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There are No Quick Fixes! Try Something Different.

The holidays are just around the corner, and with it will come family dinners, baking cookies and pies, and possibly a little over indulging.  Come January 1st, many of you will be thinking about New Year’s resolutions and will be considering “going on a diet.” There are many reasons for reconsidering nutritional choices. A few unwanted winter pounds that appeared, guilty feelings about unhealthy choices, social pressure from peers, or my first article on nutrition, can all push towards the idea that it is time to make a change. And that is a good thing! We need this point of reflection, planning, and action in our life.

So let's play a game and peer into your future.  January 1st rolls around and with the best plans and intentions you change EVERYTHING! Maybe you go on a “14 day cleanse” or start a “six weeks to a six pack meal plan.” I call this type of diet that have a finite window of time where you make huge changes all at once “quick fix” plans. Some people will see awesome results if they can stick with it, but many people will struggle with this type of plan because they are so restrictive. Others don’t get great results because the specifics of the quick fix weren’t right for them. Quick fix diets tend to be hit or miss, and there are no adjustments as you go, you just eat what you're told to and avoid the forbidden fruit. Let’s say you manage to tough it out with an extraordinary show of willpower. Let’s ask your future self a couple of questions: How well did that work for you? As I said the results from these diets are hit or miss… maybe you lost a lot of weight, maybe not. But your future self will have something to say to you about how miserable you were the whole time! And that brings us to the second question: What do you do now? If your future self is honest it is back to business as usual, back to the status quo,  back to your same old habits. This brings us to the main takeaway from this article: Quick fix plans with big changes, uncompromising restrictions, and complete diet overhaul, (however well intentioned and even successful in the short-term) rarely if ever lead to long-term success. When normal daily life catches up with us and willpower wanes we will always revert to our habits. Good or bad, our habits are the comfortable groove into which we fall. Over time willpower will come and go, but our habits stick.

So instead of the “quick fix” that is really not a fix at all - try something different. An alternative solution to the quick fix is habit-based change. To make a change last and have a long-term impact, they must become a habit so even when you don’t have the willpower you still have the habit.  Making a new good habit in any aspect of life including nutrition takes practice. Trying to do it all at once with the “quick fix” diet works for a while but it will not ingrain the new behaviors as habits. The result is the “yo-yo” on again - off again diet that frustrates so many. Control and consistency in diet and exercise do not come from having some inborn motivation, willpower, or self control. Creating a new habit takes dedicated practice and work, but once it is there it will stick and help build a system that generates lasting results.  

Here are a few tips to help you build good habits with your nutrition:

 

1. One thing at a time - only try to change one habit at a time. The fewer things you change at once the more likely they are to stick. That one habit should be one rung in the ladder to your goal.

 

2. Simple and slow is best - you should be very confident that you can achieve the single goal of the habit on its own. Break big behaviors down into smaller chunks. Start slowly and build!

 

3. Practice makes perfect - give it time, practice your new habit every day for one to four weeks. If you fail, forgive yourself. Start fresh, try again and do better.

 

4. Track your progress - make note of when you succeed and when you fail. Note the circumstances around each. Can you avoid the situation that caused you to fail?

 

5. Use triggers - triggers are notes, reminders, or cues. For example: wear a rubberband around your wrist to remind you of your new habit. Every time you see the reminder do your habit.

 

6. Use anchors - similar to triggers, anchors are other daily activities, or events. For example: every day after lunch you go for a walk to increase your daily activity.

 

 

Once the new behavior becomes a habit and you are confident that it is second nature you can move onto another habit. If you are looking for some ideas of new healthy habits to instate, check out my last article on portion control.  Just remember to follow the above rules and you can make new healthy habits that will last and get you off of the diet rollercoaster. Want to learn more about habit-based nutrition?  I would be happy to set up a free nutrition coaching consultation to discuss how to make your habits work towards your goals. Contact me at: stevew@beaconhillathleticclubs.com.

 

Thank you for reading! If you found this post helpful and want more info on diet and nutrition check back next week when I will introducing my new nutrition coaching program.  


 



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