How many times have you started a diet and decided that “this is it”, it’s time to shed those extra pounds once and for all?
After making the decision, you have perhaps made your diet super strict, banning all your favourite sweets and desserts, eating only small portions of salad and went to bed stomach grumbling in the evenings. Maybe you have also re-started jogging or went to the gym a few times a week.
After following your new habits for a week or two, you find that the craving for chocolate, ice cream, cake, french fries or whatever is becoming stronger and stronger by the day. Maybe one day you allow yourself a bite or two of dessert and before you even notice, you slide into your old eating habits. Also, the initial enthusiasm of working out slowly dies away and you find yourself being drawn to the sofa more and more by the day, rather than doing a set of push-ups and ab crunches.
So, the questions are how to succeed in changing your life and your eating habits? How to achieve the body of your dreams? And most importantly: how to make it permanent?
I assure you, you can do it. You just need a plan.
The keys for making a successful change in your diet come down to three steps:
- Stick to it
Simple, isn’t it?
Sure, you can just make an impromptu decision and start the journey towards the New You already today, but chances are that without a proper plan you will return to the Old You in no time.
So, the first step is to set a goal, i.e. define what it is that you want to achieve. Make the goal as specific as possible. For example: “I want to lose 10 lbs before my wedding in June.” Having a clear picture of what to achieve and when, makes it easier to work your way towards it. By the way, in the 7-Day Home Workout Challenge you will get step-by-step guidance on how to set a goal and stay motivated, so if you haven’t signed in yet, it’s high time to do it now!
Secondly, go easy on yourself. Strong will-power is not the biggest asset of most human beings. That’s why, if you want to make the change permanent, take baby steps. Think about it, which one of these sounds more appealing to you:
“I will never eat another bar of chocolate in my life!”
“I will eat five portions of vegetables every day for the next 30 days!”
Instead of trying to commit to your new habits at once for life, set a goal in the near future and the task becomes much easier to accomplish. If you think that 30 days is too much for you, start with seven days. If you’re feeling good after the first week, go for another seven days. And so on. Build the habit in small pieces.
Once you have set the goal, it’s time to clear the path. Ditching an old habit will never be a piece of cake and there are most likely to be drawbacks on the way, but if you make the route as clear to go as possible, it’s much easier to proceed.
For example, if you have taken up on our advice and decide to give the Paleo style eating a chance, it means that you will no longer be needing any flour, sugar, pasta, rice, bread, etc. in your kitchen. So, get rid of them! Clean the cupboards in your kitchen and throw away all the unnecessary ingredients. This also concerns all the cakes or biscuits that you might have in store!
If your goal is to lose weight, you are bound to have a craving of something sweet at some point. If you have a packet of biscuits in the kitchen cupboard, can you refrain from taking one at your weakest hour (or two or the whole package)? Instead, if you don’t have anything unhealthy at hand, the chances are you will forget about it in time. So, get rid of all the stuff that might lead you astray and fill the cupboards with seeds, nuts, dried fruit or berries and protein powder instead!
Also, when grocery shopping, it’s the safest to stay on the peripheries of the store. You can get all that you need there! The processed foods and other unhealthy stuff are normally placed in the middle aisles.
Stick to it
When you are well prepared, it’s much easier to stick to the plan. Make the change permanent bit by bit and give yourself time to adjust.
Don’t give in to the first signs of graving. Instead, try to find healthy substitutes to what you normally eat. For example try replacing soft drinks by water spiced with lemon or berries or sweets by cashew nuts and fried fruits. In addition, allow yourself a day off every now and then and eat whatever it is that you desire. It does not spoil the diet, but gives you energy to continue the healthy way again.
Additionally, make sure to eat full balanced meals. Starving yourself leads nowhere. When you keep you stomach full, you are less likely to give up. What you can also try to do is make it fun! Try out new recipes and ingredients open-mindedly and develop new habits (like treating yourself with a strawberry-mango-smoothie after a tough workout) to replace the old ones.
Finally, an excellent way to get started is the 7-Day Home Workout Challenge. It’s only seven days, so you can surely do it, right?