Last week, we talked about how dieting can be a short term solution. We have all have tried a diet at some point in our life and can relate to the experiences we discussed with restriction and ultimately deprivation.
How do we not diet and find a long term solution? That requires hard work and the answers won’t be found overnight. It requires making a lifestyle change. In order to make a lifestyle change, we have to be mentally ready to make that change. Once you are mentally and physically ready to change your life, you can get started. It can be easier to be told what to eat with a diet than to have to start making adjustments in your own life.
It is all about making small changes on a consistent basis. We may be able to do something for a month but can we continue that change. I challenge you to analyze your own nutrition and question if you are drinking enough water, consuming enough fruits and vegetables, eating enough lean protein or healthy fats, getting enough steps in, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night to start. These are pretty big areas so pick one area and start there. Once you pick an area of focus, formulate a measureable goal that you can consistently achieve with 90% certainty. Don’t make a goal of drinking more water. You can’t measure success with that goal. If you are drinking 2 glasses of water a day, make a goal of drinking 3 glasses of water 4 days per week. That goal has to be tailored to you so start wherever you are ready to go and track progress from there. Once we can achieve that goal on a consistent basis, you can add to it by increasing days or increasing amounts of water. This goes for any goal you make. Once we start to make these changes consistently, it can become a habit which leads to behavior change. Once you feel like you have accomplished your focus area, you can move onto the next area that may be a struggle. Don’t try to make too many goals at one time. That will decrease your success rate. We are typically 85% successful by accomplishing one goal per month.
The hardest part of putting goals into practice is having accountability. Find someone who can be your accountability partner whether that is a friend, spouse, family member, or co-worker. I also recommend having a team around you to support you. Making a change is hard, and we all need a little push every now and then. One thing that can help is making a compliance tracker that you can carry with you.
Here is an example of a compliance tracker:
I challenge everyone to come up with a goal this week that is measureable and make a compliance chart to track progress. Have a great week and let me know if you have any questions.
Staci Tobolowsky, MCN, RD/LD