Learn how to control diet without depriving yourself and you'll be on your way to a lifelong healthy eating plan. So many people simply go on one diet after another, eating "normally" in between these diets. Then, they gain weight and begin the whole cycle over again. Learning how to control diet involves making smart and healthy choices the majority of the time and making this the new normal for your diet. Once you've successfully accomplished this, you'll never have to worry about going on another diet again.
- Look at the big picture. It's tempting to congratulate yourself on a day when you avoid unhealthy fat, skip the fast food and opt for a piece of fruit for dessert. Likewise, it's easy to feel like all is lost when you go enjoy a cookout with your friends and can't resist eating that second helping of meat – and beans, and potatoes and dessert. Whether you've had a great day or a questionable one, keep in mind that's only one day. Truly knowing how to control diet means understanding that some days will be better than others and that it's your long-term eating patterns that matter, not just the last 24 hours. Instead, try to control diet by looking at your last week of eating and making adjustments as needed for the week ahead.
- Know your calorie range. Instead of throttling yourself when you go over some "magic" number, try staying within a reasonable calorie range for you age, height and level of physical activity. By learning to control diet in this way, you can keep an eye on calorie consumption without driving yourself crazy. This is also a great way to evaluate your eating over a period of time, seeing that you stay within your given calorie range with healthy eating on most days.
- Make good choices. If you choose mostly healthy, low-fat and low-calorie foods in their natural states for most of your eating, you will be able to easily control diet. It is extremely difficult to eat too much if you are filling your plate with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean, healthy proteins.
Allow yourself the occasional splurge without guilt or worry. This is what learning to control diet is all about. You control it, it doesn't control you. This means having the control to make healthy choices most of the time, but having the same control when it's time to let yourself splurge and enjoy life a little. This doesn't mean you have to go home and eat four steaks for dinner, but it does mean allowing yourself the steak and enjoying the potato with a little butter and sour cream on it without a cloud of guilt hanging over your head. Just don't make it your new, go-to dinner.
- Learn about portion control. Even those less healthy choices are significantly less damaging to your diet if you know you've only had one serving. Portion amounts can be surprising. Get in the habit of checking serving sizes and measuring your most commonly eaten items until you know them and can accurately eyeball them. Then, easily control diet by having just one serving of foods.