I’ve seen it time and again where a new client gets really excited about working on improving their nutrition, but they fall off the wagon after a few weeks (or days!). Intuitively, they understand what to do, but they have a hard time executing consistently.
I’ve been a personal trainer in San Jose for over 25 years. During that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people improve their nutrition for lasting weight loss. I’ve also seen some people really struggle to maintain or persevere with their weight loss plans.
Failure to execute consistently usually happens due to a few common themes:
1) Changing too much too rapidly
2) Failing to plan or think ahead
3) Maintaining a non-supportive environment
4) Being unaware of food triggers
If you’ve tried and failed at incorporating healthier eating into your life, I’m guessing you may have gotten hung up with one or more of these situations as well.
Walk with me here over the next few days while I offer you some solutions to each of these 4 habit change hold ups.
Let’s start with Habit Change Hang Up #1 — Changing too much too rapidly.
SOLUTION: Work on ONE change at a time
What I’ve seen from coaching hundreds of people over the years is that too much change all at once is just too stressful for most people. It’s that “diet mentality” where you decide that come next Monday, everything is going to change. For most of us, all that change is unsustainable. Having to think about and focus on all those different things you need to change is downright stressful and fatiguing.
Rather than change everything all at once, I coach my clients to work on one change at a time. It’s not nearly as fatiguing. Now, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds in two weeks doing it this way. However, focusing on one change at a time, you’re likely to end up with a sustainable new lifestyle habit down the road instead of one more failed diet.
I work with my clients to choose one habit change that will likely net the best outcome for the client as well as choose the habit that the client is most likely to stick with. Once we’ve made significant progress on making that habit part of their lifestyle, we move on to another habit to improve.
Here’s what I suggest you to do so that you don’t fall into the “too much too soon” trap: Choose one thing you can do to improve your overall nutrition starting tomorrow. Work on that and only that for the next month. That one thing will be your only focus. You don’t have to be perfect at it in order to be successful, but I want you to be mindful of it every day. Focus on implementing that one habit daily. Be really, really consistent at that one thing.
This one habit change may be subtracting something from your lifestyle or adding something to your lifestyle. An example of subtraction would be taking out your daily soda or decreasing the amount of fast food you eat. An example of addition would be adding in additional water every day, or perhaps making sure to eat 3 more servings of vegetables every day.
Once it’s become easier to maintain that habit and you’re confident you can, challenge yourself to work on implementing another new habit.
Like I said earlier, this won’t net you massive weight loss in a week, but it might just net you permanent weight loss down the road because you will have changed the choices that you make on a daily basis.
If you’re struggling to change your nutrition, try my “one habit at a time” suggestion and let me know how it goes!
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I’ll go over the solution to Habit Change Hang Up #2 – Failing to plan or think ahead. I’ve got some ideas I think you’ll like!