Keeping Diet Resolutions
Eating healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle are on everyone’s New Year’s Resolution list, but are they the same resolutions you made last year? Diet and exercise are the quintessential promises that individuals make to themselves year after year, and though they continue to make the same promises, they continue to set themselves up for failure. Most concierge doctors and nutritional professionals will tell you that the key to sticking to diet and exercise resolutions is to be realistic.
Keeping a healthy diet throughout the year should begin with one small step that will help to ensure your success; meeting with your physician. Consider sitting down with your concierge doctor to discuss your nutritional needs and willpower limits. Ultimately, your must know your temptations and set yourself on a path to success. If you have struggled with eating healthy in the past, don’t expect to just dive right in and change your entire diet overnight. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t wired to make such dramatic changes without setting ourselves up for failure.
Many individuals hear the word “diet” and instantly assume that the diet is going to be incredibly difficult and engulf every aspect of their lives. The stigma with “diet” includes assuming massive calorie cuts, literally throwing away favorite foods, and starving for months until that “ideal” weight is attained. When a concierge physician mentions “diet,” what they are referring to is your eating habits.
Speak To Your Concierge Doctor
The first step to any change in diet or exercise routine is a consultation with your concierge doctor. This consultation might include an evaluation of your diet history, exercise routines, and any vitamin or nutritional deficiencies you might have. A concierge doctor might also want to speak with you about what your daily routine looks like, and how making small changes might improve your diet.
It’s always best to consult with your physician so that he or she can gain an understanding of your goals, match those with your history, and set you on the right path to success.
In the consultation with your concierge physician, he or she will want to discuss your nutritional needs in order to set up a meal plan that you can stick to. In most diet cases, variety plays a huge factor in the ability to stay on the path to success, so a healthy meal plan might include new foods that hold more nutritional value than foods your are used to eating. As we grow older, or nutritional needs change, and so should our diet. Things like calcium, fiber, iron, protein and vitamins A and C become more important, and thus your concierge doctor will suggest a meal plan that includes these nutritional items.
Understanding Your Limitations
Patients often assume that it’s all or nothing; however that does not reflect reality. If you’ve tried “diets” in the past and haven’t been able to follow through, then you should have an understanding of where your weaknesses are and how much of your lifestyle you can reasonably change. Diet failures in the past are not actually failures because they can be used by physicians as useful tools to prepare you for a successful path in the future. Every individual, young or old, needs a balance of carbs, protein, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Cutting out one of those completely is not the answer.
Creating stress about your diet will not only affect you emotionally, the stress will also actually affect your weight. Stress can ultimately lead to a lack of sleep and poor eating habits, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to commit to good eating habits. Give yourself some breathing room and don’t overstretch your emotional limits.
Understand Your Temptations
Temptation can be the arch enemy of every diet, but it can be overcome. In order to overcome the temptations that aim to veer your path, take the power away by allowing yourself to indulge. Thinking of certain foods as “off limits” will only make you want them more, and when you fall to the temptations your stress levels will raise and you’ll feel like a failure. That emotional feeling of failure will ultimately have a psychological effect on your ability to stick to the diet.
By simply reducing food portion size you can still eat the foods that you love and stick to a healthy diet. For example, if you love good steak but know there are far too many calories in a steak dinner to be considered healthy, consider splitting that meal with a friend. This is a wonderfully effective way to beat temptation by allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you love, as well as giving yourself confidence to stick to the diet.
Eating healthy throughout the year is possible, but it also takes time to change certain behaviors and settle into the new food routine. The best thing that you can do is to be patient with yourself, understand that you’re going to make mistakes, and if you fall down just get back up and keep going.
SignatureMD (signaturemd.com), with offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, is one of the nation’s largest providers of initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians, with an expanding network of over 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states.