Its that time of year when everyone starts resolutions, and in a couple of weeks a lot of people will be done with those resolutions. Especially when it comes to healthy changes, I think a lot of people are very gung ho and go all out and try things that aren’t really sustainable long term. The whole concept of dieting implies that there is an end to it. You do things to lose weight or make health changes with the intention of ending those methods and going back to the way you ate before. And some of those methods are extreme. Drinking shakes or eating frozen diet dinners all day, or following a fad diet such as the master cleanse or cabbage soup diet are not sustainable long term. I mean lets be honest, we all love to eat, so who really wants to eat cabbage all day? In addition, very low calorie diets can actually mess up your metabolism, then when you feel like you have been starving and you start eating the amount of calories that you SHOULD eat again, you will actually gain weight. This is why so many people abandon resolutions and ehy diets don’t work.
First of all don’t wait until the new year or even until the next Monday to start getting healthy. I mean how many times have you started a diet on Monday, cheated by Wednesday and resolved to start again the next Monday? Don’t look at it as something you have to begin or end. Just start making small healthy changes now, on a Thursday in april, its totally fine!
You should never go hungry and you should never just eliminate an entire food group. Eat REAL food. Using meal substitutions or prepackaged diet meals may make it easy, but once you start eating real food again you haven’t learned anything you can keep for life. This is one reason so many people start the same resolution again every single year!
An important strategy I have learned is to focus on adding the good habits rather than eliminating the bad ones. Im not saying not to change your bad habits, but if you focus on increasing the good habits, chances are the bad ones will gradually drop off as you get healthier on their own! For example, rather than telling yourself you CANT eat a sugary dessert, focus on adding some fresh fruit to a smaller portion of that dessert. When trying to drink more water and less soda, instead of telling yourself you CANT have the soda because you have to drink water, tell yourself that you are increasing your water intake so you can be healthy, and it just so happens to be replacing your soda. Putting a positive spin on these changes really makes a difference.
Also celebrate smaller achievements. If your soda intake was 6 a day with zero water, and today you had 4 sodas and 2 glasses of water, pat yoursMikelf on the back! If you wait until a goal is completed in its entirety, you aren’t going to notice the small successes along the way, which help keep you motivated.
Don’t concentrate on the number on the scale. Your weight can fluctuate many pounds a day depending on many factors, and you may actually gain a few pounds when you start exercise while your metabolism is resetting before the weight starts to drop, because muscle is heavier than fat. Rather you should notice how you feel, how your clothes fit, and your energy level.
Remember there is no reason you cant eat healthy and still enjoy your food. Learn how to make your favorite foods healthy and start gradually making the changes. Try new healthy foods such as vegetables prepared in different ways. And don’t force yourself to do things that don’t work for you. Hate the treadmill - then don’t do it! If you love to dance let that be your cardio. The keys to success are not depriving yourself or overwhelming yourself with things that just don’t fit in your lifestyle.