Important steps to change dietary habits & stay disciplined
People have various goals and reasons to change dietary habits. Maybe you want to eat better or lose weight in a healthier way? One way or another, here you will learn how to analyze your diet and change it over the long term.
Your first step to a successful diet change: Track everything with a food diary
Before you make any changes to your eating habits, you should get an overview of your dietary behavior patterns. A useful and fun method is a food diary.
In this, you write down all the meals which you’re consuming every day. Enter within your journal what foods you enjoy, and how often and at what times you eat. In addition, you should record how you feel after each dish.
Perhaps you are tired of certain foods or feel particularly alert and powerful after eating something specific. How long you observe yourself and your diet depends on you. For a full picture, you should keep the food diary for at least a week.
Your second steps: analysis and changes
Based on your food diary, you can now inspect which foods you eat frequently. You also have an idea of when and how often you take your meals.
If certain foods cause discomforts, such as digestive problems or sluggishness, you should avoid them for a while. If the symptoms are even worse, intolerance could be the reason. Then you should talk to a doctor.
Always imagine your goal. You may want to change dietary habits to make yourself feel better and stronger, to do something good for your health or the environment.
Or do you simply want to lose a few pounds or gain weight? All of these goals influence what focus you put on your diet change.
Now you are basically ready to make adjustments to your diet. The only question remaining at this point is “which ones?” Given the many nutritional trends, this decision is particularly difficult.
Various diets such as the Paleo diet, Low Carb, High Carb or Raw Vegan promise to optimize your body. It is best, however, if you make your diet change individually.
The way I see it is that every one of us has his own body type, and with this comes the unique needs of each individual. Although we are all anatomically the same, we are not identical beings.
Our organs normally perform matching duties, they, nevertheless, do so, in their own slightly different originality. Therefore, I believe it is best that everyone finds and creates his own best-suited diet routine.
Individual diet change instead of following the trend diet
Trend diets are usually designed for a short period of time, in which you should lose pounds quickly. That can work. However, after the one to two-week diet is over, many do not know how to feed themselves in everyday life and fall back into old habits.
A too-large calorie deficit during the diet phase can also cause food cravings and bring along the ever so dreaded yo-yo effect.
Instead of following a certain fad, you should, therefore, listen to your body and tune your diet to your individual needs. Set yourself a long-term diet change as a goal.
Think of it more like a lifestyle adaptation, than a diet. This can be designed to reach your personal goals. Eat as varied as possible.
So you consume as many different nutrients as possible and prevent deficiencies. A predominantly vegetable diet, which consists largely of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts is mostly recommended.
Integrate enough fruits and vegetables into your diet. For example, follow the rule of thumb “five a day” and take three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily.
One portion corresponds approximately to the amount that fits in one hand. I also want to point out that vegetables and fruits should make up most of your diet.
Legumes, nuts, seeds and dried fruits also belong to this group. In these cases, however, the portion size is smaller due to the higher calorie density.
Eat whole-grain products. Whole-grain cereal products such as bread, rice or pasta have a higher density of fiber, vitamins and minerals than white flour products. Dietary fiber lasts longer and strengthens the colon.
Beware of processed food!
Do not eat more than 300 to 600 grams of meat per week and avoid red meat. Otherwise, according to nutrition experts, the risk of colon cancer may increase. Also, please, stay away from processed foods and meats, such as sausages, salami, beef jerkies, etc.
These are labeled under carcinogenic foods. The curing, adding of chemical preservatives and smoking, just to name a few processes, increase the risk of the formation of cancerous cells within the human body.
Try to intake more healthy fatty acids, instead. You can find the vital and healthy unsaturated fatty acids in many vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. You should also consume plenty of omega 3 and not so many omega 6 fatty acids.
Try to avoid saturated fatty acids as much as possible. They are particularly present in animal products, as well as in coconut and palm fat.
A meat-free diet is not a problem. However, the experts recommend supplementing the predominantly plant-based diet with vitamin B12, Zinc, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids; EPA and DHA.
