In order to build consistency, you must get started.
Whether you want to lose 20 pounds, drop your sweet intake, feed your family more whole food, transition to a plant-based diet or some other food-based change, you need to take the first step. And many others after that. Baby steps create consistency. Consistency is a MUST to successfully changing food habits and achieving health goals.
How to Start
Take one step, make one change, and don’t look back. Even if you are apprehensive. Fake it til you make it. One little minor change in diet can build confidence to continue. This is the foundation for new habits, healthier routines and reaching goals.
One Micro-Change at a Time
Break down what you want to accomplish. Don’t think 100% change in one day. Don’t think sweeping. Think micro-changes. Take ONE baby step toward the goal. Then, when you’re comfortable with that one step, add on and take step two. I know it seems silly easy and elementary, but it’s NOT. It’s hard work. Your brain is conditioned to go to the well-worn path, or the habit. Developing new food habits is hard and takes commitment and work and a plan. Start small and stick with it. That way you’ll feel good about your successes, versus upset by your failures.
Find Your Plan B Habit
The first swap decision is by far the hardest. You must figure out what to eat, and then avoid your normal urge to grab the old habit food. Finding a suitable plan B food to eat when you want your old food is so important. If plan B food tastes good and fits into your schedule, you’ll be more apt to choose it. Make sure it’s tasty and easy. For example, instead of soda, grab a flavored carbonated water. Not exactly the same, but easy enough. Maybe do that 1x/week, then 2x/week, then eventually fully replace the soda with the water.
Consistency Takes Time
Some new habits form in a matter of weeks. Some take months or even years to stick. Whatever timeframe it takes to make a new food habit stick, it’s worth it. Keep practicing and time will solidify a new food habit.
Variety Fosters Consistency
Variety is one big way to ensure you’ll be successful with a food habit. If your goal is to avoid sweets at 3:00…then you’ll need many foods TO EAT at 3:00 so you do not eat the sweets. So, plan B food starts the change process. But, you might need plan C, plan D and plan E foods in order to avoid sweets. If you’re happy with your alternate choices, you’ll lean into your goals and continue to avoid sweets.
Process and Kindness, Not Perfection
Realize that it’s not about being perfect. It IS about trying. You’ll will revert back to old habits. It’s OK. Jump back into your new habits as soon after as you can. Perfect doesn’t exist in the food world. Get back to work soon after a slip. Spend most of your time choosing your new food habits and less and less with old habit foods. Soon, you’ll lose the urge to eat the old foods and you’ll naturally grab the new ones (YAY for new habits!)
Reasons for Wanting to Make Food Swaps
There are lots of reasons to make food changes. Here are some we commonly see:
- Sugar Addiction – I want to eat less sugar
- Food Sensitivity – I have a food sensitivity to a food and need to avoid it because it causes problems in my body
- Digestive Distress – A particular food is causing gastro problems
- More Whole Foods and Less Processed – Eating more whole foods and less processed is generally better for your overall health
- Weight loss – Requires food changes, in most cases to find your best diet
Healthy Nest Nutrition is really good at gently nudging you into new food habits. We rarely drastically change food plans overnight. New food changes take time, and they must be doable and delicious, so that you don’t mind eating something new. It’s our job to help you consistently choose food that will propel you toward your health goals. The consistency piece is hard, but we take it seriously. So that your food change is one and done and you will be successful.