For ten years I worked tirelessly to be “perfectly” healthy. I did every workout as scheduled and ate every meal with the right amount of vegetables and lean protein and usually bypassed the carbs. I worked so hard, but every time, this ended with a slip up that turned into a weekend long binge and enough guilt to get me back on the next great diet plan. Nothing changed until I started making smaller health goals that had less to do with how I looked and more to do with how I felt.
Making huge health changes is successful for very few people. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Going full on with your new diet plan? It is more than likely you’ll go equally head first into a binge and some serious couch time once the diet ends.
This all or nothing approach to health traps us in the vicious dieting cycle. The only way to escape it is to work towards small goals that won’t create such a negative reaction later.
Instead of starting yet another rigid diet plan on Monday, try something new. This may seem radical in this day and age but try not restricting anything from your diet (unless you have allergies or sensitivities). There is a lot of science that proves that getting back in touch with your hunger scale is the way to maintain a healthy weight; not by restricting carbs, fats or whatever else is in fashion. This means eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are comfortably full. It seems like such a small goal but it can make a huge impact on your health.
Diets make us out of touch with these hunger signals. We restrict, binge and follow all sorts of arbitrary rules surrounding how and what we eat. This confuses our bodies to no end.
Ditch the diet and get back in touch with small, simple things that can help in maintaining a healthy weight long term.
3 Simple Health Goals that Make a Huge Impact:
1 Get back in touch with your hunger signals. For one week only eat when you are truly, physically hungry. It doesn’t even really matter what you eat as long as you get enough nutrients from things like fruit and vegetables. Stop eating when you are comfortably full.
2 Set small, ongoing goals. People love to put time limits on goals but this can often be detrimental to your success. If your goal is to lose ten pounds in thirty days, it is likely that on day thirty-one you give up or over celebrate your victory only to gain the weight back. Instead make an ongoing goal such as being physically active 3 days a week. Fail one week? No worries, you’ll work to get those three workouts in this week. This type of goal setting lets you find a maintainable, healthy lifestyle instead of falling into the all or nothing trap.
3 Cook more at home. Even if you make a burger and fries at home instead of going to McDonald’s you have already made a huge impact. Cooking at home makes any meal healthier. Even salads at restaurants are unhealthier than their homemade versions. Instead of giving up “bad” food altogether, make the small step of eating at home more often.
Set these three small goals and you’ll find you achieve big change without the big sacrifice.
Jenna Free is an expert at You Ain’t Your Weight.