One reason most diets fail is that long-term goals can be overwhelmingly difficult: When the plan is to watch what you eat for the next six months, drinking one caramel latte with whipped cream seems like a minor slip. To avoid that kind of thinking, commit to eating well for a fixed amount of time that you’re 100 percent confident you can manage, even if it’s just a few days. Breaking up a long term diet plan in your mind in 5 day intervals will help your mind stay focused on the “Now” instead of worrying about 3 months from now or longer
“Once you make it to your goal date, start over,” says Mary Vernon, M.D., chair of the board of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. “This establishes the notion that you can be successful and gives you a chance to notice that eating better makes you feel better, reinforcing your desire to continue.”
Finding meaningful motivation
If the main purpose of your diet is cosmetic, such as to look amazing in your clothes, you’re probably not going to stick with it for the long run.
The solution: “Arm yourself with additional motivators,” says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., of the University of Connecticut. He suggests keeping a daily journal in which you monitor migraines, heartburn, acne, canker sores, and sleep quality in addition to body measurements and the number on the scale. Write down feeling or thoughts about your moods and how they prompt you to eat certain foods, while taking notice of what eating that food is really doing for you at that time. “Discovering that your new diet improves the quality of your health and your level of energy is powerful motivation,” Volek says. Even keeping a photograph of a realistic person whose weight you could achieve, handy on the fridge can remind your brain of your goal over and over.
Move on after a mistake
OK, so you overindulged or pigged out. Try your hardest not to say, “Oh well, I ruined my diet for today so I may as well just eat whatever I want and try to start tomorrow or another day”. Instead ask yourself, “What’s the next step? The answer is: “Forget about it,” says James Newman, a nutritionist at Tahlequah City Hospital, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who followed his own advice to shed 300 pounds. (That’s right, three hundred.) “One meal doesn’t define your diet, so don’t assume that you’ve failed or fallen off the wagon,” he says. Institute a simple rule: Follow any “cheat” meal with at least five healthy meals and snacks. That will help ensure you that you’ll be eating right more than 80 percent of the time.
Eat Breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up
Sure, you’ve heard this advice before. But consider that if you sleep for six to eight hours and then skip breakfast, your body is essentially running on fumes by the time you get to work. And that sends you desperately seeking sugar, which is usually pretty easy to find. Try to eat a healthy protein, healthy fat and healthy unrefined carb which will keep your blood sugar levels running evenly until lunch if you can’t catch a healthy mid-morning snack. Examples might be a non-fat, plain Greek yogurt mixed with some almonds and walnuts and berries, or a waffle smeared with some peanut or almond butter, or a couple of eggs (even hardboiled to save time) dipped in some hummus if hard boiled or if cooked, then make them in healthy olive or coconut oil ), along with a slice of whole grain toast.
Bagels will make your blood sugar fall within 2 hours if not balanced with a healthy protein food. Bagels have too much bleached flour anyway and should be avoided. If you are desperate and in a place where there is nothing else to eat, you can pull out all the dough from the center and just eat the insides without it and pair it with a protein like a nut butter, cheese, yogurt or egg (turkey too) .
Restock your shelves in the fridge and cupboards
You’re more likely to give in to a craving when the object you desire is close at hand. So make sure it’s not even there: Toss the junk food and restock your cupboard and fridge with almonds and other nuts, cheese, fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna, chicken, and salmon. Do the same at work.
By eliminating snacks that don’t match your diet plan and providing many that do, you’re far less likely to find yourself at the doughnut-shop drive-thru or the vending machine. Snacks like Raw Unsalted Almonds, Raw Unsalted Walnuts, organic dried fruits like cranberries or raisins, sunflower seeds, natural popcorn with no oil.
Spot hunger that’s not really hunger
Do you have a craving for sweets even though you ate just an hour ago? Many times reaching for sweets after meals is just a habit that you are so used to, and you don’t even think twice. But if you have to have something, you can have a 60 calorie Tootsie Pop sucker, or a frozen natural no-sugar added popsicle for 45 calories, chew a stick of minty gum, a piece of low sugar fruit like an apple or grapefruit, brush your teeth, or drink a large glass of cold water or club soda with lemon. Wait another 20 minutes after that and you will find the craving will be gone. Change your environment, which can be as easy as stretching at your desk or turning your attention to a different task. If at home, walk into a room that is away from the kitchen and get your mind on anything else but food.
In today’s fast-paced, very stressful life, it seems that nothing soothes us like food. Try to brainstorm on activities, hobbies, prayer, writing or communicating with others that can take its place and “fill you up” emotionally rather than the emptiness of filling up on food beyond what your body needs.
By: Linda Wolschlager, Certified Nutrition Counselor/Wellness Coach