By Brandon Sundwall, Certified Trainer

Staying true to your diet is hard. Life is full of endless nutritional pitfalls, so here are some tricks to avoid those inevitable temptations.

1. Eat Breakfast

This old adage has some basis in fact as studies have shown that those who eat an early morning meal tend to have more lean body mass. Try a balanced approach with a serving of protein, some healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates to fuel your day. Breaking your fast with a balanced meal will help prevent dips in blood sugar leading to food cravings. Try my personal favorite of a two egg / two egg white mixed veggie scramble with half an avocado and a cup of sautéed sweet potato.

2. Snack on veggies

Food cravings will come, so rather than reaching for chips try some pre cut vegetables such as peppers, carrots or broccoli. These micronutrient packed alternatives will keep hunger at bay while providing your body with some much needed vitamin goodness. If bland vegetables don’t sound appealing try dipping them in some hummus and avoid the ranch dressing.

3. Eat before you’re hungry

If you wait until you’re starving to eat then you’re much more likely to overindulge, so time out your meals and try to eat at a slower pace before you get famished. Planning out your eating times and staying ahead of the dreaded “hanger” will keep those around you safe from starvation induced outbursts, and your midline safe from overeating.

4. Avoid Overeating / Eat Slowly

Stuffing your face like you’re in the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest isn’t a good look, so avoid the food beast look by eating moderate portions and slowing down to enjoy your meal. It takes about 20 minutes from the moment you put food into your mouth until the body registers a sense of being sated, so slowing down will give your brain time to catch up to your fork.

5. Drink Plenty of Water

We humans are over 60% water, so fill up on H20 to keep your engine running smoothly. The brain will often use hunger as a signal when the body is actually dehydrated. Don’t let your brain/body communication get its signals crossed by hydrating consistently throughout the day. Try consuming a large glass of water immediately upon waking up to get your system going. For an added twist, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to aid in digestion as well as blood circulation.

6. Avoid eating before bed

Food provides energy, and a belly full of fuel is the last thing your body needs before laying down for some Z’s. Calories eaten close to bedtime are more likely to be stored as fat than those consumed during the day, so avoid eating within two hours of heading to bed. Unless you plan on working out first thing in the morning, try to keep carbohydrate consumption lower during your last meal of the day.

7. Preserve your willpower

Willpower is a limited commodity and things like lack of sleep and stress will drain it ever further until you just can’t resist those break room donuts. Avoid dietary disasters by taking willpower out of the equation. Pack a healthy lunch to avoid eating out and keep healthy snacks like fruits, veggies or nuts around when temptation strikes.

8. Treat yourself

Abstinence only leads to overindulgence, just ask Nathaniel Hawthorne. Feel free to indulge your inner foodie desires from time to time. Have that burger you’ve been craving or enjoy a little ice cream from time to time. The key is moderation; don’t eat the whole half-gallon in one sitting! Use “cheat meals” as a reward for clean eating during the week and really take the time to eat, slow down, and savor the treat. Completely denying yourself any of the good stuff will inevitably lead to binge eating and the death of your diet. Instead, take brief vacations from the broccoli to maintain your sanity.

About Author:
Brandon's primary focus is breaking down the science of nutrition, strength, and conditioning to help the average gym goer understand and apply it to their practice. ""My mission is to spread a better understanding of movement and nutrition to educate people so that they can improve their health.""

Experience: NASM CPT FRC Ms CrossFit L1

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