Most Americans could stand to lose more than a few pounds. Unfortunately though, the reward for eating those foods you should avoid is immediate and powerful, but the reward for eating well is hard to see in the short-term. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll start eating better tomorrow or next week.
Changing any habit can be a challenge. Changing your eating habits is even more challenging.
Change your diet intelligently with these tips:
1. Focus on the benefits. Make a list of everything you’ll gain by eating a more healthy diet. It’s easy to find the advantage to eating a candy bar – you’ll feel great for a few minutes. The advantages of eating a carrot are far less pronounced in the short-term. Remind yourself of how much healthier and fitter you’ll be in six months.
2. Make small changes. If your goal is to become a vegetarian, make the transition slowly. Try having a single vegetarian dinner this week. Shoot for two meals next week. Continue until you’ve successfully made the switch.
* Follow the same process for dropping unhealthy foods. Suppose you currently drink six sodas each day. Try drinking five each day for a week and then reduce it to four. In several weeks, you’ll be soda-free.
3. Focus on the most significant changes first. It’s more beneficial to your health to remove bacon from your diet than it is to make the switch from regular to organic apples. If you’re going to put your time and effort into changing, make the change count.
4. Avoid perfection. Studies have shown that following a diet 90% of the time is nearly as good as following it 100% of the time. It’s not necessary to live and eat like a monk.
* Allow yourself to get a little crazy one meal out of ten. You’ll receive the same benefits, and your compliance will be much greater.
5. Take it one day at a time. The thought of following a new eating plan for years can be overwhelming. When the urge to stray occurs, tell yourself that you can cheat tomorrow, but not today. Then tomorrow, tell yourself the same thing.
6. Get all non-compliant foods out of the house. You’ll eventually eat any food in the house if it’s something you like. No one’s willpower can survive forever! Get it out of the house before you suffer a weak moment. Give it away or throw it in the trash.
7. Go food-shopping while you’re not hungry. You’re much more likely to buy junk food if you’re hungry. Have a healthy meal and then go to the grocery store. You’ll buy the food you need, rather than the food you want.
8. Notice the times and situations you eat poorly. When are you most likely to reach for those foods you’d like to avoid? Is it after dinner? While watching TV? When you’re feeling blue? On the weekends? Try to avoid succumbing to your urges during those times. Take a walk instead of watching television. Call a friend if you’re feeling down.
* Bad habits have triggers. What are yours?
It seems like everyone is trying to eat better. Improving your diet is one of the best ways to enhance your health. Dietary habits are especially tough to change. Eating poorly has immediate rewards, but you may not enjoy the benefits of healthy eating right away. Take baby steps when making changes to your eating habits and change your diet once and for all.