A diet should be a lifestyle change if you want it to be effective. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Getting clear on your goals and working a nutrition plan into your lifestyle can help you get the best results.
Your body needs certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for optimal function. There are seven major nutrients required for survival. Other elements, like water and fiber, don’t give you energy but help to keep you alive.
One of the problems with modern foods is that they provide calories without delivering adequate nutrition. You’re probably familiar with the term “empty calories.” Foods with empty calories tend to contain added sugars and fats with minimal nutritional value. Making your diet easy to maintain for your lifestyle can help you stick with it and reach your health goals.
What Are Your Diet Goals?
Eating a healthy diet can help you reach any goal – whether that be weightloss or simply living a healthier lifestyle. Setting a goal also gives you a basis for evaluating your changes and determine whether it’s working or whether you need to tweak something. If you don’t see results, you’re not likely to continue to make lifestyle changes. However, you won’t know what results you desire if you don’t set goals first. Working with a health or nutritional professional can aid you in defining your diet mission and help you stay on track.
The Importance Of Changing Your Habits
Once you have set your diet goals, you can work towards establishing consistency in your diet. When a habit and an intention conflict with each other, the brain is more likely to direct your behavior based on the habit rather than the intention. Therefore, transforming your diet changes into a habit is one of the keys to making this work for your lifestyle.
Once you have established a habit, the decision-making part of your brain is dampened. That’s a good thing when it comes to your diet. Instead of talking yourself into choosing veggies over potato chips, it becomes a no-brainer. It also frees your mind and allows you to focus on more important things so that you’re not thinking about food all the time.
5 Tips For Making Your Diet Work For Your Lifestyle
The following tips will help you set healthy habits that you can stick with for life!
- Start Slow
Have you ever run headstrong into a new routine only to find yourself burning out shortly afterward? The key to designing a diet for your lifestyle is to start small. To make a diet part of your life, create a change that’s so miniscule that avoiding it seems impossible.
You can use this idea for eating healthier by consuming just one more vegetable than you normally would. Once you take the first step, your mind will start to let go of its resistance to the idea. Within a few days or weeks, you’ll begin to have a compulsion to build on the habit instead of giving up, which is what can happen if you make too many big changes too quickly.
- Give Yourself A Cue
Changing any habit requires planning. You don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing your diet routine though. Using a simple cue can help you automate your behavior change. This works even if you don’t do it every time or forget to do it periodically.
Some cues that you could use include:
- While I cook, I’ll drink a full glass of water.
- With each meal, I’ll eat some greens.
- When I crave sugar, I’ll drink sparkling water instead.
The cues allow you to repeat the behavior in a consistent context, which is one way to solidify habit change. They also give you a chance to adapt to your diet in a way that works with your lifestyle.
- Write It Down
Writing down your cues and posting them in a prominent place can help you remember them so that the habits begin to stick. Keeping track of other aspects of your diet, such as daily calorie consumption, favorite quick and easy meals, and cravings, in a journal can also help you modify a diet based on your lifestyle.
You can’t change anything in your life if you’re not aware of it. Recording information about what you eat and how you feel can give you a clear picture of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your diet. When you know what’s effective, you can focus on creating consistency around it so that you can maintain the healthy habit.
- Make It Enjoyable
No matter how effective a diet appears to be, if sticking to it is grueling, you’re not likely to continue. Be flexible, and focus on what you enjoy!
For example, if you’re trying to avoid dairy, you might crave cheese all day. Instead of inwardly complaining that you can’t eat the cheese, focus on the abundant variety of foods that you can eat. Choose fruits and vegetables that you absolutely love, and give yourself a chance to experiment with different ways of cooking and eating them to come up with delicious meals and snacks that you will eventually find yourself craving.
- Plan Ahead
Go into every day with a plan. Taking a few moments every evening to prepare for the next day can help you modify a diet for your lifestyle and avoid surprises that might otherwise make you fall off the wagon.
Prepping for a catered lunch meeting by packing your own lunch can prevent you from snacking on cheese cubes and fancy desserts. Knowing what vegetables are in your refrigerator can help you start the day with a healthy breakfast instead of waking up and relying on a sugary granola bar because your cupboards were empty.
You don’t have to meal plan for an entire week if that doesn’t work for you. Just spend a few moments to come up with a diet strategy for every day, and that planning will also become a habit that sets you up for long-term success!