As we round out the holiday festivities (no pun intended) with a little more wiggle in the middle and a sugar-laden hangover to last through Valentine’s Day, we often look to the prospect of a new year fresh start to get us “back on track.” It’s so easy to think that this, this will be the year that we really crack down on our diet and exercise regimen. Think gym time every day and salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, baby. Or maybe we look to a pre-made, pre-packaged diet plan to tell us how and what to eat and guarantee that we’ll drop 30 pounds by the end of the month. Who wouldn’t want that ease? But here’s the thing: what if it didn’t have to be a New Year: New Diet Regimen? What if this year, you could achieve true, lasting change?
This is a call to diet change for GOOD. Rather than putting yourself on a quick fix diet plan, what if your “diet” just became the things you eat every day—and it’s something that you actually feel good about year-round? No reset, recharge, get back on the bandwagon mentality, just quality nourishment, 24/7, 365. By now you’re probably thinking, “What’s the catch, though?” The only catch is commitment. Changing a lifetime of less-than-stellar habits takes time. It’s not a “one and done in 30 days” kind of thing. It takes small, sustainable changes over time that lead to more positive change and long-lasting progress. It doesn’t happen overnight. True change requires consistency and commitment. And how might one get there?
1. Start with something small and manageable that you can tackle today.
Maybe it’s cutting down to one soda instead of 2, or focusing on slowing down when you eat to really register when you’re full, or not eating fast food one week. It doesn’t have to be major to be positive change. Start with where you can, master that, and then move on to the next thing. Let your successes in the smaller things fuel the bigger steps.
2. Have a plan.
It doesn’t have to be a massive master plan to guide you through the entire year. Set achievable goals, and plan out a tangible course of action. Plan meals. Plan to drink water. Plan your strategies for family functions and get-togethers. Plan this week, make that successful, then plan the next week. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to look at the entire year ahead all at once.
3. Ignore the bandwagon mentality.
Don’t see yourself as “on” or “off” the bandwagon. Don't even ride that bandwagon at all. When we view our eating habits as good or bad, it creates a spirit of failure and negativity. When life happens and we cave outside of our goals, suddenly we’re off the bandwagon and kicking ourselves for “failing.” It’s not a failure, just a minor detour. Get right back to the plan and keep going. Dwelling in the failure mindset just sets us up for more failure—when we’re feeling bad about something, it’s most often more “off plan” foods that appeal to us for comfort.
4. Track, track, track.
Monitoring is the best way to keep account of progress. It also allows you to truly keep track of what’s going on in terms of what you’re eating, how you’re feeling, and how those two really go hand in hand. This isn’t about calorie counting. It’s about real food always winning. Use an app for a couple of weeks to track meals, or just write down notes in a journal as you go throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be a forever thing, just something in the beginning to help you stay on track until things really begin to stick, and a great mirror tool to see how things really are.
5. Enlist the help of others.
It’s always easier to tackle something new when you can create outside accountability, as well as help others along the way. Even if it’s just one other person, you can motivate and encourage one another. Share recipes, share plans, talk goals, discuss struggles and strategies. Knowing that someone else is also struggling with some of the same things truly helps with your own journey.
6. Get in touch with me!
As a certified Nutritional Therapy practitioner, my job is to guide you into the world of whole, nourishing, nutrient dense foods, how to prepare them well, and how to listen to what your body is saying about the foods you eat. My heart and passion is to help and encourage, and I love walking that journey with you. I offer a free 30-minute consult to discuss goals, chat about how Nutritional Therapy can work for you, and just to see if this is a good fit for you. You can learn more and get in touch with me here.
Let this be your year of true, lasting diet change. No more crash diets or whirlwind fads that leave you in the same place time and time again. Real food is always the right way to go, and I’m here to help you learn just what that looks like for you. Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to this year, and how you’re committing to better health overall.
Here’s to a happy, healthy New Year!
In loving health,