Change is scary for people. Whenever a new idea is introduced, even if it is in the best interest of health and well-being, it is often received with a bit of pushback. There is a sense of feeling out of control and disconnected from a routine. Change makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe while new habits are formed. All too often, fear of change and loss of perceived control is why it is so difficult to stick to any new plan, including one that pertains to a healthy diet.
Many of the best of intentions are abandoned because the change is simply too difficult to maintain. Excuses creep in and before too long, old habits return. Sticking to any new change requires focus and determination. Want to have success with a new, healthy way of eating? Here are 11 tips to overcome failure and stick to that healthy diet.
What Is Your Motivation
The first thing to establish is the motivation behind changing your diet. The idea of “I want to lose weight” is simply not enough of an incentive for someone to maintain any significant lifestyle change. Finding the “why” behind the change is the first step and helps cement the reason for change. “Why” do you want to lose weight? Continuing to answer that question narrows down the reason until an authentic truth is determined. Finding your “why” activates that part of the brain that inspires passion and drives you toward success.
Change Your Mindset
Change your mindset about food and eating. Recognize that you have choices; you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Or you can eat healthier. You can’t have it both ways.
Choose Food You Love
Choose an eating style that includes the foods you enjoy eating. By allowing yourself to have food you enjoy in moderation, you can stick to a healthier eating plan without feeling deprived.
Don’t Go Crazy
Following a diet that restricts major food groups or calories most likely won’t be sustainable. If you are thinking of a major change, like deciding to go vegan, make changes gradually. Do research around any new style of eating to ensure you are getting all the necessary nutrients and that this change is the correct one for your lifestyle.
Make a Plan
Making the time to plan and prep meals helps take the guesswork out of the age-old question, “what’s for dinner.” Nothing’s worse than coming home later than expected on a Thursday night, tired and hungry, with no food in the fridge.
Eat Before You Go
When going out, try not to go hungry. Have a small snack and a large glass of water to help feel full before placing yourself in a situation where you’ll feel tempted.
Know the Menu Ahead of Time
Going out to dinner? Check the menu ahead of time. Most restaurants have their menus online. Knowing what you can eat before you go empowers you to choose a healthy meal. And you’ll feel better for it.
Being Hungry Is Not an Emergency
How many times have you skipped a meal and survived? Hunger comes and goes. It’s temporary. Drink a glass of water or some hot tea to fill your stomach. You will get through it.
Every Time Matters
Tell yourself that every time matters. Reducing the calories means nothing without creating a habit of choosing healthy food. Every time you eat something you weren’t supposed to eat, you strengthen your giving-in muscle. Sticking to your plan, even when you’re tempted to eat something else, strengthens the resistance-to muscle, increasing your chances of success.
Slow Down and Sit Down
One of the greatest things about eating is enjoying the meal. Create a ritual for yourself, bring yourself back to the table, and slow down. Be present during your meal and savor not only the food, but the moment. No texting, no emails. Relax and enjoy your healthy meal.
You’ll make bad choices and even bad days. It’s ok. It’s not starting over; it’s simply being accountable for going off plan and making a choice to get back to healthy eating. Over time, the desire to “cheat” lessens.
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