Long-term diet change
There’s no denying that making long-term diet changes can be a tricky thing to do. With so many temptations out there from sweet treats and drive-thru windows, it’s hard to give up eating the way you’re used to. However, it can 100% be done successfully. How do I know?
Because I’ve done it before!
Whether you’re striving to lose weight or you just want to lead a better lifestyle, I’m sharing 10 ways to make a positive, long-term diet changes. This tips will make lifestyle changes much easier and more pleasant.
1. Start By Making Small Changes
Once you’ve made the decision to make a healthy change in your diet, you might be tempted to dive right in by changing everything at once. The reality is, that type of drastic change can be intimidating and often sets you up for failure. Changing your diet is a commitment and it’s typically easier on you mentally if you make small, gradual changes.
You can start by making a few healthier swaps with your meals and snacks here and there to get off on the right foot. For example, instead of reaching for potato chips for your afternoon snack, you can choose peanut butter and an apple instead. Changes like this are totally doable and less daunting for you, thus making them easier to stick to over time.
2. Try Keeping a Food Journal
Since you probably lead a busy life, the last thing you want to do is add another task to your to-do list… But this one will be a game-changer when it comes to long-term diet change. Keeping a food journal is a great way to track everything you eat on a daily basis. It allows you to see just how much you’re consuming and how you can make smarter swaps with your daily meals.
Another great tip is to jot down your mood whenever you have a snack throughout the day. You may start to notice a correlation between how you feel and when you start getting those snack cravings. You might find yourself hitting the kitchen looking for something sweet when you’re really just feeling bored, which is a good sign food isn’t what you need at the moment. Other feelings that can bring on those unhealthy cravings are sadness and stress, so keep an eye on your emotions.
Journaling is also beneficial because it provides an opportunity to set food, diet, and even weight goals for yourself. Psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews, conducted a study about goal setting at the Dominican University in California. It was discovered that the participants were 42% more likely to achieve their goal when they took the time to write them down.
3. Don’t Give Up Your Favorite Foods
When making long-term diet changes, the thought of giving up some of your favorite, possibly unhealthy foods, probably isn’t the most exciting. The good news is, you don’t have to give up all your favorite meals and you shouldn’t. Dieting is much easier when you don’t restrict yourself, but instead, make smarter choices about what you eat and how often.
Allowing yourself to indulge in a small treat isn’t going to completely ruin your efforts to have a healthier diet. You just want to make sure you aren’t overindulging, especially when it comes to treats. You can even make better choices by choosing less sugary desserts that have simpler ingredients you can feel good about eating. And let’s be honest, treating yourself to that bowl of pasta every now and then certainly won’t hurt!
Be mindful about the things you do allow yourself to indulge in—don’t overindulge. You can choose healthier recipes and enjoy smaller portions. Even something as simple as using smaller plates can help you be more mindful of portion size. It’s all about making better decisions that suit your new lifestyle, as opposed to eliminating the things you love.
4. Keep Breakfast Simple
Breakfast is a very important meal, but unfortunately, many people skip it because they feel they just don’t have time.
With so many of us rushing to get out the door each morning, we find ourselves not taking enough time to prepare a nutritious breakfast that can be enjoyed. However, breakfast time doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take forever to prepare.
You can make your morning meal quick and simple by making a smoothie that’s loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. With some added protein powder, you can easily use it as a meal replacement. In fact, a study has shown that meal replacement drinks can actually promote sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of disease. There won’t be any reason to skip out on breakfast when you have a protein-filled drink that can go with you.
This is one long-term diet change that will set you up for success.
5. Learn to Love Healthy Snacks
You don’t have to feel guilty for giving into your snack cravings when you have something healthy and nutritious to eat that won’t be a calorie overload. When you hit the grocery store, stock up on items like celery, cabbage, and watermelon. Celery and watermelon can be great as a fresh snack in the afternoon. And you can use cabbage as a side dish for your dinner.
6. Eat Mindfully & Savor Your Food
How often do you find yourself shoveling your dinner into your mouth without taking the time to truly enjoy it?
If you’re guilty of this, it’s time to make a change. Instead of rushing meal time, savor the meals that are put in front of you. Thoughtfully chew each bite, instead of scarfing everything up within minutes. Studies show that people who ate slowly consumed fewer calories, but still felt satisfied after a meal.
You’ll learn to appreciate the food you have and you’ll be able to enjoy all the flavors your meal contains. After all, food isn’t just about nourishing your body. It’s important to eat things that taste good too! Otherwise, you’ll never stick to you long-term diet changes.
7. Don’t Try to Be Perfect
When we decide to commit to a new diet, we often promise ourselves we’re going to cut out this and stop eating that. We tell ourselves we’re going to eat filling, hearty breakfasts and never hit the drive-thru window on the way to work. While that’s great that you have those big goals for yourself, it’s often unrealistic to make those changes all at once.
We are never going to be perfect when it comes to long-term diet change. We’re going to slip up. And we’re going to give in to those sweet temptations ever once and a while. And that’s okay because you’re a human being and you’re allowed to!
What’s important is that you are making smarter choices overall. As mentioned above, it’s fine to indulge in your favorite foods. You just need to be careful about how you choose to indulge, including what you eat and how often.
8. Try a Meal Delivery Service
You can make healthy eating even easier with the help of a meal delivery service. When nutritious meals are planned for you and delivered straight to your door, you literally have no excuses! You’ll also be less likely to hit the drive-thru window as a last resort since you’ll always have something to prepare for dinner.
Another benefit is that you’ll do less grocery shopping when your meals are taken care of thanks to a meal delivery service. Less time in the grocery store means you’ll be less likely to be tempted into purchasing and bringing home unhealthy junk food.
Sam’s note: If meal delivery services aren’t available where you live, if they’re outside your budget, or you’re more of a DIY-er, you might like to try learning to be a Killer Meal Planner.
9. Get Back on Track if You Slip Up
If you find that you’ve slipped up on your diet, don’t panic.
Don’t beat yourself up or think you’re doomed to never lose weight or lead that healthier lifestyle you dream about. One or two slip-ups isn’t going to completely derail all of your other efforts to make progress with your long-term diet changes. What’s important is that you don’t give up on your diet and that you get right back on track by making smart choices with your food again.
One meal is not going to undo all of your hard work. You can get back to your diet by planning meals in advance and picking up your favorite fresh, healthy ingredients at the grocery store.
10. Find Accountability
Our final long-term diet change tip is to get a friend or family member who can hold you accountable. This gives you the ability to check-in with someone and share your progress. It’s even better if they’re on the same journey as you because you can cheer each other on and lend your support. Making big lifestyle changes, including your diet, is much easier when someone is there for you whenever you’re feeling low, need some encouragement, or just need a helping hand.
If you don’t have anyone personally to hold you accountable, the internet can help you out as well. With so many fitness communities online, you’re sure to find someone you can connect with. In fact, a study that was conducted found internet communities played a vital role in their participants’ weight loss progress.
Guest posts reflect the views and opinions of the author and are not associated with Live the Whole. While I try to only publish posts that are well researched and/or based on the personal experience of the author, I can’t take responsibility for them. If something sounds interesting to you, check it out (and ask your doctor).