10 Ways to Restart Your Diet After a Break

By Ali Luke

Slipped into bad habits? Taken a break from your usual healthy diet? Gained a few pounds on vacation? Been ill or unusually busy?

Whatever the reason, it can be hard to recover momentum after a break. Here are ten easy ways to restart your diet:1. Organise Your Morning

Get everything ready for tomorrow before you go to bed. Set out your work clothes, your gym kit (if you plan on heading to the gym from work), and your breakfast. Getting your day off to a smooth start makes it much easier to stick to your good habits.

2. Focus On Fruit

It’s easy to let that five-a-day target slide. Try having a piece of fruit before each meal, every day for a week. It’ll curb your appetite, and it will help you get the fiber and vitamins that you need.

3. Make Lunch Special

Do you end up eating the same (calorie counted, of course!) lunch every day? Try experimenting: ring the changes with different breads – pitas, wraps, bagels and rolls, for example. Or, now that summer’s here, take a big salad instead of a sandwich.

4. Try New Recipes

Don’t just stop at lunch. If your usual dieting dinners are calorie-counted ready meals, or dull recipes that you’re getting sick of, then dig through your recipe books (or search online) and find some diet-friendly entrées to try.

5. Clear The Junk

If unhealthy snacks have crept into your desk drawer or your kitchen cupboards, be ruthless. Give them away or throw them away. Don’t test your self-discipline unnecessarily! Replace the junk food with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks.

6. Weigh Everything

If you’re a seasoned dieter, you’re probably used to “eyeballing” portions. Get back into the habit of weighing everything – just for a week. There might be some nasty surprises (that “small” baking potato? That “medium” bowl of cereal?)

7. Write It Down

Studies have shown that dieters who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who don’t. Try recording everything you eat for a couple of weeks. Have some little extras crept in? Does that smidgen of butter, dash of olive oil and sprinkling of cheese add up to more than you thought?

8. Set Goals

You might have a target weight in mind – but try setting immediate goals too. How about:

  • Seven portions of fruit and veg each day
  • Going to the gym three times a week
  • Not eating after dinner (if this is one of the times you’re tempted to snack)
  • Avoiding all sweet snacks at work

9. Find A Buddy

Have you got a friend, relative or colleague who’s also on a diet? Buddy up – you can support and encourage one another, work out together, check in on weekly progress, or simply be available to each other on the phone in moments of “I need chocolate” weakness!

10. Stay Motivated

What motivates you? It might be a mini-reward each time you reach a goal (perhaps a magazine or a movie). Many people feel motivated and encouraged by the support of other dieters.


  1. Helping People Look and Feel Fantastic at Fitness Together Minneapolis St Paul

    These are terrific Ali!

    Maybe #11 could be don’t diet without some exercise!?

    Randy Zarecki, Owner & Chief Fitness Officer

  2. Eileen

    This is such a wonderful bit of advice. Thank you!

  3. suzanne

    Does anyone know about a man who wrote about a special diet that he discovered when he went on vacation and didn’t gain weight because he ate nuts? I do not remember any more than that. He was amazed that he never gained the weight, although he ate a lot while on vacation. Ring a bell with anyone??

  4. Betty-Ann Heggie

    Behavior goals are better than weight goals. When following the right behaviors the weight will come off.

  5. Lana

    Number 7 works! I have been using fiday.com’s software for two months now and have lost 5 lbs. I did not realize that pat of butter, sprinkle of cheese, drizzle of olive oil was adding up to alot at the end of the day. Great advice!

  6. debra mazda

    HI,,,all sound good but if you pick a few and work on those you will not be so overwhelmed into doing everything perfect all the time. I agree that losing weight has to be a LIFESTYLE CHANGE as it was for me 140 pounds and 20 years ago. But that is hard for some especially at this time when FAST FOODS AND PROCESSED FOODS seem to be a way of life. Stay motivated and keep getting up even when you fall and do it again.
    The best tip is eating fruit if I had to pick one. For me that works every time but then again I do eat 4-5 fruits daily. Keep up the good work no matter how small you think it is.

    debra mazda

  7. Cari from ditch diets live light

    I also find it helpful to take one item of clothing I’d really like to fit into and hang it in a prominent place where I can see it regularly.

  8. Susan

    Sometimes I plan out an entire day’s worth of healthy eating and prepare it all in advance. Then it’s almost effortless to stick to it.

  9. Kat Eden

    Motivation is definitely the biggest one in my experience. And it’s gotta be good. I’ve found it’s not enough to just say ‘because of this or that event’, or even to be accountable to a friend, although that stuff helps.

    But the thing that really seems to work, to drive people, is making it truly important – not just what’s the motivation, but what’s the underlying motivation? Some people call this the pain point although it can just as easily be a pleasure point – i.e. the pain of never finding a partner if you don’t get your health sorted, or the pleasure of finally being able to participate in that adventure holiday you’ve always dreamed of.

  10. John W. Zimmer

    I have to write down everything in a log or I start lying to myself. I find if I just start keeping track in my head, soon I’ve ate double what I should have.

    The breaks come normally when birthdays, special occasions and holidays… and it is really hard to start back up.

    It is better not to fall off of the wagon… 🙂

  11. Kellie

    Great tips thank you! I do think FJ has a good point. 🙂 We should be doing less ‘stop and start’ when it comes to eating. Easier said than done!

    I love point 5! Throw out the junk food and more importantly don’t buy any more. When you go grocery shopping make a list and stick to it. Don’t go shopping hungry either. If you are hungry you may be tempted to buy foods you don’t want in your house.

  12. FitJerk - Flawless Fitness Method

    “seasoned dieter”, “restarting your diet”, “after a break”… does anyone see a very lame pattern here? I do. If you’re serious about health… why would you ever take a BREAK from your healthy eating habits.

    Stop dieting and start building habits. Habits that you couldn’t break… even if you got pied in the face on your birthday with a triple fudge chocolate pie (been there).

    But good tips nonetheless. 2,5 & 7 are on the money baby!

  13. Spectra

    After a break, it’s always helpful for me to get organized for getting back into things…I like to get my workout clothes out and ready and have a healthy lunch packed for work the next day. It definitely helps when your mind is in the right place.

  14. Laura

    #5 is one that I definitely do when I “fall off the wagon”. I’ve thrown out half of a leftover pizza, a three quarters full bag of chips, etc…….I hate the waste but it’s the only way I can keep from eating the bad stuff sometimes. It also gives me a feeling of taking back control of my diet!

  15. Trainer Shauna

    #5 is a good one too! Get creative and make meals fun!

    Also, plan, plan, plan!!

  16. Melanie Thomassian

    I particularly like no 2. and think that eating a piece of fruit before each meal could be really helpful in getting people to eat more every day. Thanks Ali!

  17. Mike

    Number 6 is great advice. Weight everything for even one week, keeps one honest. I weight and measure everything and still make mistakes both on the plus and negative side. Even reading the data on the box or can is confusing sometimes. One must learn to do division in their head to make decisions in the grocery store.