One of the most important components of your health is your diet. So if you want to improve your health, it probably means improving your diet. Unfortunately, if you’re used to eating certain foods and have certain bad habits associated with eating that you’ve collected over a lifetime, making healthy changes in your diet can be a real struggle. If you’ve always drunk a soda with lunch, it will be hard to drink something else like water. If you’re used to eating ice cream after dinner every night, it will be hard to replace that with fresh fruit. Here are a few tips to help you stick with your new diet and achieve the health goals you want.
One of the things that makes us make bad decisions in the moment is that we forget our long-term goals and focus instead on that momentary satisfaction. That chocolate cake would be good now, but we’ll only regret it later. For this reason, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re eating the food you’ve chosen, and to remember this motivation whenever you’re faced with a tough choice. Try posting a list of health goals somewhere you can readily see it to help remind you.
Another trap that often derails a new diet is when you’re hungry but aren’t sure what to eat. This is when it’s very easy to fall back into old habits and grab that soda or doughnut. Be sure to plan your meals and even snacks ahead of time so that when you’re feeling hungry there will be no question what you’re going to eat.
Make meals an event
It’s important when getting used to a new diet not to succumb to “grazing,” or eating randomly just because you’re hungry or just because food is offered. Try to make sure you eat your meals, and even snacks, sitting down at a table. Turn every meal into an event. This will help you associate eating with your table, and eventually your body will stop craving food in random situations, reserving those cravings for mealtime.
Save bad foods for last
Even if your diet allows a certain amount of “bad” food, a treat every now and then, save it as a reward for eating healthy. Eat the healthy food first, and maybe you’ll be full and won’t even want to eat the treat. This will also help your taste get used to the new diet, as instead of saturating your taste buds with the delicious treat, they will get used to experiencing the healthy food, and you’ll find you’ll enjoy it more over time.
Sticking with a healthy meal plan is mostly mental, as you force yourself to get used to a brand new set of habits and try to keep old habits from being strengthened. Be sure to celebrate all the small victories along the way so to encourage yourself to keep at it. Distractions help too, such as taking a walk when you feel an overwhelming craving. Not only will the exercise help your health, but getting your mind off the craving will help with your new habits. If you have any concerns about your health or want advice about changing your lifestyle and diet to meet health goals, be sure to contact Internal Medicine, Lipids, and Wellness Practice of Fort Myers. IMLWP has a certified dietician permanently as part of the practice, and Dr. Kordonowy is committed to the health and wellness of his patients. Call (239) 362-3005, ext 200.