Tips for Sticking to Your Health Plan
by Jari Love
Tips for Sticking to Your Health Plan
When you are just starting a new diet and exchanging old habits for healthy eating patterns sticking to your health plan can be challenging. However, with a few tips you can make those changes last without succumbing to temptation.
- Set Realistic Expectations
If you’ve been struggling with healthy eating for a while and decide to change too many things at once you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. For example, if you decide to cut out sugar from your diet, slash your calorie intake in half and drink nothing but kale juice all at once you’ll find yourself back in your old patterns fast. Similarly, if you expect to lose 30 pounds in a week the first time you decide to make a healthy change in your diet you are likely to be disappointed. Instead set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Start by making one healthy change at a time, make it a habit, and then move on to your next goal. By setting achievable goals for yourself you set yourself up for success and making healthy choices will become easier and easier as you go along.
- Don’t Starve Yourself
Healthy choices means knowing that you still need to eat—just make healthy choices. If you cut your calories too drastically or completely cut out an entire food group like carbs overnight your body will feel deprived and you are more likely to backslide. Avoid eating more than your body needs to fuel itself during the day and stick with healthy options.
- Stay Committed and Don’t Make Exceptions
You can always find a reason to make poor eating choices: I need something fast, it’s the weekend, everyone else is having dessert etc. If you are going to stick to your plan you can’t make exceptions. Focus on your goals, and make healthy options easy for yourself. Always come home from work starving? Pre-prep cut veggies and fruit so you have something healthy on hand to grab when you get home to satisfy you until dinner. Find yourself making poor choices on the weekend? Don’t buy food you don’t want to eat—if it’s not in the house then chances are you’ll think twice about indulging yourself. Everyone else having dessert? Opt for fresh fruit—which brings us to the next point . . .
- Avoid Cynics
Sometimes not everybody supports, or understands, your new health plan. Avoid those who compromise your health choices and surround yourself with people who will encourage you in your goals. Once your health plan starts to pay off and everyone sees how great you look and feel chances are they will hop on your band wagon. Who knows you may even inspire someone else to make healthier choices in their life.
- Avoid Triggers
Pay attention to your body and your emotions and understand which circumstances trigger your desire to make poor health choices. Does your best friend always bake cookies when you visit? Invite her round to your place instead, or meet somewhere neutral. Do you crave sweets when you are tired or have had a bad day? Have a green tea, water with lemon, a piece of fruit or play with your dog, go for some light exercise to pick yourself up instead. Being self-aware of your triggers will help you recognize why you crave unhealthy foods and help you make better choices.
- Stay Focused
The first few days of your health plan will probably be easy. However, after a few days it can be more difficult to remember why you made the decision to change your lifestyle. Help yourself stay focused on your decisions and goals. Write yourself notes and motivational sayings, stick pictures of where you want to end up or of apples and broccoli next to your fridge or pantry. Give yourself concrete reminders of why you are doing this and soon making healthy choices will become habit.
- Get Over Mistakes
The goal is to eat healthfully and make good lifestyle choices every day. However, know that if you eat a brownie one day it’s not the end of your health plan. Forgive yourself and move on. Don’t give up because you made a mistake Get back to your routine and keep making healthy choices. Each time you decide to make a healthy choice the next one is easier. Start making the healthy choices you deserve.
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.