Sticking to a diet can be really difficult. And I’m not just talking about dieting for weight loss. I’m talking about anyone who has to change what they eat on a regular basis – whether they are just trying to eat healthier, need to avoid certain foods due to a health condition, or want to fit into their old clothes. No matter your reason for doing it, it can be really tough!
Luckily, using a habit tracker can help no matter which type of diet you are on or why you are doing it. Granted, it can’t do the work for you, but it will help keep you accountable and motivated so you can reach all of your diet goals in a way that is sustainable.
That being said, below I’ll be going over the many benefits of habit tracking while dieting. And providing you with dozens of different goals and habit ideas to help get you started.
How A Habit Tracker Helps With Dieting
There are dozens of reasons you should use a habit tracker while dieting, but some of the most important ones can be found below.
It Serves As A Reminder Or Trigger
How many times have we said to ourselves, “Oh, crap! I forgot I was on a diet”. Usually, this comes to us right as the heartburn or stomach ache starts kicking in. But when you use a habit tracker on a regular basis, it helps remind you that you are actively working on your food intake. And if you place it where you’ll see it every day, it will constantly trigger you to use your tracker which will help keep your habits in place.
It Holds You Accountable
When something holds you accountable, it basically means that you are being held responsible or liable for your behaviors. A habit tracker does this by reminding you about the habits you are working on – so you can’t use forgetting about them as an excuse. A habit tracker also requires that you actually complete a habit before checking it off, so you can’t lie to yourself about having done them or not.
It Provides Motivation
Using a habit tracker can be motivating because it allows you to see all of the progress you have made. And knowing you were able to stick with your habits in the past, gives you more confidence to keep moving forward. Plus, just the act of marking your habits as complete, either with a checkmark, sticker, or other habit marker, can feel satisfying and motivate you to keep going.
It Shows You Patterns
A habit tracker can help show you patterns in your behavior. Perhaps, for example, you have trouble completing your diet-related habits on the weekend or while on vacation. A habit tracker can show you this so you can start working on finding a solution. It may also help you see which habits you’re slacking on so you can make any adjustments if necessary.
It Provides Important Information
A habit tracker can be a great place to store information about your diet. Some habit trackers have space for you to write down your weight, calories, body measurements, and other information. You can also write in information pertaining to how you’re feeling since many diets can mess with your hormones and cause unpleasant side effects.
Many of you probably have a diet goal already in mind, but if you don’t, you can use the suggestions below to help you brainstorm some ideas. Feel free to rephrase your goals to make them more specific or add deadlines to them if it works better for you.
I want to . . .
Below is just a small sampling of habits you can use to achieve your diet goals. How difficult you make your habits and how often you do them, is completely up to you, but it is typically recommended you take things slow so your body has time to adjust.
Remember, you can always increase or decrease the difficulty of your habits as you progress. And if you’re habits aren’t working for you, can always try different ones. The key is to be flexible so you can avoid negative experiences that can derail your diet before you even get started.
Using Sub-Goals And Mini-Goals
Dieting can be very complex. And if you have a goal that seems too big, it can feel overwhelming. In cases like these, it can be helpful to break your main goal into smaller bite-sized goals (which we call sub-goals or mini-goals) that you can work on one at a time.
In the above example, you can see how someone might break a larger goal into three smaller sub-goals which seems more manageable. Remember, you won’t be starting on all three sub-goals at once. Typically, you will start with one sub-goal, start completing a few habits to achieve it, and then start working on the second sub-goal. And then so on.
Finding Your Motivation
Always keep in mind that a habit tracker only works if you use it. This is why it can be helpful to figure out your motivation before you start dieting. This will give you something to look back on if you’re going through a difficult period. It can also give you the willpower to continue your habits while you wait for the results of your diet to start showing up. One of my favorite methods for finding motivation is to use the fill-in-the-blank prompts below.
Using Fill-In-The-Blank Statements
If you need help filling in the blanks, a quick Google search will show you hundreds of reasons why eating healthy is good (some of which may surprise you). The key is to focus on the reasons that are relevant and meaningful to you because those are the ones that will motivate you the most.
And remember, you don’t have to write a long essay about your motivation. You just want to start thinking of ideas and jotting them down so you can look back at them when times get tough. And it doesn’t matter how unimportant you think your reasons are or if you think they’re superficial. Nobody is judging you if you want to look good in your clothes.
Why Slow Diet Changes Are Best
Although a habit tracker can be used with any type of diet, even crash ones, it’s good to keep in mind that habit formation is the most successful with small gradual changes.
Smaller diet changes are more sustainable because they provide your mind and body more time to adapt. Smaller and more gradual changes are also easier to achieve, thereby decreasing your chances of failure (which can cause you to quit) while providing you with more confidence as you move forward.
What Type Of Habit Tracker Should I Use?
When it comes to choosing a habit tracker to help with your diet, there are several things you should consider.
- Determine whether you want to use an app (which is more portable) or a paper-based habit tracker.
- Figure out what time period your habit tracker will cover. Will it cover just one day or will it show you a week, month, or even a year of habits.
- Consider how many habits you will be tracking. Normally, you will start with one habit and slowly increase, but eventually, you may find yourself tracking 5-6 habits that will require more space.
- Determine how much information you will need to store. Do you just need a simple check-off list type of habit tracker? Or do you want something that will also hold notes like your weight and other measurements?
- Don’t be afraid to use more than one tracker or switch them up. For example, may use one tracker to record your weight and body measurements and then another to record your habits. Or you may use your habit tracker in conjunction with a daily planner or bullet journal.