When you start a new diet it’s easy to get off track if you are not prepared. These tips will help you get ready for your new diet, learn to deal with potential saboteurs, avoid emotional roadblocks and help you learn to see your new way of life as a permanent lifestyle choice for the biggest opportunity to celebrate the success of all.
STEPS TO GET READY FOR YOUR NEW DIET
The first steps you make toward a new lifestyle involve internal issues that have nothing to do with your friends or even your immediate family. Instead, they have to do with your own mindset, and how you can set yourself up for success.
1) Clean Out Your Kitchen
At the very least you should be able to come home to a safe environment. Ridding your home and kitchen of common trigger foods and items of distraction from your new healthy lifestyle is essential. If you feel bad throwing things away, give them to friends or charity if you can, but it’s important to get these things that you cannot have out of your surroundings.
2) Write Down Your Goals
Setting a goal means to write it down specifically. Don’t just say that you’re going to lose 10 lbs. State that you will lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Further state how you will accomplish that in your goal. Perhaps you’ve decided to choose a Mediterranean diet, so be specific in your goal.
“I will lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks by eating a Mediterranean diet consisting of whole vegetables, fruit, legumes, and limited lean meat in a total of 1500 calories per day for 10 weeks. I will also exercise a total of 30 minutes each day by swimming, jogging, or jump roping.”
Whatever you need to do in order to achieve the results you want, write them down so that you can know what constitutes success.
3) Find Support
Whether the support is a weight loss buddy, a Facebook group of like-minded people, a nutritionist, or a diet coach is not important. The important thing is that you have someone to help you through times where you do not feel like sticking to your plan. A group of people doing the same type of diet as you is best. They’ll have some excellent tips for you, especially if the person or group you find to support you is more experienced than you.
4) Keep a Diary
Whether it’s online or offline, keeping track of your daily intake as well as your fitness goals will help you stay on track. It’s easy to make poor choices when you put them out of your mind, but if you have to write them down it’s easier to stick to them because you see them right in front of you and can see why you are succeeding or failing on the plan in a glance.
5) See Your or a Professional Health Care Provider
It can help a lot if you can get some blood tests done before you start to document how well your new lifestyle improves your health. It can also be very motivating to get blood tests results that are less than ideal at first and vastly improved later. It’s proof that everything you’re doing is working.
6) Pick a Start Date
It might seem strange to pick a starting date, but the only way to ensure that you are succeeding at your goals is to pick a start date. You can do it in phases. For example, during week one from Sunday through Saturday, I will add 50% more vegetables to each meal, or I will start drinking 8 glasses of water. But, a start date where you toss out all your old ways and start fresh is essential to seeing results.
Finally, before starting on any weight loss program or diet, be sure to do your research. Many diets that proclaim weight loss results are not healthy even if you do lose weight or initially increase your health due to weight loss. Check out all claims with scientific research. You cannot put it beyond any company to make false claims based on research. Check the research they cite to be sure. The research you do on your own will also help motivate you to do the right thing for yourself because it requires that you immerse yourself in your new lifestyle.
DEALING WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
As you continue with your new diet, you’re going to find yourself dealing with people who might try to sabotage your efforts. Suddenly everyone you know will become an expert in nutrition and want to give you advice. The best way to handle this situation is to not tell everyone about the change unless you have to. The fewer people you share the word “diet” with the better in terms of being able to realize success before everyone puts in their two cents worth of advice.
Well-Meaning Friends & Family
Some people who are sabotaging you may not even realize they’re doing it, they may think they are helping you. Even well-meaning physicians are often wrong about diet and health so do your own research and trust yourself enough to realize that you can choose the right path for yourself. When someone like this tries to tell you something because they are worried about your health, be ready with an answer based on your research and then if they keep it up ask them to drop it.
Some people who are actively sabotaging your efforts are actually trying to on purpose. Yes, even your family might do it. Often they will get insulted because you won’t eat the cookies or other food they made you. They might even bring you “gifts” of food once they find out you’re dieting. After all, when it’s your birthday (or theirs) you should eat cake right? Well, don’t allow these people to derail you. Instead, set them straight and tell them that if they want to stay in your life they have to respect your choices and not do things to set you back. If they love you they will stop. If they don’t, you need to find new friends and separate yourself from them.
That’s right; sometimes doctors can sabotage your efforts to eat a healthy diet. Perhaps your doctor is hell-bent on a particular diet contrary to what you’ve discovered is healthy and tries to talk you out of your new plan. Most of the time, you can find a new doctor but if you can’t and you’re truly following a healthy diet and not a fad diet, don’t worry. As you get healthier they’ll become a believer. Blood tests and health results don’t lie.
You’ll find saboteurs of all stripes, at work, at home, and even in your own mind. The trick to silencing them is to keep doing what you know is best. After all, the proof is in the pudding, right? When you lose all your excess weight, reverse your heart disease, get to stop taking diabetes meds or avoid all that to start with, you’ll demonstrate by example what is working for you and that’s what matters.
HOW TO AVOID EMOTIONAL ROADBLOCKS
As you continue with your diet, there are likely to come days where your emotions get the best of you. You gained one pound and forgot about all the exercise you did to build up muscle or you broke and at that birthday cake and you told yourself, “why bother, I am a failure, and I might as well eat the entire cake”. Perhaps you had a rough day at work, or worse, someone close to you died. Anything can cause emotions to run over during your lifestyle change that can make it hard to stick to it.
