Finding it Hard to Stick to That Healthy Eating Plan?

I get a lot of e-mails from people who have trouble sticking to their healthy eating plan. They do very well the first 3-4 days, but after depriving themselves of what they love so much they end up giving in on day 5 and splurge on all the wrong foods again.

Suddenly the healthy eating plan is history!

If you are trying to change your eating habits and find it hard to stay focused, here's some advice and I think you'll like it...

Don't Try to Quit Cold Turkey!

You may not realize it but a lot of bad foods can be addictive. You could be an addict of sugar, fast food, salt, etc. So for most, it's very unrealistic to drop those foods from your diet for weeks or months at a time.

So don't torture yourself like that. Make gradual changes in your diet and when you get down to the desirable weight, you can still have the foods you love, just have them in moderation.

Let's say you love white bread and soda (not necessarily together, I might add!). You realize they are a big part of why you are overweight. Sure there may be other foods you abuse but for now let's just pick one or two.

Instead of trying to change your diet cold turkey and eliminating all the bad foods, just try eliminating one or two of them for 2-3 weeks without changing anything else. You may be surprised at how much weight you'll lose, especially if you go overboard on a certain food.

What this does is helps you stay motivated. At the end of the 2-3 weeks you'll notice you've lost some weight and if you just eliminate another bad food you can lose even more!

Rather than setting a goal to eat all healthy foods for 4 weeks and then getting frustrated on day 3 and quitting, you are setting smaller, more attainable goals that you know you can reach.

Weight loss is a mental game and so many people give up quickly because they stop believing they can give up the foods they love for any extended period of time.

But as you gradually give up certain foods/drinks and start seeing results, you'll realize you can make the changes in your diet and the results will be encouraging.

There was an Oprah show where a woman gave up soda for a month with no other diet changes and lost 30 pounds.

Now, I will say that is probably not going to be the norm unless you consume very large amounts of soda (she admitted this was her problem). But if you take one food or drink you abuse and give it up for a significant time period you may be surprised at the results.

Here's Your Eating Plan Assignment

Choose one or two foods (or drinks) you abuse. For example if you have to have a soda with every meal, drink water or a sugar-free drink instead.

Or if you have to have dessert after every meal, eliminate the dessert and eat a bowl of fruit or a handful of nuts. Or if you're really brave, eat NOTHING for dessert. :)

Another goody is eating before bedtime. Make a commitment to not eat at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Make sure it's something you really abuse. And if you don't eat/drink a lot of one thing choose a group. For example, you could choose to give up salty foods or all candy. It has to be something substantial enough to see a difference.

1) Weigh yourself before you start

2) For the next 3 weeks, do not consume the food(s) or drink(s) you chose to eliminate.

3) Don't make any other changes to your eating habits and be careful not to choose a make-up food to replace what you're giving up unless it's a healthy food. That will defeat the whole purpose.

So if you are giving up soda, you could replace it with water, but it would be worthless to replace it with beer or kool-aid.

4) At the end of the 3 weeks weigh yourself to see the difference.

If you really chose items that you truly abuse, I guarantee you'll see a difference and that's with no exercise involved.

The Lesson

The point of this article is not to say you can lose as much weight as you want by eliminating one or two foods. It's to help you stick to your weight loss goals by gradually preparing you to eat healthier.

Of course if you want to lose larger amounts of weight and keep it off, you are going to have to continue to eliminate the bad foods, exercise and more importantly maintain a healthy diet.

If your plan is to do this long enough to lose X amount of pounds and then go back to eating whatever you want, not only are you screwing with your metabolism, but you'll have to start all over again when you're ready to shed the pounds again.

This routine will hopefully get you started and keep you motivated long enough to realize you can indeed lose the weight. It will also show you how much of an impact certain foods can have on your weight.

It's also a reminder that certain food can be addictive, and often times it's best to gradually eliminate those bad eating habits instead of expecting yourself to do it all at once.

Good luck!

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