Find out the one change in your mindset to take your diet from a zero to a hero
By Yajen Tan
Every time January comes around, people run into the gym and jump on diet programs with the goal of achieving their New Year’s resolution. Some believe that by jumping on this bandwagon, they’ll end up healthier, happier, and maybe with toned abs and arms for when summer rolls around. Unfortunately, by the second week of February, 80% of those New Year’s resolutions are abandoned.
The truth is, when choosing your diet, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Most diets will fail because they’re over as soon as the goal has been achieved. People get on their calorie restricted diets that might have them starving all the time or eating strange concoctions; but unfortunately, as soon as they hit their weight goals, they return back to their old habits and all of a sudden, the weight loads right back on.
The reason why this happens is people often focus too much on results and not enough on the actual process. Your co-worker or neighbor don’t look swimsuit ready all year round from winning the genetic lottery; they achieve it by maintaining a highly active lifestyle and good dietary behaviors that works for them. So instead of focusing so hard on the end goal, take a step back and figure out what it really takes for people to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle all year round.
How can you set yourself up for success?
When someone comes up to me looking to improve his or her diet, I first take a look at a few aspects that will determine how the diet will work: personal schedule, activity levels, preferred foods, and long term goals. All these things play a big role in determining meal frequency, composition, and volume. The biggest rule is: if it doesn’t work for you, try something different. If you aren’t able to make your diet fit your personal needs, then it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t be able to maintain it for the long haul, and believe me, a healthy diet doesn’t mean plain boring food for the rest of your life.
If you’re setting out on making any sort of dietary change, I always recommend people to start one meal at a time. This helps you avoid being overwhelmed by a huge shift all at once, plus it gives you an opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Given the diversity of any given population, it’s hard to give very general recommendations in this case that can apply to everyone. If you’re serious about taking a leap into improving your eating habits, check out the government website ChooseMyPlate.gov to find a bunch of resources that can help you jumpstart your healthy lifestyle. On a final note, I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep testing to figure out what works best for you.