Before delving into any new diet, let it be for health reasons, clean-eating, fat burning or muscle building, You need to understand and put in place the core foundations necessary to change your diet successfully. Implementing these will allow your new diet plan to do it’s job and you will finally achieve your goals.
Why do so many of us fail to stick to a new diet despite knowing how much will improve our lives?
- Lack of preparation.
- Too severe changes, too fast.
- Making cuts with no substitutions.
- Negative, self-deprecating attitude.
So how are we going to succeed this time?
“All human activity is prompted by desire”– Bertrand Russell
Hunger is one of our strongest and most natural desires, along with sex drive and thirst. Hormones fuel these desires making it difficult to think clearly and make sensible decisions when they become too strong. This explains out of character behaviours such as downing a bottle of someone elses leftover 7up mixer after a night out to quench the thirst of a hangover, kissing the one person you shoudn’t after one too many tequilas or biting someones head off for simply breathing when Hangry. Things most of us wouldn’t dream of doing on a normal functioning day but hormones, their powerful.
When you’re hungry, a hormone called ghrelin and his buddies flow through your blood to your brain to wipe out your willpower if you let them get too strong. These hormones are released in response to a drop in your blood sugar. They have a negative effect on both decision making and impulse control. They care about feeding and not your most recent diet plan. Before you know it you’ll be reaching for the nearest source of simple, sugary carbohydrates. We can’t overcome hunger so we need to prevent it from getting too strong! How? Keep your blood sugar as steady as possible to avoid severe spikes and drops. Do this by: 1. Eat regularly. 2. Avoid foods with a high GI. 3. Be realistic in setting your dietary goals and don’t cut more than 200 calories/day at first. 4. Don’t skip meals. 5. Don’t cut out entire food groups. Your body will have absolutely none of that and you will fail if you try.
Be Prepared! It’s a slog. It’s a necessary slog, unless you want your diet to stay the way it is right now. A successful new eating plan is all about preparation i.e. Planning what you’re going to eat and having healthy food ready and with you, so you never reach the point of hunger where you’re eating everything that made you start the diet in the first place. A diary and some tupperwear are friends of successful, healthy diets. Plan what you’re going to eat for the week, do a shop and get all of the ingredients you’re going to need ready. Plan in pencil as everything is changeable depending on how your week goes. Always prepare your lunch the night before and bring it with you.
New lifestyle! Don’t try to do it all at once. Make small changes and as you make progress, slowly introduce more changes as the days unfold. We’re all guilty of making big resolutions at the weekend. “From Monday on; No carbs, no processed foods, no jellies(LOL)” Did it work the last time you tried it? No. Will it work this time? No. As human beings we are creatures of habit! You have to make gradual changes to allow your body to adjust or it simply will not work! Extreme changes will give you constipation. Not girls though lol ‘Girls are 100% digestion’-Prof. Eoin Ryan. The success of your diet will be determined, not by your New Years or New Weeks resolutions but by the small decisions you make every hour of every day from now on.
*WARNING* HOLE AHEAD, DO NOT FALL IN. So you’re starting your new diet tomorrow? on Monday? Don’t ‘binge-out’ on the lead up to the beginning of the diet. This is the hole so many people fall into (Guilty of 11.30pm Pre-Lent mcflurry runs) but it’s insanely counterproductive. -Say hypothetically I want to give up refined sugar. So from tomorrow on I’m not eating another sour watermelon, magic carpet or any jelly of any sort. Great:( So I may aswel eat whatever I want today and tonight while i can, right? So I can be happy now and then I won’t be craving the little jelly bastards tomorrow, right? Wrong. You do that and you’ll send your blood sugars sky hiigh with nowhere to go but down with a crash. Then Monday arrives and so will extra crash induced cravings, extra hurdles you don’t need to add to an already big adjustment. Keep it steady, succeed.
Sub in for what you cut out. If you are getting rid of certain foods out of your diet you must replace it with a healthier, better option for you. For example if you’re used to eating eggs with toast for breakfast and now you need to cut out gluten for whatever reason. You need to sub something else instead like salmon, more eggs, veg, or a gluten-free alternative. Find food you like! Don’t just switch to leafy green salads because you know they’re healthy. Do the research! Find new recipes, try find new, better food to enjoy As I already said, put in the slog and you’ll et the results. If you simply cut things out without a good substitution then you’ll be left unsatisfied and sad- which is not sustainable. At all.
Be informed! Know what you’re eating. To do this, especially in the beginning, cook absolutely everything you eat yourself. This is so key. Many people struggle to lose weight or achieve their dietary goals if they are eating out more than once a week. You may think you’re choosing the healthy option in a restaurant but it’s generally not. It could’ve been deep fried in god knows what and what ingredients are even in the sauces and dressings they like to lather on? Why do you think everything is tastier when you’re eating out? Heaps of salt, fat, flavourings, hidden calories, ingredients that you don’t want. By all means have the odd treat but you’re reading this because you want to make a change and take my word for it.. the only way to do that is to cook everything you eat at home.
Positive mindset! Many people come at a diet from a negative mindset of “I’m so fat” or “I’m so skinny, I need to be bigger’ This kind’ve attitude is destined for failure. Focus less on your vices and more on learning to love yourself. You might be a bit hesitant about the Power of Positive thinking and I know this sounds a bit wishy-washy, lovey-dovey but If you love yourself and your body, you are going to be far less inclined to want to fill it with junk and more likely to treat yourself like a machine that deserves the best fuel. You must believe in yourself, believe you’re worth a healthier lifestyle, even if it requires extra effort. Be grateful for your past mistakes as they have led you here, to the decision you’re making to improve your body and change your life. Changing your diet is incredibly difficult and so you will have ‘bad days’. Realise that you’re human and you will have setbacks as we all do, it’s part of the process. There is no such thing as ‘falling off the wagon’, this isn’t a wagon, this is your life. We all have weaknesses that we occasionally give into and that’s ok. Accept it, you certainly need a release every now or then, a ‘rest’ along the way, especially when making big changes. Get up tomorrow and keep going, step by step and you’ll get there.