Tips for sticking to a healthier eating plan
Your journey to better health
Changing to a healthier lifestyle and diet is an excellent thing - and New Year is the perfect time! But, about a week into switching to a healthier eating plan, some people can experience detox reactions and become rundown or ill. Why does this happen and what can you do to avoid this? Here are a few tips to help you stay well during a healthier change in lifestyle.
Ease into a healthier eating plan
Don't go cold turkey when you're changing your diet or lifestyle. Like some medications, or giving up smoking, drinking, or caffeine, you're likely to get withdrawal symptoms which can leave you feeling worse for a while. This is because if you're used to getting a fix of sugar or caffeine for instance, you can feel their energising effects quickly. If you suddenly stop this quick energy fix, your blood sugar drops and you 'crash'. A healthier diet gradually gives you longer bouts of energy and not dramatic highs and lows. So, don't switch dramatically! Make sure you include recovery days.
Take your mind off the food you're trying to cut down on
Whether you're at work, at home, or on the go, it can be too easy to snack when you're not even hungry. You can almost guarantee it'll be someone's birthday in the office each week and there'll be cake. It's a hard temptation to fight unless you're wearing a blindfold! So what do you do?
Try to focus on a task like talking to a friend, reading a book, or walking. Or make sure food isn't in your line of view. If you can see it you'll be more tempted by it! If you don't fill your kitchen cupboard with tempting sweet treats and crisps, you won't be able to eat any! Fill it with healthier snacks instead, or use healthier substitutes. Beware of so-called healthy snacks such as dried fruit or sweetened yogurts though - these can be just as packed with sugar and calories as any junk food.
Keep feeling motivated
It can be a vicious circle - colder weather can make you feel tired, making you feel like givingin to fattening comfort food. How do you stop yourself? Willpower is one of the hardest things to muster. Think: if you reach for that bag of crisps you'll need to do some extra exercise to make up for those extra calories - meaning you'll need to work harder and spend longer working out than you would have if you hadn't been tempted! Once you start making progress and feeling more energetic, the feeling of motivation will kick-in, and you'll be on a roll.
Setting yourself small, manageable goals is a great way to ease into a healthier eating regime. Keeping a record of what you eat and drink each day is a good way of seeing how much and how often you're consuming. There are some fabulous fitness apps which can help you with this.
Eat when you're stomach tells you to
Which is most likely to be when it rumbles. Drinking water can help stave off those hunger pangs - you'll be taking more trips to the loo but at least you'll be well hydrated and keeping the toxins flushed out of your system! Low calorie snacks like cucumber, carrot or celery, and watermelon, grapefruit or peach, can help fill the gap between breakfast and lunch.
As with any change in eating habits, make sure you're getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. A balance of fruit, vegetables, starchy carbs, dairy, and protein can ensure this.
Remember: adjust to healthier eating slowly and you'll have a better chance of staying healthy and feeling great. Enjoy your healthier ways!