Here at ETR, we don’t advocate following traditional “diets.” But we do recommend that, to stay lean and healthy, you avoid certain foods – and stick to fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and low-glycemic carbs.

Of course, it’s not always easy.

One of the biggest roadblocks to losing weight is the temptation to cheat on your healthy eating program and indulge in those oh-so-delicious but oh-so-dangerous goodies – like sugary snacks, pizza, and French fries. But if you plan ahead, you won’t be trapped into succumbing to temptation. Here are six simple secrets to losing fat… without cheating.

Stop Cheating Secret #1:
Script your week.

Set aside 15 minutes on Sunday to plan out your entire week. Write down what time you need to get up each day, what you’ll eat for breakfast, when you’ll do your workout, what foods you’ll have for snacks, lunches, and dinners.

By planning ahead, you’ll know exactly what you should be doing for fat loss at every minute of the day. That way you won’t have to make snap decisions on the spot, and you won’t give into temptation.

Make a plan and stick to it and you will lose fat fast!

Stop Cheating Secret #2:
Identify – in advance – potential obstacles to your healthy eating plan… and come up with two ways to overcome each one.

For example, if you know you have meetings most of the day on Wednesday, and then a business dinner after work, you also know that you’re going to be hungry before you get a chance to eat a proper meal… and sorely tempted to hit the snack machine.

How can you overcome that obstacle? Maybe you’ll eat before the meeting and then have a healthy snack ready to go in the car.

Stop Cheating Secret #3:
Shop once.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more chances you have to give in to the call of the pastry counter. Since you’ve already planned out your week, you’ll know exactly what to buy. Stick to your list, and buy it all in one go.

Stop Cheating Secret #4:
Prepare your food in advance.

This ties in with Secret #1. You need to set aside time once a week to plan your meals, do your shopping, and prepare as much of your food as possible. (Cut up vegetables, batch-cook chicken breasts, etc.)

Planning the entire week, scripting out the meals, doing the shopping and some of the food prep is an essential part of sticking to a diet. If you want to have great results, you have to get into that mindset.

Stop Cheating Secret #5:
Get social support.

I can’t recommend social support enough. You can’t stick to your fat-loss diet on your own. You need help from others. At the very least, you need a nutrition buddy who will encourage you to stick to your eating plan and also hold you accountable when you “fall off the wagon.”

People you work with can be supportive, but they’re also going to be the source of many of your obstacles. There are those who, trying to be nice, will bring in donuts and homemade cookies and shove them in your face. Then there are those who will tease you about your diet, though they should know better. You just have to plan for those people.

It goes back to Secret #2 – identifying potential obstacles to your healthy eating plan and coming up with ways to overcome them. That means being prepared for the donuts and cookies, and knowing, ahead of time, that you’re not going to eat them. It also means staying away from the jerks who treat your fat-loss goals like a joke. Instead, seek out a nutrition buddy – one who is supportive of your goals – and eat lunch with him.

You also need social support at the gym – somebody who seems to be knowledgeable about diet and exercise. People like that are usually happy to help you stick with your plan.

Finally, get your family behind you. Without support at home, you’re going to have a tough time – especially if you’re the only one with a weight “problem” and everyone else can eat whatever they want. So don’t be shy. They’re not going to know you need their support unless you tell them.

Stop Cheating Secret #6:
Brush your teeth after every meal… and whenever you might be tempted to cheat.

Eating right after you brush your teeth isn’t very pleasant, so it helps you control your cravings.

Most people are good about sticking to their diet till about 4:00 p.m. That’s a good time to have a healthy snack… and brush your teeth. Another time to watch out for is after dinner. To keep from cheating, brush your teeth… or chew a piece of gum… or have a cup of green tea.

It’s all a matter of developing routines to build your power over food, rather than allowing food to control you.

Implement these six ideas and you’re practically guaranteed to stop cheating on your diet and lose fat fast. But remember, it doesn’t happen overnight. Just take it day by day, enjoying every small victory. Make tomorrow better than today. And don’t beat yourself up if you stumble.

Day by day. That is how you stop cheating on your diet… and lose fat for life.

[Ed. Note: Eating the right foods is only one aspect of losing fat and staying healthy. You also need to exercise regularly. Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne can help you burn fat and build muscle with three 45-minute workouts a week. Learn how right here.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com