The reason for this is because animal foods are considered the main source of these nutrients, including protein. Fortunately, plant-based eaters and vegetarians have many wholesome supplements to choose from.
To date, scientists have commented differently on a vegan diet. However, as part of a well-planned herbal diet, you can avoid shortcomings by supplementing with vitamin B12, for example. If in doubt, you should take a blood test to assure yourself that you don’t lack any micronutrient.
Also, keep in mind that nutritional deficiencies can also occur in a one-sided diet with animal products. A healthy diet is a well-balanced and mindful diet! With a diet change, you can pursue varying goals. Each target demands a different approach.
If you want to eat a healthier diet, in general, you can use the following tips:
1- Be sure to use sugar and salt only moderately. Avoid high-sugar drinks and finished products, and use different spices and herbs to refine your food.
2- Drink about 1.5 liters of fluid daily, or, if needed, even more. Drink preferably water or tea and avoid sweet and high-calorie drinks such as sodas or juices made from concentrate.
3- Prepare your food gently to preserve valuable nutrients. For example, you can steam many vegetables. Many vegetables are raw the healthiest.
4- Whether a diet is healthy depends not only on what food you eat. It is also important how you consume it. Make sure to eat with mindfulness and enjoyment and to chew slowly. Avoid eating meals while running or standing.
5- In addition, you should take finished products (ready meals) only in moderation. This is an important step if you want to change dietary habits, because they often contain a lot of sugar and other additives. Instead, prepare your food from wholesome and fresh foods.
6- Integrate sports regularly and add exercise into your everyday life, as well. This will, among other things, get your cardiovascular system going, strengthen your muscles, and prevent overweight, illness, and common ailments (such as back pain and tension).
Dietary change without diets
Some diets require that carbohydrates or fats be completely removed from the food list. This is not a good basis for a change in your diet, because, for a healthy diet, you need all, carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, in a balanced amount.
Also, the number of recommended meals a day varies depending on the selected food plan. Some swear by three or two big ones, others by five small meals a day. Which eating rhythm is right for you depends on you.
Listen to the signals of your body, and eat when you are hungry. Ascertain that you don’t confuse a simple craving with actual hunger. when in doubt, drink a glass of alkaline water.
If your hunger magically disappeared afterward, then your brain sent you the wrong signal and you weren’t hungry after all.
Always stop eating when you satiation sets in. There is no need to stuff yourself until it feels uncomfortable.
This is way too much work for your digestive system and can, with time, lead to disbalance and inflammation within the intestines. Furthermore, make sure your body has enough time for digestion between meals.
Nutrition change: That’s how you stay on top of it
To change dietary habits, in the context of a healthy diet, you do not have to forbid yourself anything. You still can enjoy ice cream, cake, chocolate, etc., from time to time.
Don’t deprive yourself, as your subconscious mind will register this as an act of punishment, and you will most likely quickly fall back into your old eating routines.
Many people may associate the word “diet change” with a disciplined change in eating habits that consistently avoids “bad” foods. But the division into “good” (for example, vegetables, fruits) and “bad” foods (white flour, sweets and soft drinks) is not effective.
We cannot classify one single food as “good” or “bad”. It’s always the combination and amount hat makes a meal whether to something nourishing or rather unwholesome.
Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet because they provide us with many essential nutrients. However, if you do not eat anything but carrots and spinach, you will not have any vital supplementation in the long run, either.
Conversely, you can enjoy a piece of cake every now and then, without endangering your health. In small quantities, white flour and sugar are not very harmful.
Thus, it always depends on the amount and a well-balanced nutrient density. Therefore, do not strictly forbid certain foods, but treat yourself occasionally with a brownie, burger or sundae.
In this way, the chances are higher that you will implement your diet change over the long term and not fall back into old habits after two weeks.
Dear co-creators. How would you change dietary habits? Have you already made the approach? Which steps did you take and what was your outcome? As always, I’m eager and happy to hear your opinions and experiences regarding our topic.
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In the meantime, I’m sending you much love, harmony, happiness and an abundance of all good things. You are beautiful, precious, unique and endlessly loved regardless of what others might say. Thus, keep on shining.