10 Ways to Stick to a Diet and Resist Eating Everything You Crave

Group of friends and family dining at table
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Do you struggle to stick to a diet? You're not alone. Some dieters don't have trouble sticking to a diet when they are alone in their own home. But then they go to parties or social functions and their willpower fades.

There are solutions to help you stay strong and committed to your diet. Use these tips to learn how to stay on a diet no matter where you are so that you reach your goal and get the body you deserve.

How to Set Weight Loss Goals

You'll never be able to stick to your plan if you're not clear about why you're on a diet in the first place. The first step in your diet-boosting plan is to write out your weight loss goals and motivations for weight loss.

Start a journal, and be very specific about why weight loss is important to you. If you're not sure where to begin, you can use these questions as a guide:

  • Will weight loss change my health?
  • Can losing weight help me become more active?
  • Will weight loss help me participate in activities that are hard for me right now?
  • Will losing weight change or improve my relationships with family members?
  • Will I feel more confident in a thinner body?

Of course, there is no guarantee that losing weight will change your life, but many successful dieters find that it does. If you know the specific weight loss benefits you're trying to achieve, you can remind yourself of your goals when your commitment starts to sag.

As you move through the weight loss process, revisit these targets. Make adjustments and add new goals if you start to experience new or unexpected benefits of healthy eating, exercise, and active living. 

Tips for Sticking to Your Weight Loss Diet

Sticking to a diet when you're at home is one thing. But sticking to a diet in social situations is completely different. At parties, happy hours, and even in the workplace lunchroom, you'll be around treats and snacks that can derail your diet. And it's not always easy to get away from the food.

Since it's not likely that you'll have your weight loss journal on hand to serve as inspiration, these are a few sneaky tricks that smart dieters use to stick to their diet when everyone around them is enjoying high-calorie treats and beverages:

  • Separate from food. This seems like an obvious strategy, but you'd be surprised how often we navigate to the kitchen at parties and barbecues. Instead, forge a new path. If the group is in the kitchen surrounded by open bowls of chips and other snacks, ask the host for a tour of the house or find a quiet spot for a relaxing chat with an old friend.
  • Face away from the table. If your event is in a one-room space and the food table is set up in half of it, you'll have a hard time separating yourself from the treats that will derail your diet. But you can face away from them. Find a friend (preferably one who is not eating) and position yourself with your back to the buffet or food tables. Then strike up a conversation and talk your way out of diet-ruin.
  • Chew gum. One of the best ways to banish food cravings is to chew gum. Find a strong mint flavor to enjoy and keep it on hand. Chewing gum will leave you with fresh breath and no desire to taste sweet or salty foods. 
  • Get chatty.  Your mother probably told you that it is not polite to talk about food in your mouth. So one of the best ways to stick to your diet around others is to talk, talk, talk. In fact, your hungry friends may thank you as it gives them more time to indulge.
  • Avoid alcohol. This tip is especially hard during the holidays. But the fact is that drinking wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages not only adds empty calories to your waistline, but it also diminishes your motivation to stay on a diet. 
  • Keep a drink in your hand. Even if you avoid alcohol, you should still keep a beverage on hand while you're standing around at parties, buffets, and barbecues. It's harder to eat if one hand is occupied. Low calorie or no-calorie drinks help you to feel full and they fill your mouth with flavor so you don't feel deprived.
  • Get busy. Your party host/hostess will love you and stick to your diet will be easier if you ask for a job at your next social function. Greet guests, set the table, take coats, organize the kids, or offer to do dishes. When you get busy, you have less time to eat and you spend more time socializing.
  • Find an accountability buddy. If someone you know is also on a diet, make an agreement to hold each other accountable throughout the night. Then check in with each other occasionally to keep each other motivated.
  • Be honest. Don't be afraid to tell friends, co-workers or family members that you are trying to eat a healthy diet or lose weight. Sometimes the confession itself helps to keep you accountable. And your friends may be willing to support you as you make smart decisions throughout the night.
  • Create positive self-talk. It can be easy to feel deprived if you feel like everyone else gets to eat whatever they want and you have to deny yourself foods or drinks that you love. But you can turn that negative thinking around to help stay on your diet. Before your event, make a list of a couple of things that you gain by sticking to your diet at the party, like self-confidence, a feeling of accomplishment, or a guilt-free morning the day after the event. Remind yourself of these special benefits if you start to feel bad about missing out.

Remember that sticking to a diet is challenging for everyone. But with some advance planning and savvy tricks, you can keep to your diet and reach your goal.

Was this page helpful?