Do you start every January with a health and fitness goal, promising yourself you are going to clean up your diet?

Focusing on your health is always a great goal and I fully support you, but if you’re anything like I used to be, you’ve started this journey before.

You’re trying your hardest to stick to a very low calorie diet, you’ve hidden all the chocolate and banned anyone from having a takeaway within a five-mile radius of you! Sound familiar?

It’s easy to make it through week one when your motivation is high, but by week three your motivation has dipped, you’re feeling really hungry and craving every single chocolate bar you see!

This isn’t your fault, it’s an entirely normal feeling when you’ve cut out everything you love from your diet in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

As soon as we start to remove things from our diet, hide foods or even ban them from the house, we put ourselves into a state of restriction and this can be the start of a vicious cycle of craving these foods even more than usual.

When we finally snap and rebound on our diet we fall head first into the bucket of hidden chocolate, overeat, feel awful and loop all the way back to restricting again, and so the cycle of restriction and over-indulging continues.

The key to improving your diet is not only enjoying your favourite foods in moderation, but creating a diet you truly enjoy eating.

Whether you set a new year resolution of getting fitter, healthier, losing fat, or maybe all three, the diet plan that works is the diet plan you enjoy.

Remember, the only way to maintain your hard-earned results is by continuing with your new healthy habits forever.

Are you really going to give up eating chocolate forever? No, of course not!

So now is the time to learn how to enjoy some in moderation as part of your new healthy lifestyle.

Changing your mindset around food isn’t easy but it is important. Knowing that less nutrient dense foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle is key, here’s my three top tips to help clean up your diet:

  • Reduce don’t remove. Swap a family size bar of chocolate for two fun size bars, swap large bags of crisps for a small individual bag, and swap half your pizza for salad or vegetables.
  • Increase your protein intake. Protein rich foods are satiating and will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, have more eggs, fish, meat / meat-free alternatives, beans, pulses and whey protein powder.
  • Load up on fruit and vegetables. It might not be a household favourite but please include as much fruit and veg in your diet as you can, eat the rainbow and get to grips with your greens to feel less tired, to help reduce your risk of heart disease and to improve your gut health.