The best way to avoid emotional roadblocks is to realize they will happen. Food has such huge emotional connotations for most of us. Food makes us feel loved and even happy. Food is the drug of choice for most people, even many skinny people. But, getting prepared can help you avoid problems associated with emotional roadblocks.
• Identity Issues – If you’ve been overweight a long time, you may see the fat on your body as your identity. After all, if you weren’t the fat, loving, jovial person who would you be? Even if you have not been overweight most of your life, you may have protective internal reasons for weight gain. Sometimes this is self-protective due to issues with sexuality, or it can go deeper than that such as a fear of being invisible and ignored. Or vice versa, you could have a fear of being noticed for your looks over your brains.
• Avoid Perfectionism – If you’ve been overweight your body will not be the same as you lose weight. You might have skin that has stretched and it will show, even if you lose weight. This can be very distressing to someone who has lost 100 lbs and worked so hard to succeed to still feel ugly and unattractive.
You think, well I will still never be able to wear a bikini so why even bother. The truth is no one’s body looks like the images on magazines or TV. Even the guru who looks perfect on TV isn’t perfect, that’s makeup and lighting. Humans have stretch marks, sagging skin, and imperfect bodies. If it’s that bad you can get surgery if you need to. Worry about that later. The important thing is to reach for health.
• Let Go of Stress – One of the biggest factors in emotional roadblocks is stress. Our lives are stressful, some more than others. Death in the family, sick parents, work issues, financial issues and so forth can all cause stress in your life. Even upsetting the status quo can cause stress even when it’s good that you’re losing weight and getting healthy. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and exercise in addition to eating right. Find ways to deal with stress such as reading affirmations, meditation, or going to church.
The best way to deal with emotional roadblocks is to address them openly as they come up during your journey. If you are keeping a food journal, consider keeping an emotional journal too. Write in your journal about the things that happened to you during the day that made you want to do unhealthy behaviors. If you succumbed to the unhealthy behavior write out a plan of action on how to deal with that situation next time it comes up.
Most of all live your life one day or moment at a time so that you can start fresh each moment. No one is ever going to be perfect; after all, you have a long life ahead of you. When it comes to most things in life, if you are 80 to 90 percent effective in reaching your goals, that going to be good enough to succeed and success is what really matters.
LIFESTYLE CHANGE OVER TEMPORARY DIET
One of the biggest obstacles to a diet is keeping to it long term. Most people see the word diet and think “short-term” automatically. This type of thinking leads to yo-yo dieting. Going on and off diets is bad for your body and your mind. Yo-yo dieting can cause a lot of damage to your health and slow down your metabolism making losing weight next time that much harder.
This is why you really should think of your diet as a lifestyle change and not something temporary. Diet simply describes what the change consists of. Diet means that your changes revolve around what you eat. As you embark on your new lifestyle keep some tips in mind to help you become successful.
• Stay Positive – When you consider that your entire lifetime is a journey and not a destination then you can finally just relax. If you know how to eat right, do it, most of the time and you’ll be successful. You are not in a food prison; you can eat whatever you want, but just not every day. If overall you eat healthy, you will be healthy.
• Write It Down – Keeping a food journal and a diary is essential to success. Writing it all down makes it real, and helps you judge whether or not you’re sticking to the plan most of the time, or if you’re really eating badly most of the time. It’s easy to fool yourself if you don’t keep records.
• Read Success Stories – There are numerous books, websites, blogs, and vlogs about people who have been successful with changing their diet for good. Keep yourself on track by reading those stories and truly learning all you can about how they were successful.
• Plan for Success – Treat your new lifestyle as important. Buy the right groceries at the right time and plan your menus in advance. Plan what you will do at a party; plan what you will do for lunch at work. Plan how you’ll handle the donuts at work on Friday morning, and how you’ll handle holidays and so forth. Going in with a plan for success will make it more likely that you’ll be able to do this long term.
• Try New Things – Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand but so does any type of self-improvement. As you embark on this new lifestyle, why not try new things. Instead of going to the gym for exercise why not try roller skating or learning to play tennis or another sport? Finding new activities to do that involve movement instead of food is a great way to incorporate your diet into your overall lifestyle choices.
• Be Nice To Yourself – When it comes down to it we’re all essentially alone. We have only ourselves to blame when we don’t do what we planned, and in the end, we’re the only one who puts the fork up to our mouth. But, we are also our own best friend. You know yourself more than anyone else, and you should love yourself to know that you deserve a happy, healthy life. Do not treat yourself worse than you would your sister.
Setting yourself up in a new lifestyle that encourages healthy behavior, finding new friends, and people who are supportive of your new lifestyle are all important things to do so that you find success on this journey. As you move forward those closest to you may come around, or they may not. It’s not important, as long as you realize that this is a change for life and not just a short time period.
Finally, remember to celebrate small successes and not just large ones. If you manage to go through a day without eating cookies and it’s been years since you did that, celebrate it. Do a happy dance. Give yourself a hug. These small successes will lead to bigger successes. Each small step you make toward your goal is what is going to make your diet a successful lifetime endeavor.