Maintaining changes to your eating habits doesn’t sound like it’s a hard thing. But there are hurdles most people face when it comes to their eating habits.
Think about how emotive food can be. It involves all the senses and those senses, especially smell, are really effective and triggering a memory and emotional responses from you.
You also need to think about how long you have lived with your old eating habits. These are strong habits you will need to change.
Then there is the learning curve you will generally be on when making diet changes. You are probably learning as you go, about what foods fit your new way of eating and what don’t. Then you need to come up with full meals that include more of the desired foods and less or none of the undesired foods. Learning to cook new dishes and put meals together from new ingredients is a learning curve and something that requires time and patience.
How To Avoid the Hurdles
So here are my tips to help you be more successful at making changes to your eating habits and sticking with them:
- Be patient and kind to yourself.
- preparation and planning = success
Don’t think about this as an all or nothing exercise, this is a gradual long-term change. During any phase of change you will likely fall back to old eating habits i.e. what’s familiar. If you beat yourself up over it, you will find it hard to re-focus on your goal and move forward.
Preparation and planning are your friend. This is what will get your through the times when you are short on time to prep food, tired or feeling emotional.
- Set up a time to find new recipes that work with your new plan
- Create a daily meal plan
- decide what ingredients you need for the meals and buy them so you have them ready to go
- look for ways you can do prep days in advance e.g. chopping, marinating and freezing
- Don’t think about what you want to eat, just look at your meal plan and do it. Your brain will find a reason not to cook what’s in the plan on your bd days, so don’t give it a chance to interfere
Tackling all aspects of your diet at once can leave you overwhelmed and tired. This is when you are most likely to revert back to old patterns and habits. Prioritise the changes you want to make in some way, by health impact or ease of implementation (great way to build momentum). Then tackle them one at a time working on each area a month at a time. Each month add a new change, building on the last one.
Studies have shown that your are more likely to maintain your fat loss and diet changes, if the changes happen slower, rather than faster.
Seeing positive changes is great for motivation, when done in a relevant way. “Measure” your progress on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Any more frequently, and you are likely to switch focus from a longterm view to short-term gains or perhaps lose motivation due to small gains. So try these yardsticks to track your progress:
- Are your clothes feeling lose?
- Keep a mood diary and track how your moods and energy are going – periodically review it looking for positive changes
- Measure your waist, thighs and/or upper arms – fat loss will shown by smaller measurements in these areas