Willpower is very important when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet. However, it doesn’t stop there. Science Daily reports that healthy eating should be combined with planning, discipline, and motivation in order for it to become a habit.

Researchers from Lisbon University Institute studied how people adjusted to healthy diet changes. They surveyed 203 participants between the ages 18 and 50 about their eating habits with regard to achieving health goals for approximately three weeks. They also looked into the number of fruits and vegetables the volunteers ate on the average during a day in the week prior to the trial.

The research team found that aside from being educated about the health benefits of the right kinds of food and having the confidence to pursue their new diets, the participants’ behaviors and eating habits improved when they planned their meals and strategized on how to keep away from temptation. Keeping track of what they ate on a daily basis also helped them stick to their goals and improve their lifestyles.

“We found that having strategies in place to deal with a range eating situations that could undermine good intentions is very important,” says researcher Cristina Albuquerque Godinho.

“Planning meals or taking fruit to the workplace are examples of strategies some people use to help them achieve their goals.”

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(Photo by gameme via Flickr Creative Commons)

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