Dieting doesn’t actually suck if you think about it. It’s pretty great: it’s new health-boosting foods, a little variety, just the right amount of challenge; what’s not to love?

The part of it that does suck is everything else that comes with it. You know what I’m talking about; skipping the sugar and carbs, and eating the right fats. It’s all the dos and donts, and all the extra work and thought you have to do that you didn’t have to do before.

Now, while we sympathise, we also have good news: there are ways to deal with all the stuff you hate about diets.

Missing sugar

If your diet allows it, eat fruit. Go for those that are predominantly water-based, like watermelon, grapefruit, strawberries, or cantaloupe. On diets like keto, where sugar and carb intake are extremely limited, you may even need to cut out fruit. This might sound nuts, but buy chewy vitamin supplements and eat only the recommended amount for each day, that should hit the spot.

Missing carbs

There is no substitute for pasta. I know this better than anyone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play around with substitutes. Try chickpea pasta, zucchini pasta, and spaghetti squash. And focus on making the sauce tasty so you don’t miss the consistency and flavor of the pasta as much.

Eating healthy fats

Thankfully, cheese is pretty much always still on the menu. The stuff you want to avoid is primarily present in processed and ready made foods, so to avoid them, practice throwing together your own quick versions of your favorite ready made foods.

Dealing with prepping

I hate food prepping. A lot. But there are ways around it. Don’t cook meals ahead of time, cook foods when you have time. Rather than making a week’s worth of brown rice and broccoli; roast a few different veggies on a baking sheet in the oven with different seasonings and separate them into Tupperware in the fridge. Do the same with chicken and fish, or beans and other legumes. When you’re ready to eat later in the week, grab a few different veggies and mix and match them with your protein. Just like that you have meals for the week that aren’t boring or repetitive.

Dealing with deliberating

Planning ahead and creating the right environment are the keys to avoiding decision fatigue every time you want to eat. Sit down one day ahead of time and work certain things out. For example, “If I’m eating out, I’ll order a meal with a lot of vegetables and get protein on the side”, or “I’ll always keep fruit out on the table, on the countertop, and in my purse so that if I get hungry a healthy snack is within reach”. Making decisions in advance means that you’ll have to employ fewer decision making skills in the moment.

How do you handle the difficult parts of dieting?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams