Top 2 Habits For Long-Term Diet Success
Your thoughts are like a running commentary in your life. These thoughts help you tell the story of who you are. They influence how you feel and the actions you take. Weak thoughts promote weak decisions and actions. While strong thoughts empower your choices and actions. Part of your long-term success in any way of eating (or any aspect of your life, really) depends on how you think.
If you don’t change your thinking about food and health, then the results you get won’t change either. This process of changing your mental perspective is part of what I call Intelligent Dieting. Becoming a healthier person doesn’t only mean changing your appearance by losing weight and exercising, it also means improving your mindset. That’s what I’d call an evolution inside a revolution.
Therefore, your long-term diet success is highly dependent upon changing the way you think about food. So how do you change your thinking? While there are many ways, I’ll share what I feel are the top two habits to adopt that will change your thinking and make you mentally stronger in all circumstances with your diet and in your life.
Okay, so you got weak and caved in and ate something you shouldn’t have. Don’t panic. Practice makes permanent. All of the time that you were successful and didn’t eat junk food adds up and makes you stronger over time as long as you learn from each experience.
Don’t try to learn when you’re right in the middle of a binge, but also don’t feel guilty. Own your choice and vow to learn from it when you’re feeling stronger. Yes, you ate something bad. Yes, it sucks. But changing your eating habits is an evolutionary process. You adopt better habits over time and with practice and determination, which only gets stronger as you refine your understanding of all the pieces of the health and diet picture.
For example, if you were tempted to eat a sweet treat, even though you said you weren’t going to, and yet you easily resisted and even felt strong, later, reflect on the situation and look carefully at everything surrounding that event to see if you can identify what made you feel stronger. Try to understand what the conditions were that supported your strength. Also examine events when you caved in to weakness and try to understand why you gave in and what circumstances led to feeling weak and disempowered.
- Why was I able to resist temptation (or why couldn’t I resist)?
- Why did I feel strong (or weak, or confused)?
- What mood was I in when it happened?
- What kind of day was I having?
- Did the environment or the people involved make me feel empowered (or disempowered)?
- Did something happen prior to the event that gave me a boost (or made me feel stressed, helpless, scared, weak, or otherwise emotionally vulnerable)?
- Did I have a sense of clarity or purpose (or a sense of feeling confused or aimless) that may have contributed?
- If I was pressed for time, but I still resisted (or I gave in), why did it work out that way?
I cannot emphasize the importance of this self-evaluative process. It is a key behavior that is developed by those who are successful in maintaining a specific diet or a healthy lifestyle long-term. This is a skill that enhances all aspects of life, not only diet and weight-loss efforts. It’s important!
You need to take responsibility for your understanding of this way of eating (or any aspect of life that you want to improve). If you’re always relying on what other people tell you, then you will most definitely get mixed messages from too many non-critical, unsupported, or heavily biased sources.
The danger of getting mixed messages is that you will be hesitant to follow even solid advice from experts who report facts based on legitimate clinical trials that show the proof of their claims.
Learn how to apply critical reasoning so that you can sort through weak or illogical statements and not be tricked into believing bad information simply because the messenger is popular, persuasive, enthusiastic, and likable.
Of course, always ask questions when you have them, but reading or listening to relevant books and consuming online material will give you confidence in the way you are eating because you will understand what’s going on in your body and why it matters.
If you learn something you don’t quite yet understand, don’t worry about it. Just file that information away in your head and trust that it will resurface when you’re ready to sort it all out. This will go a long way to prevent you feeling overwhelmed. Your goal should always be to keep it simple and do the best that you can. Don’t worry about the rest.
New information can be shocking and our first reaction can be strongly resistant to it. But stay open-minded to new possibilities. For instance, when you first heard that fat was actually healthy, weren’t you a bit scared to try eating low-carb? After all, eating all that fat was going to clog your arteries and give you a heart attack, right? But when you begin to understand how the body uses fat compared to using various processed sugars and fructose, your fear begins to disappear and is replaced with the confidence of knowing that you are eating far healthier than ever before by quitting sugar and eating more healthy fats.
When you begin to understand how your body processes all the foods you eat and how this helps or hurts you, you’ll find it far easier to resist sugar and keep it only as an occasional treat. You’ll appreciate the difference between healthy carbs versus junk carbs. Also, when you educate yourself, it’s easier to explain why it’s safe to eat the way you’re eating.
There are a million reasons why educating yourself is so important when it comes to low-carb eating or your overall health, in general. But mostly, it removes your own personal resistance to this way of eating. And makes you better able to make smart choices and to avoid making poor choices.
The following two books are both excellent books and I can’t recommend them highly-enough. They should be on every conscientious dieters’ book shelf. The following two book links are my affiliate links. You don’t have to use them. But please pick up these books, even if you would rather not use my links. They could save your life. At the least, they will help you feel well-informed and confident in your diet and health choices.
“Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. I’ve read this book several times. It’s one of my go-to books for information about low-carb eating. It covers everything you would need to understand about why fat is healthy for you, and why simple carbs are the cause, or contribute to, just about every major health disturbance (most notably obesity, diabetes, and heart disease) that we face in alarming and ever-increasing numbers. The supporting evidence that Taubes cites in this book doesn’t rely on correlation and unfounded opinions, rather it is directly linked to solid science-based data from a multitude of mainstream studies which show that a diet low in carbohydrate is an extremely healthy way to eat. It’s hard to argue against proven scientific fact.
“The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will“. I love this book! It is literally paradigm-shifting. If you have high cholesterol and your doctor has you scared because it’s “too high”, and you’re taking a statin to lower it, then you’ve GOT to read this as soon as possible! Statins may be good at lowering cholesterol (not necessarily a good thing), but there are no studies to date that show they prevent heart disease or mitigate the risk of developing it. This is talked about at-length in the book. Statins are not necessary and are actually dangerous to both men and women. Get this book, read it, and then get off statins as quickly as possible.
I purchased a copy of both of the above books for my parents. And I’ve also given away several copies of “Why We Get Fat” to friends as well. Do yourself a favor, get them both.
Bottom line: If you are at risk of developing heart disease, you currently have heart disease, you are taking a statin, are at risk of having a heart attack or have already had one, you should read The Great Cholesterol Myth! Again, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Both of the above books have my highest enthusiasm. I am whole-heartedly an advocate for them both.
Just Remember…Nobody Is Perfect
Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody is perfect. You will likely fall off the wagon many times until you have learned enough (using the two habits listed above) to maintain this way of eating without the constant struggle. I’m speaking from experience here.
My goal is to empower you; to give you the tools you need to take full responsibility for your food choices with confidence and joy. But just realize that change doesn’t happen over night. You build a bridge to better health brick-by-brick. And with each brick, you learn, you grow, you get stronger. This is an unspoken change that other’s will begin to see. People who resisted your lifestyle choice will know you are living your truth by what you demonstrate, not only by your words. And eventually, you will inspire others to build their bridge to better health and happiness.
So go easy on yourself. Be patient and know you are worth the struggle. You got this! Good health and good luck!