5 Pitfalls of Changing Your Diet and How to Manage them
Changing your diet is hard. In todays world you can find food that is carbohydrate heavy, sugar filled, grain based, and loaded with toxic soybean and vegetable oils. The options to find healthy choices are extremely limited. America has created a society and culture around food. It feels like there is an invisible “force” at play that WANTS us to be overweight, obese, and have all the health complications that come along with that.
Before we began, it would be important to learn about macronutrients and how they effect your weight. You can read about those here.
In this blog we’ll talk about the 5 biggest pitfalls of following a low carb/primal type diet and how to manage them.
Tip #1 As much as possible, take away all quick access “negative” foods from your environment. One of the biggest pitfalls, is your own home. Having foods you want to avoid on hand is one of the biggest temptations. If you are single, it would be wise to eliminate all foods that you do not want to include in your new way of eating from your house. If you are the primary food preparer in your house, you can do the same thing. Your family will eat what you make them. If you live in a house with other people that don’t share your same eating habits is when it can get difficult. Seeing your roommates eat foods you are trying to avoid is hard. Refer to tip #4 for this scenario. Our brain sends us powerful messages that we can’t always trust on why we should be eating those cookies and ice cream too. One of the best ways to overcome this is to fill your abode with plenty of primal/low carb options for you to consume if the temptation to have a snack overcomes you. Especially when you are in the beginning stages of change. Don’t be upset about eating a snack as long as it fits into the macronutrient profiles talked about here.
Tip #2 If you know beforehand where you will be going out to eat, look at the menu before you go. That way you won’t have to decide on the spot. Going out to eat is another tough one. We don’t want to be that person that customizes every order. Hot wings are always a good option. Chipotle is another great option, just get the bowl with no rice or beans. Most of the other toppings are ok, minus the cheese sauce. Most restaurants offer lettuce wraps on their burgers now as well. Go in knowing that the majority of the menu is off limits and there are only a few options for you. At restaurants, you may not be able to avoid vegetable oils, but you can do your best. You will not get the best options at many restaurants. You do not want to make a habit out of frequent visits.
Tip #3 Don’t stress out about exercise. Eat the right foods. Weight loss is 80% what you eat. Go on a walk. Play with the kids/dog. Go on a hike. Park farther away from the store. Many think you are required to exercise in order to lose weight. While it is helpful, eating the right food is far more beneficial. Many people start a running program thinking that because you worked hard it’s a good thing. On the contrary, you may be stressing your body. Running in a glycolytic state will leave your body craving sugar and make it that much harder to avoid it. Instead, just go on a walk. This will keep your body in an aerobic state and utilizing more fat for fuel. Once you’ve got your diet dialed in and you are feeling good, then you can begin to develop an exercise plan that is fun for you. Exercise should not be something you dread.
Tip #4 Get support from friends and family around your food habits. Give yourself healthier options to go to. While it’s not ideal long term to simply “replace” bad foods with good foods, it’s far healthier. You can change the root behavior along the way. Habitual/Emotional eating is a real thing. Many people have their nighttime routine of putting the kids to bed and then settling into a night of binge watching your favorite tv shows and eating your favorite snacks. You may even have some of your favorite snacks at work in the desk drawer or in your car. Maybe you wonder why? Perhaps you need that dopamine hit (read sugar hit) at work because you are miserable and that treat is your drug. This is probably going to be one of the harder changes to make. So many of our food decision involve an emotional aspect instead of a physical hunger aspect. It may even be beneficial to talk to a counselor or therapist about food addiction.
Tip #5 Don’t succumb to feeling like you need a cheat day. Many have seen a cheat meal (read habitual/emotional eating) on a Friday night only to have that turn into a cheat Saturday and Sunday. And before you know it, you are back to square one on Monday feeling like an absolute failure. Don’t deprive yourself of food. If you are hungry, EAT! Just be mindful about WHAT you are eating. There are so many amazing keto/primal/paleo recipes available. If you want a cheat day, have a cheat day. Eat a whole steak. Eat as much broccoli/cheddar as you want. Have a bar of 90% Lindt dark chocolate. Make a keto dessert if you so choose! BONUS TIP: If you do feel like you want to go out and get a pizza and beer, plan it out. Choose your cheat and make it a planned decision and enjoy it. Though you may not enjoy how it makes you feel. Don’t ever decide on a whim to cheat. You won’t feel good about it and it will leave you feeling guilty and like you failed.
This is not an all inclusive list, but meant to help you stay the course a little bit easier on your journey to optimal health and wellness.