Starting a diet to create healthy habits and lose weight is exciting, but sometimes it can get overwhelming. Challenges will pop up, but there’s a way to get out in front of everything and implement positive habits to stay on track. Sometimes changing everything at once is a recipe for disaster, so often it’s easy to start small. One diet, in particular, is the keto diet, and we explain in the Body Reboot book how people who would like to get healthy can incorporate the keto diet into their lifestyle.
1. Start with small changes
As we just mentioned above, starting small is the keto to long-term diet success. Eating Well explains this well by discussing why it’s in your best interest to begin with small changes. Soon small changes will become lifetime habits that will help you follow through with your health goals.
There's no need for dramatic shake-ups, like eliminating whole food groups or hitting the gym 7 days a week. It's better to start with tiny diet tweaks if you want them to become permanent changes. Trying to change everything and go to the extreme sets you up for failure.
Instead, set a small goal or two every week of a healthy change you'd like to make. That could be drinking a glass of water when you wake up to stay hydrated, adding a serving of vegetables to your lunch or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Small changes add up and can help you make healthier eating a way of life, rather than relying on short-term crash dieting.
Web MD also adds to these thoughts by admitting that change is hard, but if you make gradual changes, it’ll be much easier to stick to these changes as time goes by.
Change is hard. Making small, gradual changes in your eating patterns is the best way to overhaul your diet. Some experts suggest making just one change each week, to give you time to get used to the new behavior. Your ultimate goal is to establish new eating habits that can be sustained for a lifetime.
An excellent way to start is to stock your cupboards and refrigerator with healthy foods, and plan to prepare healthier meals at home. Pick up a new cookbook or cooking magazine specializing in healthy cuisine; post a favorite family recipe on the WLC “Recipe Doctor” board for tips on how to lighten it; or try one of the recipes from the Weight Loss Clinic collection.
2. Be realistic about your goals & make it about health
Having false expectations isn’t wise, because sometimes things will not always go according to plan. It’s best to be realistic about your goals and focus on how to get healthy and stay healthy. If you look to the future and follow through with your goals, you’ll be able to stick with a diet that’s helping you change for the better.
Most people who need to lose weight set lofty goals, dreaming of fitting into clothing sizes that may not be realistic for them. Yet losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve the way you feel, put a zip in your step, and, most importantly, improve your health. Studies show that losing even small amounts of weight can improve overall health and, specifically, lower blood pressure, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Set weight loss goals that are attainable, and keep in mind that the recommended rate of weight loss is only 1-2 pounds per week. Slow and steady wins this race. It takes time to learn new eating habits that will last for the rest of your life.
Very Well Fit explains how habits take place, and how eventually you learn to go without bread and other sweets. It may not be easy at first, but over time, it’s possible to create a habit and stick with it.
There is no doubt that it's difficult to remove enjoyable foods from your diet. It is also no fun to learn that your body needs extra attention to function well. But this is true for many (if not most) people, especially as we age.
Consider that if you were allergic to wheat or gluten (the protein found in wheat), you would learn to live without it.
In restaurants, you would get used to ignoring the bread basket, asking to hold croutons, or skipping the pasta. Sure, it would be challenging at first, but eventually, it would just be the way you eat.
There are also many medical conditions that require people to permanently adjust their way of eating.
For example, some people are more likely to have diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you have insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes), you may have blood glucose that is unstable, causing you to feel shaky. As a result, it is best to avoid high-carb foods because they increase your blood sugar and make insulin resistance worse.
When you choose a low-carb diet for better health, the positive side is that once you accept that your body has individualized needs, you can do something about it. Low carb living costs very little money, doesn't involve surgery or medication, and has no side effects.
3. Have healthy snacks available
Another way to make your diet a way of life is to have readily available healthy snacks, as Forbes recommends. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, for example, have salty nuts on your table or something else that’s healthy and can solve your need to eat something salty or sweet.
Keep healthy food readily available. When you get hungry, you’re more likely to eat the first thing you see on the counter or in the cupboard. Keep healthy food in easily accessible and visible places in your home and workplace. Put some fruits in a basket and place it on the kitchen counter, store healthy snacks at eye level in your pantry and stock up your fridge with small batches of cooked whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. At work, store quick bites like almonds, pistachios and dried berries in a jar and place it on your desk or in its top drawer.
4. Take the time to enjoy tasty food
Even though you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you don’t get to enjoy and taste your food. That’s why Redbook says you should take the time to really taste your food and enjoy it. That’s what we love about the keto diet — you get to eat high-fat foods that can help you lose weight and get you healthy. Yes, it’s possible!
“Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures, and too many of us miss it by rushing and multitasking during meals,” says Halas-Liang. Say no to the mealtime distractions—good-bye, iPhone—that tend to lead to overeating and dissatisfaction. “And instead of thinking about what you should cut out of your diet, think about what you should eat more of,” adds Halas-Liang. “Eliminating the concept of ‘bad foods' spins your habits more positively, and we all feel better when we eat more real, whole foods.”
5. Get back on track
You’re going to make some mistakes sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable. But Eating Well discusses how important it is to get back on track and what you can do to move forward instead of backward. Don’t give up — you can follow through with your health goals. Don’t let mistakes drag you down and make you throw in the towel.
If you eat too much chocolate or pizza—don't beat yourself up! Just get back on track again. Remember that one meal doesn't undo all of your healthy efforts. Don't “wait until Monday” or give up altogether on the healthy eating habits you've established. If you have a minor setback, understand that it's one small blip on the radar. Get right back to eating foods that make you feel good and you'll be right back on track for long-term success.
NIDDK suggests reminding yourself why you want to get healthy. Do you want to walk better? Get rid of diabetes? Feel better about yourself? Keep these goals in mind, and when the going gets tough, think of your goals and allow them to guide you in making the right food decisions.
Remind yourself why you want to be healthier. Perhaps you want the energy to play with your nieces and nephews or to be able to carry your own grocery bags. Recall your reasons for making changes when slip-ups occur. Decide to take the first step to get back on track.
Problem-solve to “outsmart” roadblocks. For example, plan to walk indoors, such as at a mall, on days when bad weather keeps you from walking outside.
Ask a friend or family member for help when you need it, and always try to plan ahead. For example, if you know that you will not have time to be physically active after work, go walking with a coworker at lunch or start your day with an exercise video.
If you’re ready to go on the ketogenic diet, you now have a great list of simple and delicious snacks! See — a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight AND taste. To learn more about keto, help us cover shipping and receive the Body Reboot book free.
Sources: Eating Well, Web MD, Very Well Fit, Forbes, Redbook, NIDDK
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