I want to talk about how to change your diet for the long haul, for long term health and wellbeing.
Many people know they need to change how they eat to lose body fat (generally this is combined with exercising more). They will often know what they need to change and even why. Implementing change on the next “Monday” is probably a bit of a routine and habit for a lot of people.
The problem lies in making the change an actual lifestyle change, rather than a short term diet. So here are my steps to helping you on the path to long term change and success.
- Identify ONE single change and work at it for at least 1 month. ONE change and ONE change alone.
- Start with an easy change, like drinking more water.
- Learn to adapt to your surroundings during each implementation period.
- Aim for consistency.
- Make the changes realistic and longterm ones
- Don’t think about the wagon.
- Don’t wait until Monday to start.
“But that will take FOREVER to get me where I need to be!” I hear you say. And yes it will take longer, possibly a lot longer, but I will ask you this – How has your “Big bang/all-or-nothing” approach worked for you so far? I’m guessing if you are reading this it hasn’t worked.
Focus on only 1 change. Don’t get distracted by anything else that pops into your head. Don’t invest energy into any other change. Leave everything else as it is. Stick with it for a 3 – 4 weeks and you will find it will become part of your routine. Once it’s part of your routine, it is a lot easier to maintain. You will have bad days, possibly weeks. Having only 1 thing to get back on track with is a much smaller hill to climb. It’s no where near as overwhelming as the usual “big bang” change.
Shoot for easy wins. This will boost your confidence for the rest of the changes you want to make. It will also help you feel better physically, so that harder changes down the road can be approached with the energy you need. You can slowly build on the difficulty level with each change you implement.
Not many people exist solely in their home when it comes to eating meals or snacks. You are going to need to learn how to make good choices in the company of others, in restaurants, in shopping centres, cafes, work places, etc. If you are a social butterfly and eat out a lot, trying to stop yourself from eating out, is not going to last long. You will not enjoy it at all. So look for ways to modify menu items to better suit your needs. Remove sauces, ask for no rice. Choose salad options with either no or simple vinaigrette dressings on the side. Take control of what you eat more. Get used to the idea of leaving food on your plate, or see if you can share with someone. Restaurants can often over shoot the portions you need.
True benefits of diet changes happen when more often than not you follow that change. Doing it 3 out of 7 days will likely not get the results you want. AT LEAST 5 or 6 days a week is probably a good balance between being healthy and being human. Perfection on the other hand is not necessary either and really, for most people, is totally unrealistic and likely to set you up for failure.
people often want a quick solution to a problem. Where diet is concerned these are usually fad diets that are meant as short term fixes. The problem is that while you may get short term results, it may not be healthy for you and it certainly is not a change that can be (healthily) maintained for life. If you do implement a significant change that you can’t maintain for life, chances are you will rebound when you stop the change and pt on even more fat. The yoyo dieting effect. Look for changes that actually help your body be healthier and function better and ones you can live with for the rest of your life. This will give you the healthy and functional results for the rest of your life not just for Summer 1819.
Often when we think about making a change, we think about it as being “on the wagon”. When we don’t follow this new change perfectly we think about us “falling off the wagon”. The problem with this is that, we automatically create this mammoth effort to climb back up onto the wagon, before it gets away from us. And all too often people think “well I’m off the wagon now, I may as well stay off until next Monday. I’ll create a new wagon to get on”. There is no wagon people. There is no need to think about a wagon. You don’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to write-off an entire day or week, just because you deviated from the plan one morning. Take each meal as an opportunity in it’s own right to practice and implement your change.
The idea of starting a change on a Monday is really just an excuse to put it off. Most of the time, there is very little truly stopping us from starting a change today. Even when today is a Saturday! I love that saying “Don’t put off to tomorrow, what you can do today”. The sooner you start the sooner you are on your way and making some progress. The more you delay and think about it, the more time you have to talk yourself out of it. Then it just gets too hard.
This is usually the time of year for people to start wanting some diet changes.I just hope this sets you up for a better result.