The mindset switch

These two tips can help athletes stick to healthy eating.

The weight-loss formula is often summarized as eat less, exercise more. However, “there’s a gap between knowledge and action,” says Ted Spiker, author of the book Down Size. “We can be inundated with information or be given a plan, but what makes people change in a lasting way?”

According to Spiker, there are two mindset shifts can help people make healthy changes that will stick.

1. Accept the slip-ups.

Dieting is one of the only areas of life where we don’t accept mistakes, Spiker says. “At work, we make mistakes, we learn, we do better; in relationships, we have fights, we work it out. We don’t expect perfection. But if we fail at a diet—overeat or consume something we don’t think we should—we throw in the towel and say: ‘Forget it. I ruined it.’ We never accept the fact that we can make mistakes and be flexible. In the long game, you have to have that mindset.”

2.Use if-thenstatements.

This is a willpower tactic that can serve as plan of attack when temptations arise, Spiker says. The gist: Figure out a game plan before an event that might trigger overindulgences. So, if X happens, you do Y. “If I’m going to a party, then I drink three glasses of water between drinks; if I am going to a pizza place, I’ll order a salad have only a slice,” he offers as examples. “People who use ‘if-then’ more effectively handle temptation because it helps them deal with impulses.”

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