Making changes is never easy. It’s always a process and it takes time. There’s no quick or easy way around that. It’s just the way it is. I’ve spoken to several people recently who began cleaning up their eating habits and started exercising only to quit and give up on it all a few short weeks later. Why do some people dig in and stay the course and others just decide it’s too hard?
A “diet” is by it’s very definition a temporary thing. When anyone starts a “diet” the overriding thought is: “I’ll stay on this until I lose X-number of pounds and then I can eat normally again.” You know what happens when the diet is over and you go back to eating “normally” again – all the weight, and usually more, sneaks right back on.
In order to change how you eat, you must create a new “normal” way of eating. That isn’t always easy. There are 4 steps I’ve found in order to be successful:
1. Get good, reliable information. Learn a new way to eat – what foods should you include? Avoid? How do you prepare them?
2. Make a firm commitment for a specific time period. In other words, you have to at least commit to 3 weeks. That is the minimum time required to institute a new habit. Longer is better, but at least commit to 3 weeks. Give your body and mind a chance to adjust to the changes you are making.
3. Plan for success or plan to fail! What I mean by that is take time to plan out your meals and snacks; prepare them ahead so that you don’t walk in the door at the end of the day, starving, and throw caution to the wind and eat whatever you can get your hands on. That’s when people decide that they’ve screwed up so they might as well just give up.
4. Finally – be accountable – to someone! If you have a health or fitness coach or trainer – great. But you can ask a friend, your spouse, sibling or even one of your children if they are old enough, to be your accountability partner. Statistics show that people who have to account to someone regularly are more successful overall.
So, I ask you again – which are you? Do you keep on keeping on until you succeed or do you give up too soon?