When you think about it, whenever someone decides to make diet changes to do stuff like lose weight, solve a stomach issue, or prepare for some major life event such as getting married, the hardest part isn’t getting started, but it’s finishing what they started.
Why is this?
I've found that it really just depends on the person. Some people fall back into old habits that they haven’t killed. Others are easily influenced and persuaded by the people who live with them. And still others simply struggle with adopting practices that are different.
A lot of times what's really needed to help people follow through with their health changes is a big picture.
A “in the grand scheme of things this is what I’m doing” sort of picture that draws a line from where one stands right now to where they want to be.
One of the ways I love to do this with clients is to give them referenceable lists. Lists that assure if they do a set of specific actions on a regular basis, they will accomplish whatever they set out to do. These lists work so well because they're like mental “blinders” that stop you from being pulled into the fad-diet distractions circulating the media.
I give to my clients referenceable lists for things like foods to avoid, for restocking their kitchen, even for individual daily nutritional commitments. Today you get a little taste of this because I’m sharing with you one of the most vital lists for when you need to make those diets changes stick for the long haul.
7 Tips to Make Your Diet Changes Last
#1 Don’t Look At It As A Diet
If you've gotten my 7 No-Fluff Steps to Never Dieting Again then you already know that thinking of any changes to the way you eat as a diet is a recipe for upset.
Operating from a diet mindset is centered around deprivation and is so draining. It causes you to feel like you're totally restricted from the foods you love and regularly has you stressed out over minor details like the size of a meal.
Instead of looking at your eating style changes as a short-lived diet, visualize the end result of what these changes will grant you. For instance, say you had a beloved bedtime sweets ritual. Every night before going to sleep you must have some cookies or a brownie. It's the ritual.
But then you decide, "I'm giving up my bedtime sweets ritual because I want to lose weight."
Think about it - how long is it going to last? You can desire to lose weight dozens of times during your life. Will simply losing weight be enough to lay that bedtime routine to rest for good?
Or would this work better? "I'm cutting out the bedtime sweets ritual because I want to have control of my habits instead of my habits controlling me, lose weight, and feel happy and confident in my body."
#2 Don’t Revert Back to Eating C.R.A.P.
You know what crappy eating looks like. It’s from fast food joints, it’s deep-fried, and it’s highly palpable. Specifically, the CRAP food I’m talking about is defined as:
C - carbonated soda drinks
R - refined sugars
A - artificial foods
P - processed foods
My suggestion? Just eat the real food. Don’t cut corners. And yes – this is going to require you to get acquainted with a kitchen and cook your own food. I know, I know, you probably don’t want to hear that but how else are you going to know exactly what’s going into your food unless you select and cook it yourself?
#3 Cut Out Soy
I always get the shocked gasp when I tell people soy is horrendous for their health.
Little do people know, soy contains some of the same gut damaging anti-nutrients found in grains; namely lectins and phytates.
Soy also contains these things called goitrogens. Goitrogens are compounds that block your thyroid’s ability to use iodine. When your body can’t use iodine like it's supposed to it can lead to hypothyroid problems and cause symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, and mood swings.
Not to mention, fellas, that soy is also known to be super estrogenic. This means it causes your natural testosterone levels to drop leaving you with low libido, low energy, waist + stomach fat gain, and even man boobs – a condition known as gynecomastia.
For us ladies it can cause abnormal periods, hinder fertility, and even contribute to the development of breast cancer.
#4 Eat More Quality Fat
If you want to control your weight you have to master controlling your hunger. The way to control hunger is to eat foods that satiate you for long periods of time (I’m talking 4-6+ hours long).
The two macronutrients that satisfy hunger for the longest period of time are high quality proteins and fat.
Contrary to everything you read and hear about low-fat = healthy, that is pure horseradish! A low fat diet is not going to benefit you. A diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates (relative to your activity level) however, will be beneficial.
Why do you think I’m always talking about drinking butter coffee over on Instagram?!
#5 Eat Out Less
This relates to the point I made in point number two when I encouraged you to take over the kitchen and learn to prepare your own meals. You really don’t know what you’re eating when you’re eating out, and you don’t really know what mediums they use to cook your food (referring to highly oxidized organ-stressing seed oils like peanut oil and canola oil).
You don’t know if they've prepared your dish using a god-awful soy based sauce. Heck, you don’t even know if they dropped your half of chicken on the floor before putting it on your plate!
Okay, maybe that was a little much. I take it back.
Eating out often exposes you to food toxins and preparation methods that you would not have to think about with a home cooked meal.
I’m not saying don’t ever eat out – just eat out less.
#6 Use the Right Cooking Fats
Do you know what primarily is behind issues like poor cholesterol, heart attacks, and stroke?I promise you this is still on topic so just hang with me.
Remember those highly oxidized organ-stressing seed oils I mentioned in the last point?
Yeah, we need to talk about those some more.
Industrial seed oils, aka PUFA oils, aka vegetable oils, are the byproduct of processing grain. Basically it's a waste product! And a subsidized one at that. These types of oils are highly unstable and when we cook with and eat them they oxidize, causing our organs to work in overdrive just to perform basic functions.
Over time this taxes out our organs. Not only do these oils cause free-radicals in the body (which directly contribute to cancer cells) but are directly linked to other problems like bad cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke. What's sad is that most packaged and bottled foods today contain these oils.
The oils you want to steer clear of are soybean, canola, corn, vegetable, peanut, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, cottonseed, grape seed, and flaxseed oil.
Instead you should stick to cooking with fats like coconut oil, butter, pork lard, duck fat, beef tallow, even your bacon renderings will work.
#7: Don't Be Restrictive
Finally, don’t be overly restrictive on yourself. There is no point in stepping into that deprivation role where you feel you can’t enjoy any food indulgences without a wave of guilt washing over you. Make your decisions about what you put in your mouth and be intentional about them. When you have the bigger picture front and center an occasional deviation from that isn't truly going to ruin the work you've done.