Help Yourself Over Diet Hurdles

It’s the time of year when those New Year’s Resolutions are getting more difficult to keep, and the winter weather isn’t making it any easier. You probably had a lot of enthusiasm for the first few weeks—you learned some healthy recipes, bought more fruits and veggies, probably even turned down your boss’s famous chocolate cake. But as the weeks go by, more obstacles start to creep in. Don’t be dismayed! The good news is that there are plenty of helpers to get you over those diet hurdles. 

Hurdle #1: "I don’t have time to cook." 

  • In anticipation of busy times, prepare batches of food on the weekends and freeze them until needed.
  • When preparing food, purposely make extra for leftovers.
  • Plan your meals for the upcoming week and make one weekend trip to the grocery store.
  • Buy foods that are pre-prepped: bags of chopped vegetables, pre-cut fruits from the produce section, canned beans instead of dried.
  • Throw all your ingredients into a Crockpot and voila! A healthy, home cooked meal awaits your return from work.
  • Buy healthy frozen entrees, and meals that take only a few minutes to cook. Examples include: stir fry (look for pre-cut veggies), soup, instant brown rice, oatmeal, and sandwiches on whole wheat bread.
  • The night before, set-up your breakfast (dishes, utensils, etc), pack your lunch, and plan what you’ll do for dinner.
  • For more time-saving tips, read "Fitting Healthy Habits into Your Hectic Life."
Hurdle #2: I’m suffering from a case of "Portion Distortion." 

  • Order smaller-sized or lunch-sized portions when eating out.
  • Know serving sizes and be accurate in tracking food choices.
  • Ask the server to box up half of your entrée before it arrives.
  • If you are thinking about going for seconds, wait at least 20 minutes to decide if you are truly still hungry.
  • Avoid buffets and all-you-can-eat dining options.
  • Educate yourself! When you learn what proper portions really look like, you won’t have trouble knowing when to stop. Check out The Portion Distortion Guide.
Hurdle #3: I’m an emotional eater. 

  • Plan ahead and keep busy during downtime to avoid eating out of boredom.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You might actually be thirsty instead of hungry.
  • Don’t keep sweets and junk food on hand at home.
  • Give yourself occasional food rewards, and build them into your plan. Decide ahead of time, and portion out how much you will have.
  • When you’re about to eat, ask yourself if you are actually hungry, or if you’re upset, sad, lonely, or bored. If your emotions are driving you to eat, find a healthy way to deal with them: write in your journal, allow yourself to cry, call up a friend, go on a short walk, or read a book.
  • To "Get a Handle on Emotional Eating," click here.
Hurdle #4: I don’t know what to do when I eat out. 

  • Share an entrée or dessert with someone.
  • Order dishes with lots of veggies.
  • Drink water while you are waiting for your meal.
  • Enjoy a healthy snack before you go out so that you aren’t too hungry
  • When eating out, decide what healthy option you are going to order before you look at the menu.
  • Don’t be afraid to make substitutions and special requests. Ask for dressing on the side, tell the waiter you'll pass on the bread basket, and ask for your veggies to be steamed instead of fried.
  • Don’t let the restaurants win—you’re in control of your diet. For more tips, read "Beating Restaurants at Their Own Game!"
Hurdle #5: I don’t know what to do at family gatherings, holidays, or on vacation. 

  • Eat on a regular schedule. Don’t skip a meal in order to "save room" for the next meal.
  • Plan ahead for exercise. Find out if the hotel has a fitness center or if there are any parks or recreation centers nearby. If not, bring your own travel-friendly equipment, like a jump rope or resistance band.
  • Enjoy the company and activities more than the food.
  • Plan physical fitness activities for the group.
  • Vacation can make sticking to your diet and exercise plans that much harder! But if you’re armed and ready, you can take on vacation and come out a winner. The Healthy Vacation Guide will help you return home in the same shape you left.
Hurdle #6: I don’t eat breakfast. 

  • Prepare a large batch of healthy options (fruit salad, whole grain pancake batter) at the beginning of the week and use it throughout the week.
  • If you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning, pack a healthy snack and eat it around 9 a.m.
  • Shop for quick, healthy foods once a week.
  • Eat a piece of fresh fruit every morning.
  • Click here for more "Healthy and Quick Breakfast Ideas."
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Member Comments

Good article. Report
... Report
Awesome tips ! Report
Went over my steps at our 91st family picnic. Stayed within my counts! Report
Know that the darkest night is often
the bridge to the brightest tomorrow.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie Report
Great and doable tips. Thank you Report
These are great tips. Report
great article Report
For those who can't keep sodium low enough if they use prepackaged foods, try cooking so you have enough for several meals & freeze in portioned amounts so you have your own healthy for you style TV dinners Report
I would like to know what frozen food entrees the author thinks are healthy. Based in the given RDA for salt on Sparkpeople~2300~ MOST frozen food entrees have to be avoided~they put all that salt in there ~500 or MORE per serv. to preserve it!!!~Sparkers~ if you know of frozen foods that have less than 300 mg per serv.,let me know.And I have tried Amy's and do not like them ~too spicy for my acid reflux!! Report
no more excuses, this is a good article to prevent them. Report
great Report
This article is a great excuse buster! Report
It is true when I am emotional (bored or depressed) I tend to get the world's worse sweet tooth. I am learning to be satisfied with the sugars in fruit. It takes some getting used to but it works. I work so having the fruit around all the time when I need it is a hassle. Report


About The Author

Liz Noelcke
Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.