Healthy eating and lifestyle can help you lose weight, improve your health and wellness, and prevent risk for diseases. Despite all these benefits, it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet because eating healthy is not always easy. If you’ve been dieting for a few months, or just a few weeks, and are finding it challenging to stay consistent and motivated, you are likely not alone. Staying consistent in a diet is way more difficult than starting a healthy diet plan. If you want to know how to keep your dieting on track, here are a few tips to help you stick to your diet plan this time and make most of it. 

1. Find your motivation

The first step on the journey is “why”. Before you even try to decide to make a change, you must first consider why you want this change. Make a list of your reasons, whether that’s a number on the scale or a special piece of your wardrobe, or fitting into a certain pair of jeans, looking your best for an event or something of bigger impact such as preventing a certain disease, improving your self-confidence, living longer and keeping up with grandchildren. Once you’ve found your motivation, then just hold on to it. Refer to this list when you feel you need a reminder. Thinking about your motivation can help you stay on track.

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2. Learn important skills

Before making healthy changes in your eating habits, you should learn few important skills, such as how to keep yourself focused and motivated every day, how to curb your food cravings, and how to get yourself back on track immediately after a cheat diet.

3. Set realistic goals

Always set small, realistic, and achievable goals as goals that are too big and unreal feel too far away to achieve. If you set your goals too high, your plan may backfire. People who expect to lose weight too quickly are more likely to get discouraged and drop out of a healthy diet and weight loss program. Small goals can help keep you going strong because being close to reaching an end target can help you hold out for a little longer.

4. Listen to your body needs

Try to understand your body’s true needs. Keeping in tune with your body’s hunger and satiety signals is important for weight loss. Teach yourself the difference between hunger and craving, and eat only when you’re hungry. Next time you feel like eating, pause for a moment and ask yourself whether your body really needs an energy boost or you’re just trying to cure your boredom.

Always respect your body and treat it with dignity. Learn to honor your dislikes. If you’ve tried a specific food several times and don’t like it, don’t eat it in compulsion. We are fortunate enough to have plenty of food options available to choose from. Eat happily and choose healthy food options.

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5. Aim for consistency, not perfection

It’s essential to keep in mind that it’s not always about perfection as much as it is about consistency. And aiming for perfection could end up disappointing you more than it helps. You cannot change your diet overnight and then become perfect with every food choice.

Don’t feel like you must avoid any temptation or unplanned cheat meals. Eat in a very healthy way but allow yourself to enjoy some of your favorite foods every once in a while, in moderation. And it’s ok to indulge a little, every now and then. It might even help your progress.

6. Plan your meals ahead

People often are not prepared to deal with their temptations before they are in front of them. A pre-planned strategy could increase your chance of success. One of the best ways to keep yourself on track is to plan your daily meal in advance so that you have healthy options on hand if you get hungry. Preparing your meals ahead of time can really help you to stay on course. If you don’t cook, then you should have some healthy ready-to-eat snacks. Chances of eating unhealthy food increase when you are hungry and don’t have anything healthy to eat. So, keep unhealthy foods out of the house or out of sight.

7. Do eat less but more frequently

The best and simple mantra to lose weight is eating fewer calories than you burn. But eating fewer calories doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself, starving would only slow down the metabolic processes of the body and would harm you and affect you psychologically.

Dividing your daily calories into small frequent meals will help you control your appetite and weight. Eating small meals more frequently will fulfill your satiety levels.

8. Make your plate more colorful

The best way to get all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is to include fruits and veggies that make up all the colors of the rainbow. These nutrient-rich foods are high in fiber and water and will give you a feeling of fullness and you won’t feel hungry.

9. Sip slow and more frequently

Sipping water all through the day will make you feel fuller and satisfied and you will not feel the need to eat as much. You will have fewer cravings and this will keep you from over-eating. People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger and end up eating unnecessary extra calories. At times when you feel hungry, it could be a sign of thirst. So always sip on some water first to see if the hunger persists. Dehydration can disturb electrolyte levels in your body. Check electrolytes with a quick test.

