We've all been there - getting excited about changing our diet only to find that we aren't able to stick to it. Sometimes, we can look back and recognise what we did wrong and try again, but wouldn't it be easier if we knew it from the start? Hopefully this list is able to help you avoid making those mistakes that we all do at at least once or twice.
1) Expecting Perfection
2) Not Providing Yourself with Incentive
Goals are a great incentive. They give you a picture of where you want to go and why you're doing it. It might be as broad as “being a healthier me”, or it might be as specific as “I want to lose the last 5 kgs for my wedding” (incidentally, if you are trying to lose those last few, check out this Blog Post on Losing the Last 5 Kilos
written by Dani). Keep in mind why you started being more considerate with what you are eating and remember it when you're having the staring contest with the chocolate biscuits in your office's kitchen.
3) Not Being Prepared for Exceptional Events
Plan for the weddings, milestone birthdays or special events that you have coming up. All these events are planned well in advance, so you can plug them into your calendar and be ready to enjoy them, regardless of the food you eat or what you drink on the night.
Prepare for the event by eating well beforehand, and plan to eat well afterwards so you can have peace of mind and enjoy yourself at the time.
The other possibility is if something terrible happens... Life is full of ups and downs, so don't make your diet a stress on top of an already hard situation. Be patient and kind to yourself, and be ready to give yourself some space if something bad happens.
4) Forgetting that Alcohol & Coffee are Packed with kJs (especially milky coffee and beer)!
Lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, mochas... all delicious and all full of very unhelpful milk. The milky coffees we drink have a lot of kilojoules in them that's easy to forget. Have a look at this article
by Women's Health, which outlines just how many kJs are in these frothy beverages.
Alcohol is often a trap as well. Cocktails, sweet wines and beer pack a whole bunch of kJs. A schooner of regular beer has about 1,260kJ in it! Compare this to a cheeseburger from Maccas, which has 1,180kJ per serving. Although beer doesn't have all the fat and other nasties that the cheeseburger has in it, the energy intake is higher in beer.
5) Not Being Prepared
The first week you decide to change your diet, I'm sure you'll do an outstanding meal prep and get everything ready for the week ahead. But over the next month or so, your routine might slip.
Ensure you keep an allotted time to prepare your food for the week. Actually put it in your diary so you have to keep the appointment, and reschedule if you have something else on.
6) Starting a Diet, Instead of Creating a Balanced Lifestyle
Food is a big part of our life. Food has cultural and nostalgic ties. Our food preferences are an extension of our personality. So don't expect to be able to change your diet but ignore the rest of your life.
If you love going and getting coffee with friends, how will you fit that into your new eating plan? Maybe you can switch to skim milk or soy milk. Maybe have black coffee instead. Maybe eat before you go so you don't get tempted by that banana bread.
If you completely cut out things like this that are part of your life, it won't be sustainable. It's all about balance!
7) Relying too much on the scales to tell you how it’s going
This one is really important. We should be changing our diet so we can live a healthier, more balanced, longer life - not because of a number. Weighing yourself at various times during the day or week is unhelpful as our weight often fluctuates because of how much water we've drunk, our hormones, sodium levels and how recently we've eaten.
Instead, if you're goal is weight loss, weigh yourself just once a week at the same time. This will give you a more reliable number to work with, and cut down on the stress that you get when you weigh more than you did the day before, seemingly without reason!
And if your goal isn't specifically weight loss, why weigh yourself at all? If you feel fit, if you feel healthy - that should be enough.
Go any other tips? What's worked for you? Let us below in the comments or share your ideas on our Facebook page.