Diet is probably the biggest four-letter-word women hate to hear. If you say it around certain people you can watch them visibly cringe. Why is this? This is usually because a diet is the hardest part of any healthy plan.
But, it is also the most effective.
Obviously diets are hard to stay on. People promise to get on them and stay on them, diet products sell like wildfire, and meal programs are the hottest source of food in the frozen section of the grocery store.
All of this effort and work can be needed because following a sensible eating plan can be hard work and boring. The hard work is from taking the time to plan and prepare the necessary food. It can be boring because you eat a lot of the same things over and over out of necessity. On top of all that, we have conditioned ourselves to find enjoyment out of food far more than we should. People will take 20 minutes of enjoying a pizza over enjoying how they look and feel all day long.
So how can you overcome this? Start small and work with baby steps. You need to ease back into any sort of diet just like you ease into a fitness program.
Far too many people try to just go cold turkey and completely overhaul their eating habits in a day or two and then get frustrated when they can’t maintain it after a week or two. In any other type of situation you wouldn’t expect to be able to make such a radical change and maintain it and a diet should be no different.
In fact, stop using the word diet.
Let’s focus on changing how you go about eating in general and then over time make adjustments to that process as you get more comfortable with it.
- Do not starve yourself. This is a very common step for most people where they reduce calories much further than they need to and it will cause all sorts of problems.
- Increase your water intake. Ideally you want to be drinking a glass of water about every hour and a half. You should start first thing in the morning and keep yourself well hydrated all day.
- Try and reduce sugar intake. Note I didn’t say eliminate to start. But you need to look at ways to cut back and slowly wean your body off excess sugar. Use less in coffee, with cereal, snacks, and desert.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Complex carbs and protein are the best way to start the day on the right foot. Do not skip this meal. Instead focus on whole grain carbohydrates that will give you energy for the day and protein for lean muscle.
- Eliminate wasteful carbohydrates from your daily routine. Generally speaking white foods like rice and potatoes should be avoided and whole grains, fruits, and veggies should be used. Again, don’t overhaul every single meal, just make small adjustments.
- Increase protein intake each meal. Protein will fill you up and help with lean muscle. Look to eat protein first in a meal before anything else.
- Pack a lunch and snack for work the night before to ensure you have good food available.
- If you typically eat sweets or desert cut your portion eaten in a day in half.
- No food after 8pm other than water and protein. Other foods just get converted to fat while you sleep.
- Look to substitute things like trail mix or popcorn for other snacks when hungry.
Start with these steps. They aren’t extreme and should be easy to maintain. As you see the effects they have on your body that should help with the mental aspect of staying focused. When you can visually see your body change it makes it easier to stay on track and even make more adjustments to tighten up the diet and thus your body. But, first things first; start with baby steps.