Sometimes, we wish we could drop a few pounds. We want to look good at those once in a lifetime events like prom, an upcoming wedding, or graduation. But does that mean we have to limit ourselves to a tedious lifestyle with nothing but calorie restrictions, limited portion sizes, and exercise? Does dieting really have to be so dull, boring, and frustrating? We think not.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help turn the act of dieting into a celebration instead of a chore.

Read on to see how you can actually enjoy dieting and be sure to check out the bonus tip at the end.

1. Fill the void of your favorite snacks with something new.

Celebrate a new beginning by enriching your life with non-food related activities. Substituting comfort foods for healthy distractions will set you on a positive path from day 1.

  • Set aside time to read a book, watch a show, or play some video games.
  • Join a local group activity such as a yoga class or an acting group.
  • Treat yourself to some quiet relaxation time or take a nap.

Find something to look forward to every day that doesn’t include your favorite snack.

2. Remind yourself of what’s important.

Research shows that our motivation to be healthy directly impacts our overall health and fitness levels. That’s why it’s easier to stick to a diet plan during the first few days. Here are some ways to remind yourself to stay on track until you reach your goals:

  • Decorate your home and office desks with sticky notes that will encourage you to stay strong.
  • Make daily notes of ways that your diet has improved your life (e.g. “Today I fit into my skinny jeans”) and collect them in a jar. Read through all the notes whenever you feel like giving up.

Be sure to think of your very own daily motivators and apply them to your life.

3. Listen to relaxing music.

A study at Cornell University reveals that volunteers consumed less food while listening to relaxing soft music. Psychologists also suggest that certain melodies may help reprogram our brains to release additional dopamine, a happiness hormone which could be a good alternative to eating comfort food.

  • Add classical music or meditation playlists to your music collection.
  • Visit local classical music concerts in your area.
  • Maximize the benefits of relaxing music by learning to play an instrument yourself.

4. Surround yourself with cool colors.

Did you know that there’s a correlation between colors and appetite levels? Cool colors such as blue, grey, or black have been proven to decrease the appetite. For one, blue creates a serene atmosphere reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. Secondly, colors such as blue and grey are so rarely found in natural food that our brains interpret them as poisonous.

As a result, cool colors don’t remind us of food and trigger little or no appetite.

  • Why not paint your walls, nails, or color your hair blue?
  • Take this opportunity to go retro and watch some black and white movies.
  • Have fun by making your clothing choices reflect your new healthy lifestyle.

5. Curb cravings by smelling certain scents.

Certain scents have been proven to help with weight loss. Why not bring a drop of romance into your home? Create coziness by lighting some candles, and don’t forget about scented oils.

6. Treat yourself!

At the end of the day, it feels nice to praise yourself for the courage, perseverance, and strength it takes to stick to a diet. In fact, we’d say it’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a small gift!

  • Use the money you save on junk food to get yourself a cute new outfit.
  • Treat yourself to a fun activity or a night out with friends.
  • If your cravings are really getting the better of you, have a small tasty treat on occasion.

Remind yourself that the biggest gift of all will be the new and improved you.

7. Celebrate your progress.

Results are what make losing weight worth the effort. Be sure to track your progress and give your self-esteem a boost whenever you’re feeling like dieting is too hard.

  • Take progress pictures of yourself before, during, and at the end of your diet.
  • Try on old outfits that were previously too small to wear.
  • Join an online community where you can talk about your food-related activities with your peers.

Reap the benefits of your hard work and inspire yourself to keep moving forward.

8. Accept that it’s okay to cheat every once in a while.

When starting a new diet we are so afraid of failure that we sometimes take it too far and become obsessed with the foods we can’t eat. This is why cheat meals and small treats are so important in making your weight loss journey enjoyable.

  • Allow yourself a small treat every once in a while like a sugary drink or a small burger.
  • Don’t be so restrictive when you’re out celebrating with friends. Try a little bit of everything so that you don’t feel like you’ve missed out on something tasty later on.

Most importantly, don’t guilt-trip yourself if you go overboard. We all slip up sometimes and occasional indulgences can even help boost your metabolism. See? No harm done!

9. Find peace with your new healthy lifestyle.

Australian researchers recently found that the majority of weight loss occurs when we exhale carbon dioxide. In other words, you don’t have to be a meditation guru to refresh your spirits.

  • Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, just sit down and breathe in and out slowly.
  • Breathe in and out, and in and out. Repeat until you feel those stressful feelings fade away.
  • Make sure to do this in a quiet and relaxing environment or outside in nature.

The benefits of dieting combined with breathing exercises may surprise you!

Bonus tip: It always helps to have a sense of humor!

If we can’t laugh at our own mistakes, who will? Don’t let your failures get the best of you. No one’s perfect, trust us!

Are you ready for your weight loss journey? What do you think of these tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below.

Illustrated by Sergey Raskovalov and Natalia Breeva for Bright Side