Diet and exercise go together

Eating a healthy diet and exercising at the same time increases your chances of success. You will get the results much faster by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Track your food intake and measure your exercise progress to stay motivated and keep going. It may help you stick to a healthy diet and leads to greater weight loss.

Rectifying your habits and improving your diet is not easy. However, these tips can help you stay on right track. But they don’t include everything. Each dieter is different; you have to find out what works best for you in the long run.

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Are you aware that your heart, the organ which you usually and casually blame for your unwarranted actions, actually doesn’t control your emotions? It, in fact, allows pumping of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. It beats over 100,000 times per day and pumps about 1.5 gallons of blood every minute. It keeps itself superactive so that you can keep going. But are you taking enough care of your heart health? Heart disease has become one among the emerging health issues in developing India.

As per the WHO, more than four out of five heart disease deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and one third of these deaths occur prematurely in people below 70 years of age.
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Keep abreast of emerging heart issues with health tests

Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are some of the common risk factors for developing heart conditions. While your doctor is the best guide to help you identify your risk of heart disease, it is important to know that some blood tests hold a lot of importance to diagnose and manage heart conditions.

Top blood tests for diagnosing heart disease

1. Lipid profile test:

Also called cholesterol test, this test measures the levels of fats in your blood and can point out towards your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other heart disease. This test typically includes measurements of various other numbers:

  • Total cholesterol: This refers to the amount of cholesterol in your blood. An increased level of total cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. In general, your total cholesterol should be under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: Also called the “good” cholesterol, it helps keep arteries open and your blood to flow more freely.

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: Also called the “bad” cholesterol, too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can lead to plaque deposition in your blood vessels, and results in reduced blood flow. These plaque build up may rupture and cause major heart and blood vessel problems.

  • Triglycerides: These are another type of fat in the blood, high levels of which can raise your risk of heart disease. Your triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L).

For your reference:
Total cholesterol = HDL cholesterol + LDL cholesterol + 20% of Triglycerides level

2. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein test (hs CRP test)

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein which is produced by your liver as part of your body’s response to inflammation that may occur due to an injury or infection. The hs-CRP test can spot lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. A raised hs-CRP test values indicate a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

This blood test has a great significance in diagnosing heart conditions as it can help determine your risk of heart disease before you have symptoms. An hs-CRP level above 2.0 mg/L is considered to indicate an increased risk of heart disease.

However, CRP levels can be temporarily increased by many other situations other than a heart disease, like a viral infection. Hence, some experts may suggest doing the test twice, two weeks apart.

Remember, only looking at hs-CRP levels may not be enough to arrive at something definite. Your doctor can ask for other health tests as well, and combine your hs-CRP test and other blood test results with your risk factors to get an overall sense of your heart health.

3. Natriuretic peptides test

Brain natriuretic peptide is a protein that your heart and blood vessels make to help your body eliminate fluids, relax blood vessels and excrete sodium into your urine. When your heart gets damaged, levels of BNP entering your blood increases.

Different people can have different values for normal BNP levels since it can vary based on the age, gender, and being overweight.

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4. Troponin Test

Troponin (or cardiac troponin) is a type of protein found in your heart muscles. It isn’t normally found in the blood and is released into the blood when heart muscles become damaged.

A troponin test looks for the level of troponin in your blood. As more and more heart muscle gets damaged, greater amounts of troponin are released in the blood. Two types of cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and I (cTnI) are used as cardiac markers to identify heart injury or damage. A high level of troponin in the blood may indicate you are having or recently had a heart attack.

Some studies have found that troponin I is more specific and a better cardiac marker than troponin T for heart attack.

Remember that one blood test alone may not determine your overall risk of heart disease. If you think your lifestyle or family history can put you at risk of developing heart disease at an early age, get in touch with a doctor, book yourself these blood tests as advised, and improve your lifestyle habits.

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