I want to share with you why 83% of people who start a diet give up within 5 weeks, and how you're not going to be one of those people.
Falling into Old Habits
So you've started your new healthy lifestyle, you're feeling great, sleeping better, have tons of energy, and all your hard work is paying off. But then what happens?
- Someone at work brings in a big box of donuts.
- Your husband/wife or significant other really wants to go for pizza.
- You're exhausted from work, nothing is in the fridge so you just grab something quick and easy (but maybe not that healthy).
- You go on vacation and since you're out enjoying yourself, you might as well just take a look at the buffet...
Next thing you know that one cheat meal leads to an entire weekend of junk food. You promise yourself you'll start eating healthy again tomorrow, or Monday, or sometime next week...
This is when you're truly tested, and sometimes it just takes that one thing for you to stumble back into old habits.
You start asking yourself why you just cant follow through? why do you keep struggling to stick with a new diet? Well it's a lot more common than you think, failing to make the transition and falling back into old habits is the #1 complaint I receive.
What I've discovered is the road to health is NOT a clean fresh highway that you can race down, but rather a bumpy and rough road, filled with potholes.
Set backs are part of the game, and to be expected. The best advice I can give you is don't beat yourself up! You're human, and we all fall off the bandwagon from time to time. The absolute best thing to do is accept and forgive yourself, and keep moving forward.
Here's how you make change STICK:
1. Get Total Clarity on your Goals
You want to have clear and detailed goals, something to strive for everyday.
Write these goals down and put it somewhere you'll see it everyday. One women told me she wrote her goals down on her mirror in her bathroom, so she see's it every morning. Be SPECIFIC, don't just say "I want to lose weight".. sure, but how much weight? by when? The more specific the better.
Why Do You Want to Switch to Paleo? Eat healthy?
- "I want to Lose 2 pounds a week, over the next 4 weeks"
- "I want to Feel more energetic and have less brain fog at work, and reduce the amount of coffee I have to 1 cup a day by July"
- "I want to able to run a full 2 Miles in the morning before work by the end of summer"
Here's the big one. Why do you want those goals? You need to really dig down deep and think about why it is you really want this. Otherwise what's the point?
You might say something like: "I want to lose the weight so I fit into an old pair of jeans from my younger years"
Ok Great! But why? Keep asking what these things really mean to you. This is fuel you need to drive you, especially when things get tough.
Why do you want these goals? What will it mean to you? Example:
- "If I lose that weight I'll feel more attractive to my significant other, or have more self confidence to meet new people"
- "If I have more energy I can spend more time with my kids, or move further in my career"
- "By improving my health I'll feel better about myself, more confident and vibrant, just like I was in my 20's."
You don't have to do this all right now, spend the next few days thinking about what eating healthy will mean to you. Why is this important to you? And Write it down!
3. What happens if you DON'T succeed?
Now you know all the great things that will happen when you make these positive changes in your life. But what do you think will happen if you stay with your old negative habits? Let me be clear, This is NOT about beating yourself up over failure. Think of this as more of a reality check, or what COULD happen.
I want you to motivate you to make the right choices by seeing the consequences of your actions. Again, be specific.
What will happen if you don't eat healthy? if you don't change your lifestyle? etc...
- "I'll continue to gain weight, and feel lousy and depressed"
- "I won't have the energy to spend time with my kids, and I'll miss important moments in their life"
- "My health problems will continue to worsen, and I'll have to begin taking expensive medications just to get through the day"
4. Make a Plan
Did you know your brain LOVES habits? So much in fact, that your brain will fight to keep bad habits even if they don't serve you.
It's a big reason people fall back into the old habits, because it takes a lot of time and effort to ingrain the new ones into your life. The good news is, once you've established new habits, they become Automatic! And it will feel weird to NOT eat healthy.
You have all the reasons to succeed, now it's time to make a plan. Your plan ultimately depends on the goals we just discussed. Brainstorm how you're going to achieve your goal, and break it down into small steps. Write these all down, and keep it somewhere so you'll see it everyday.
- Step 1: Do some research on Paleo and how to lose weight.
Step 2: Make a meal plan for the week.
- Step 3: Print off a dozen healthy recipes and keep them on the fridge.
- Step 4....
It's different for everyone, but you get the idea.
5. Be Compassionate with yourself
Life happens. Sometimes you're making all kinds of progress and then one thing happens and you're off the bandwagon again. It happens to everyone.
But sometimes that self criticism creeps in, you start to feel like you're just bad, unworthy, or unable to complete tasks. Self criticism is demoralizing, and kicking yourself while you're down won't help.
In fact a study found that people who beat themselves up often are MORE likely to procrastinate or fail again in the future. It's a never ending loop that you must break free from.
The Simple Solution: Be kind to yourself, remind yourself this is all part of the process and there are setbacks along the way.
Plan for these setbacks before hand, know that it will happen and be prepared for how you'll handle it when they do happen. Forgive yourself, and move forward. I've tried and failed many times, but I'm most proud of the moments when I had every reason to stop, but decided to keep going anyway.
Side note: Are you eating enough?
Sometimes the problem with sticking to a new diet isn't the lack of planning, but the lack of food!
I know it may sound backwards if you're trying to lose weight, but you may literally be starving yourself which is causing major setbacks.
When you exclude things like grains, legumes, and dairy from your diet you are also excluding a lot of slow-digesting, calorie dense foods. Vegetables and lean meats are lower in calories, and in some cases they're faster digesting.
As a result your body may not be getting the required energy it needs to get through the day, putting you into "starvation mode".
When this happens you're body and brain will work against you and look for quick energy in the form of simple carbs (think junk food and sugar). The result is an all out binge.
The remedy is simple. Eat more. And eat more frequently. You don't have to go hungry while on the Paleo diet, and you can still lose weight.
You don't have to start calorie counting all the time, but the NHS states the average female should get around 2000 calories a day.
So, using a calorie counter, and try and get an idea of how many calories you consume on a daily average, and if you're drastically low then it's time to add more food. Everyone is different, and how many daily calories you consume daily is based on your body.
The Road Ahead
You're on the right path now, but the road ahead will still be bumpy. You'll need patience and a bit of energy to drive you forward.
Let me know how things are going!
Share your story with me, I want to hear how you succeeded, or how you fell down but how you're going to get back up again. What kind of setbacks have you experience? What are some of your big successes? Share in the comments below.