A few months into the new year, many of us may feel discouraged by lackluster results from a diet overhaul endeavor, which usually takes place in January. It’s helpful to take a step back and review the reasons for a dietary change. Do you need more energy? Have you gained weight? Do you have a health condition which requires such changes? Do you need to make household changes because a family member is allergic to a particular food?
Set Yourself Up For Success
Considering the reasons for dietary change is the ideal place to start and arguably the most important step for long-term success. After you’ve identified the true reasons for changing your diet, you can begin the process of implementation. Thinking about your diet in the long-term (gradual changes), rather than short-term (drastic changes) can make your health goals much more enjoyable and attainable.
3 Strategies For Gradual and Effective Dietary Change
- Make a list of foods that sabotage your health goals (and gradually swap them out!). These include, but are not limited to: processed foods, high-sugar foods, inflammatory oils (canola, soybean, cottonseed), soda, or excess caffeine. Choose one to ditch and/or replace with a healthy food each month. If you do this consistently for one year, you’ll have 12 additional healthy foods in your diet and you’ll have gotten rid of 12 foods that limit diet success.
Why are healthy substitutes important?
Purely removing foods from your diet leaves a void, which can make you feel deprived. Find a healthy food (or beverage) to take its place. For example, if you have a daily soda habit, replace it with sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Replace white or brown rice with wild rice. Drink more than 2 cups of coffee per day? Consider replacing subsequent cups with green tea.
- Cook more meals at home. If you’re not accustomed to cooking any meals, this strategy can be intimidating, so start with one meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and work up from there! You can prepare weekly meals each Sunday to have fresh and frozen options all week. Eating food you’ve prepared can connect you to your plate and help you to make healthy decisions during the day. You’ll soon come to realize the fresh taste of home-cooked meals outweighs that of fast food bought on the go.
- Implement changes with your family or friends. Review recipes together and decide on meals for the week. Grocery shop or visit the farmers’ market, and cook together! Involving supportive individuals with your health goals makes it more fun to eat healthy. You can also organize a weekly get-together where everyone brings a dish. Before you know it, you’ll have a catalog of healthy options!
Originally posted 2018-06-20 09:46:11.