One of the hardest parts of any diet or plan is sticking to it! Whether you plan to give up fried foods or simple carbs or sweets, doing so for long term is what gives you results. You know by giving up sugar just for a couple of weeks is not going to alter the desired health outcome.
There are some tricks to play to help you stay on track with your plan. It is not all in your mind but the mind does have a lot to do with it. A strong will power helps and you can assist your will power with some of these tricks.
- Out of sight out of mind: Keep the foods you plan to eat more of right in front in the refrigerator or on the counter. For the foods you do not plan to incorporate into your healthier eating plan routinely hide them in the back of the pantry, refrigerator or give them away. Better yet, do not buy them to begin with. If it is not in the house, chances are you won’t get up and go to the store when you have the urge to eat something you know is not good for you.
- Put it in writing: Whatever your plan is write it and keep it in front of you. Place it on the refrigerator, at your desk or on the bathroom mirror so you are reminded of it throughout the day. Once you write it you make a stronger commitment and sharing the plan with your loved ones (by displaying it) helps you remain committed.
- Positive thinking: Be optimistic. Positive thinking has been shown to have a great impact on your health overall. Instead of listing “don’t” on your plan focus on the “do”s. Pay attention to all you CAN eat rather than what you cannot. There really are more healthy foods than unhealthy foods.
- Self talk: Many times we focus our energy on taking care of others. Remember to take care of yourself. You are worth the effort. Complement yourself at the end of the day when you have accomplished any part of your plan. Did you make it to the gym today? Great! Tell your friends and family that you did it!
- Smell before taste: Mindfulness involves making use of all your senses all the time. Bringing mindfulness to the meals begins with not only admiring how the food looks but also how appetizing it smells. Take a moment to appreciate the sense of smell. You can make the cup of coffee go a long way if you enjoy the aroma first.
- Accept pitfalls: We are all human and despite playing tricks on our mind and strong will power there can be times we veer off our plan. Acknowledge it and start again. One little mis-step never hurts the big, long-term plan. We are all human.
- Accountability partner: Get yourself an accountability partner. It can be your best friend, a spouse or your Registered Dietitian. Routine check in with your accountability partner will help you work out the pitfalls, get encouragement to stay on your plan and celebrate the success.
- Visualize: What motivated you to make a plan for the change in your lifestyle? Is it a wedding, marathon, birthday celebration, a special trip? Visualize the end result. Create a picture or cut one out of a magazine and keep it in your sight as a reminder of the goal you want to achieve with the plan.