How to Stick To A Healthy Diet… For Real
“I want to clean up my diet and lose weight so bad!”
It’s a sentence I hear women say on a near-daily basis.
Yet these same ladies spend years and thousands of pounds ‘trying’ to get healthy and not getting very far at all.
If that sounds like you, read on. I’ve collated the top 3 reasons women fail to do the one thing they need to do to lose weight and get healthy: stop eating crappy foods that make you look and feel like crap. Oh and of course, powerful strategies for turning things around and becoming a healthy eating pro!
Your head isn’t in it
Switching from a lifetime of eating pizza and drinking wine to living on quinoa and green tea is hard. Don’t underestimate that – especially if you choose to go all in instead of making a gradual change. Far too many people see a friend, colleague or random celebrity transform into a healthy eating super babe after cleaning up their diet and get inspired to do the same. While that’s commendable, a problem arises if you throw yourself into a similar lifestyle change without realising the level of effort and diligence it takes to make that kind of transformation. While healthy eating truly does become a habit once you get used to it, those initial few weeks (sometimes months) will be rough, especially if you don’t plan accordingly or have a strong motivating factor to keep you on track.
What usually happens is once that initial excitement wears off, you’re likely to grow bored, decide it’s all too hard and quit. And although quitting brings relief in the short term, it can really destroy your self-esteem in the long term, make you believe you’re unable to stick to a healthy diet and destined to be out of shape and out of control around certain foods forever.
Strategy for success:
- Plan BEFORE starting a new healthy eating kick – do it at a time when you have few social commitments and work/life pressures
- Do your research! If you’ve been inspired by a friend’s results, ask the friend for the nitty gritty details about their experience. Forewarned is forearmed as they say!
- Find strong motivation for making the change, write it down on a card and place the card somewhere you’ll see it every time your resolve weakens… like your fridge door.
You’re a sucker for a shortcut
Be honest with yourself. Do you always get your head turned by an amazing new diet, superfood, diet pill, detox or exercise plan that claims to correct a lifetime of terrible eating in a matter of days or weeks.
That’s because you’re human and we all want to get the things we want as quickly and easily as possible.
If you think about it logically, you know those shortcuts just don’t work. If they did, everyone in the world would be slim and healthy; instead 1.6 billion people are obese.
The truth is there is no easy solution. Yep, there’s no safe pill that will melt off your love handles while you continue to dodge the gym and feast on pastries. And there’s no diet book or expert that’s going to magically transform you into a healthy eater without you putting in the hard work needed to change your less than healthy habits.
Strategy for success:
- Get real. Before you embark on yet another healthy eating scheme, take a look at your track record. Have all your past failure involved short cuts? If so, what’s going to be different this time? If you’re trying the latest short cut, the answer is probably: nothing.
- Keep a food and lifestyle diary. If you’re convinced that you’re doing things for real this time, keep a record of what you eat and do for the first 5 days of your new healthy plan, then review it. If you find you’re not doing the things you need to do to get healthy for real (that’s making time to exercise, buying healthy wholefoods, cutting down on processed foods, not giving into cravings every time you get one etc) that’s a sign you’re still trying to get healthy without actually doing the work that’s required.
You’re getting your advice from dodgy pseudoexperts
I love the internet, but it’s full of a lot of BS advice. Sorry.
That means you need to take care about where you get your advice from. I won’t name any names but I’ve had some clients come to me saying “I can’t lose weight and I’m eating super healthily” but on exploring their diets I’ve discovered they’re eating excessive amounts of healthy fats or protein because that’s what their favourite Instagrammer does.
Another healthy eating faux pas I keep seeing is women guzzling raw desserts made with lots of high sugar, high fat ingredients like dates, honey and peanuts. They are 100% convinced that because these raw treats are raw and made with healthy fats and natural sugars (and because their favourite health vlogger swears by these desserts) they can eat as much of it as they like without gaining weight or triggering sugar cravings.
The sad truth is that the body doesn’t work like that.
Strategy for success:
- Double check your sources. Don’t be so trusting. Just because a blog or social media post says something with conviction doesn’t mean it’s true. You can check out any random advice you stumble across by using a reputable website to verify the information. A great UK source is NHS Behind The Headlines, which provides an impartial view on health and nutrition claims made by the media. For straight-up nutrition advice, Harvard University’s Nutrition Source website never disappoints.
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