First up is all about planning ahead and always knowing what you are going to be eating for at least 1 week in advance, sit down on a Saturday or Sunday morning and plan the following weeks meals then go out and get all the ingredients you will need.
Make meals that can be used on more than one day like a slow cooker recipe, it can feed you and your family one evening and probably the next day's lunch too. Or you can freeze some for later in the week.
Having everything on hand will make your life much easier and should stop you making bad choices in a moment of weakness.
Get your cooking equipment ready for the following morning's breakfast, pan out, oil ready and eggs ready to crack as soon as you get to the kitchen. Will be five minutes max to make your omelette as well as grating the cheese.
Prepare your lunch salad the night before and boil up some eggs for snacks, remember to get your frozen meal out before leaving for the day and it will be defrosted for your evening meal.
Stick to your plan and every everything will all into place.
2-Keep a diet dairy
Following on nicely from tip one is recording what you have been eating, if all went to plan then it should look similar to your weekly planning sheet, however if you do go off a little it is worth knowing where it went wrong. It can sometimes show you patterns into why things have slipped that can be easily corrected.
It is also useful to see where improvements can me made and what may be missing from your plan, not enough fat? or always the same vegetables? It becomes really clear when you write it down.
3-Don't get too disheartened if you do slip up
If things have gone astray then don't dwell on it for long, just put it behind you and get back to the plan. Nobody is perfect and an occasional slip up won't totally derail you. Thinking too much about it can lead to an attitude of "I might aswell have another cheat now I have ruined it". Don't let the one slip become a series of slips and lead you back to your old ways. Its times like these that leads me into the next tip.
4-Embrace the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule is there as a fallback for times of need. If you do get caught in a situation where there is no other choice or you really do have a urge for the dessert you always loved before your lifestyle change then it can really help, just accept the consequence it may bring with it and enjoy it. 100% is clearly the optimal way forward but it is the modern world full of temptation and pitfalls that can throw you off track.
This rule should only be used in times of need however, don't factor in that you have to use your 20% every day or even each week, this is especially important if your are still chasing your goal. If you are in a maintenance stage then you probably can indulge more often but still keep to as close to the maximum of 20%.
5-Keep food varied.
Routine can be great sometimes, you know where you are and where you're going with things. But the same things over and over again can become boring and lead you down the route of temptation.
Try and use as many different foods as possible not only will it keep things interesting but you will be getting a much wider spectrum of nutrition. Don't just go for your normal chicken breast dish go for the chicken livers instead. Get as many different colours in your vegetables as you can, set yourself a challenge off trying a new one each week and prepare them in different ways.
6-Learn kitchen skills and experiment.
One of my past posts was on the lost art of cooking, to be successful in the previous tip this is an important one. Learn simple skills like getting the stone out of an avocado or more complex like fully butchering a turkey, all food needs preparing in very different ways. Experimenting with new foods will require new skills and really keep things interesting. Visit my previous post for a more indepth look into kitchen skills.
7-Monitor your progress
In a similar way of keeping a food diary to see where things are going wrong monitoring your improvements is a good method of keeping you motivated. Some ways are better than others so it's worth looking at more than one example.
Weight loss has its merits but is limited into what it actually tells you. Body fat percentage can be a better measure of improvements but you can't really do it yourself and it can be invasive. Using photos to see your results from the before and after pictures can good but simply how your clothes feel is probably the simplest and consistent way of monitoring your results.
From an exercise performance point of view logging your workouts is a good idea. Track your speeds, distances and weights and when you're lacking motivation look back and see how far you have already come, seeing this can really spur you on and get the motivation to keep doing whatever you are doing.
8 - Do your research.
Read books, sign up to interesting blogs (like this one!) that are in the same field to help keep your interest. A small piece in a new book may give you a new insight into improvements you could make. New articles come out all the time on the internet, it's not all good information but if you can glean one little thing it can really help. Podcasts are another great way to learn new information when you don't have the time to sit and read a book or blog post. I will list my favorites and the end of the post.
9-Exercise in a way you enjoy
Another one of my earlier posts was on bringing the fun back into exercise, it was about finding an exercise modality that you enjoy. If you enjoy running then great you should run, if not then don't force yourself because you have heard its good for you. If it weights, great keep it up if you love it. Everyone has their own favorite form of exercise for me it's about functional full body movements, skillful and playful movements keep me interested.
Using the body the way it's designed to move is a really important to me it brings the Primal aspect of movement alive. A book that I strongly recommend to everyone is Paleo Fitness by Darryl Edwards (LInk at the end of the post) In it there are some really great movement patterns to try out that are not only functional but fun to do. If you can find something you enjoy you have a greater chance of sticking with it.
10-Contact with others
Use social media to connect with other people doing the same thing, keeping in touch with people going through the same experience as you can help your motivation to continue. You can get ideas from others that inspire you particularly when you see the results they are getting.
Share recipes or workout ideas, other people will come up with new ideas that you haven't thought about that could make all the difference, and visa versa, you could be the inspiration they need.
I hope these tips can help you in some way, whether you implement all of them or just one, if it helps you stay on track then it's a good thing.
If you have any of your own methods for keeping on track then please post it on the comments page.
Keep it Primal
Recommended reading and listening.
For Paleo Fitness by Daryll Edwards visit http://paleofitnessbook.com/