First of all, stop being so hard on yourself. In 2021, make it one of your top priority goals to strive for PROGRESS not PERFECTION. You’re already perfectly imperfect. If you want to make diet changes because one of your New Year’s goals is to improve your health and strengthen your immune system, that’s great. If you feel inferior or believe you must weigh a specific amount or look a certain way to have worth, that’s NOT great. Read this. If your goal is to improve your health, there are several diet pitfalls to avoid. It’s all about positive mindset, then taking action to support your goals.
I did a post a while back about setting achievable goals. You can find it, here. In the meantime, keep these tips in mind as you strive for PROGRESS not PERFECTION in 2021:
Change your diet by changing what you buy
We humans are funny. It’s so easy for us to talk about diet goals. We dream big, set goals and start off well. Then, when we’re alone at 9 p.m., we scoop up a couple cookies (or more) on our way through the kitchen. Here’s the problem. If you’re putting a ton of effort into thinking about how to develop a healthier diet but still buying double-stuffed Oreos, chips and tubs of tin-roof sundae ice-cream, you’re setting yourself up for failure. This is why it’s so important to change the focus of your thoughts. Instead of thinking about what to eat, think about what to BUY and only buy what you want to eat. Does that make sense?
In other words, you can avoid the pitfall of late-night junk food eating if you don’t buy the junk food in the first place! The empty shopping cart you push through the aisles of your local grocery store can be a tool for success or a harbor for bad habits. The choice is yours. We can spend hours on end weighing food and counting the number of beans on our plate. What good does it do if, later that same evening, we down a bowl of Doritos and eat two brownies? And, it’s not just a body weight thing. Junk food is loaded with high fructose corn syrup. (Yes, even your chips.) Much of it is high in sodium as well. Avoid this pitfall by carefully choosing what you put into the shopping cart. You won’t be eating junk food late at night if there’s none in the house to eat!
Chronic dehydration sparks adverse effects on your diet
So many people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even realize it. If you’re not properly hydrated, you’re diet isn’t healthy. Plain and simple. In fact, you might sometimes think you’re hungry when you’re really just thirsty. Also, studies show that drinking a glass of water 20 minutes before a meal (especially water with fresh lemon infused or a few spoonsful of apple cider vinegar with the mother in it) is beneficial, particularly for those who are trying to lose weight.
If you’re depriving your body of a sufficient water supply, it adversely affects the rate at which you burn calories. The bottom line is this: Chronic dehydration can make you feel fatigued, fat and weak. No living thing, not one single cell, can survive without water. Your body is approximately 75% water. If you’re not providing it with an adequate supply, it has a disastrous effect on all the chemical reactions that stimulate metabolic processes. Do you have migraines, constipation, digestion problems, dry skin, hair breakage or excess weight you can’t get rid of? You might be chronically dehydrated.
Grazing is a major diet pitfall. If you grab a little something here and a bit of something there, it might not feel as though you’re eating a lot at any given moment. Add it all up at the end of the day, however, and you might be surprised at how much you’ve eaten. The easiest way to avoid this bad habit is to not have food (especially unhealthy food) sitting out in the open. Also, try cooking only what you need for a meal and avoid stuffing your fridge with leftovers. Make healthy snacks available, such as carrot or celery sticks you’ve sliced ahead of time and keep on hand in the fridge. Try these healthy snack ideas, too!
Diet needs to be a lifestyle not a temporary fix
“Going on a diet” is usually not healthy. Having said that, you might have an immediate and legitimate need to lose weight or change the foods you eat. Perhaps you’re struggling with high blood pressure or diabetes or obesity. In every case, it would benefit you to lose weight and improve your diet. BUT — if you approach it as a temporary idea that you’re going to do until you achieve a certain goal then return to the way you were eating before, it’s not going to help. Avoid thinking of “diet” as a temporary thing you do. Instead, learn to think of it as part of your lifestyle.
If you can develop healthy diet habits in your daily life, your overall health will improve. Whether you want to lose weight, gain more energy, build a stronger immune system, improve the look and feel of your skin or simply, feel stronger and healthier, you increase the likelihood of success by understanding that diet is a way of life NOT a quick-fix gimmick or temporary solution.
Improve your diet this year
Let’s recap some helpful tips to help you avoid diet pitfalls but lead you on a path to better overall health in 2021 and beyond:
- Don’t buy it if you’re trying not to eat it.
- Stay properly hydrated.
- Quit grazing throughout the day.
- Understand that diet is a permanent lifestyle issue not a temporary activity.
- Strive for progress not perfection.
You can add this post to the home screen on your cell phone for easy access to review when you make your next run to the grocery store!