ll fill you up quickly and leave you less likely to overeat when it comes to the main course.

5. Plan your cheat meal and use it for inspiration.

Dietitians and fitness experts generally recommend having a cheat meal every week—not a whole cheat day, but rather a guilt-free meal every week. A whole cheat day could be counterproductive for your diet progress, but a cheat meal helps keep you on track without throwing away a week’s worth of dieting. Psych yourself to look forward to your cheat meal every week, and make a special occasion out of it. Plan it around date night, or really go all out for that one treat meal a week. Think of it as a reward for a week’s worth of sticking to your diet.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.