Have you been going on and off diets for what feels like an eternity? You try for a few weeks but can never stay consistent enough to see any real changes, so you quit. If so, the problem isn’t you and it isn’t the diet. You just haven’t yet created the healthy eating habits to support your weight loss.
Here’s the truth: Until you address the root problem, no diet plan will get you to your goal weight long-term.
Habits like emotional eating, overeating, quitting on yourself, and not following through on the thing you plan to do are what really holds you back in your weight loss.
If you could solve all those issues, imagine how much easier life would feel…
No more researching what new diets, no more food guilt, and no more shame about quitting another diet.
If you want to create a healthy lifestyle that helps you to reach your goal weight, without calorie counting or crazy fad diets, you’re in the right place.
Today I’m sharing 6 steps you can take to finally change your eating habits for weight loss that lasts.
Ready? Let’s do it!
Step 1 – Ask yourself why you’re really wanting to eat.
To reach your goal weight, you need to identity the reason you overeat — and it’s not just plain ole hunger. Here’s how you’ll know….
Would eat a chicken breast and broccoli (or any other boring food you don’t love)? If not, it’s not just physical hunger you’re dealing with here. You’re having an urge/craving brought on by something you’re thinking or feeling.
So it’s time to get real with yourself and start becoming aware of your own eating patterns. Every time you feel the urge to eat, just pause for a moment to ask yourself first, “Why am I really wanting to eat?”.
When you ask this, check in with your feelings. Try to identity what you feel in that moment. If it’s not the physical sensations of hunger, what is it? Are you feeling lonely, sad, bored, tired, melancholy, celebratory, joyful, or something else entirely?
Once you identity what you’re feeling, take note of it — write it down and start to track your answers.
You don’t necessarily have to do anything about it just yet. Noticing the reasons you eat, besides being hungry, will start to show you where your future work needs to be.
Step 2 – Practice waiting until you’re actually hungry to eat.
Most people eat because it’s meal time, other people are eating, because they’re bored, or for a million other reasons besides hunger.
If you’ve never practiced waiting until you’re hungry, how do you expect to know how much food your body really needs?
You don’t need to track or weigh all your food to los weight if you can just tune in to your body’s natural hunger and fullness signals. We all have hormones that will regulate our appetite for us given half a chance!
If we always eating before we need to, we never give our hunger hormones the chance to take charge.
Imagine how much easier eating would be if you let your body tell you when it needs food?
This is exactly what can happen when you get good at listening to your body.
For more help figuring out when to eat, check out this blog post: The 3 Keys to Fat Loss Without Counting Calories
Step 3 – Stay hydrated, rested, and eat some fiber.
When you’re practicing waiting until hungry to eat and there are a few things that can steer you wrong. To keep you from being misled by the signals your body sends, here’s what you need to know,,,
If you’re not well hydrated, well rested, and/or your blood sugar levels are unstable, you may experience physical sensations that feel like hunger. I call these fake hunger cues.
Our bodies send these fake hunger cues at times when we aren’t giving it what it truly needs.
For example, if you aren’t hydrated, you might start feeling like you’re hungry. This is often because your body is looking to extract some water from the food you eat.
If you really need some rest, you may notice more cravings, especially for carbohydrates and sugary foods. This is your body’s way of seeking a quick burst of energy from food.
Lastly, if you’re food is high in quick-digesting carbs and lacking in fiber, you might experience burst of energy (when your blood sugar is high), followed by an energy crash a few hours later.
That blood sugar crash can make you feel tired, and leave you with cravings to eat again for another burst of energy — which just starts the cycle all over again.
Any of these three issues can impact your hormones making it harder to tune into your bodies true needs.
Staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and eating less quick–digesting carbs (sugar, juice, flour, etc) and more fiber can help you avoid these issues.
On the days when those things aren’t in check (‘cause hey, nobody’s perfect) it’s helpful to be aware of how they might impact your appetite and your hunger signals.
If you can, drink some water, take a nap, or eat a healthy snack to help stabilize your hunger hormones and your energy.
For more on how and why eating fiber is oh so helpful for weight loss, check out this blog post: My Secret to Eating MORE Without Gaining Weight
Step 4 – Have a plan each day for what you’ll eat.
If you’re not in the habit of following through with what you say you’re going to do, no diet is going to work.
Until you fix this root problem, you’ll keep trying every shiny new thing the diet industry throws at you and never find a long-term solution.
That’s why getting in the habit of creating and following through with a daily meal plans is so important!
Once you do, you’ll build up the confidence in yourself and your ability to do whatever you commit to.
Making a daily meal plan doesn’t need to be overwhelming. It can be as simple as writing down 3-4 lines in a journal about you’ll eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day. Easy, and done in less than five minutes.
Make sure that you’re realistic with your plans.
Don’t plan your “perfect day of eating”. Instead just focus on making it something you know you’ll realistically want to follow through on.
Once you get in the swing of it, THEN it’s time to brain storm ways to up-level it to help you reach your goals faster!
For more detail and my top tips for making meal plan that you can stick to, check out this blog post: How to Build a Weekly Meal Plan (And Actually Stick To It!)
Step 5 – Look for the lesson in every “mess up”.
When you start making your daily meal plan, you’ll quickly realize it’s not as simple as it sounds. You’re going to mess it up, like a lot.
Any time you set a goal, there is always a chance that you won’t succeed. That’s why so many people are hesitant to set them at all. They’re afraid of feeling like a failure and disappointing themselves.
But seriously, if the worst thing that can happen when you set a goal for your day is a feeling you create in your own mind when you don’t succeed, why are you stressing it??
No one is going to come punch you in the face if you don’t follow through with your meal plan!
If things don’t go according to your plan, instead of mentally beating yourself up over it, ask yourself what you can learn here?
Think of every “failure” you experience as you practice sticking to your daily meal plan like a blinking check engine light in your car…
It doesn’t mean your car is broken.
It just means you’ve got an opportunity to fix something so it doesn’t get worse later. It’s simply your opportunity to stop, take a look under the hood and see what’s going on inside.
It doesn’t mean anything bad about you if you fall off your plan. You just need to assess what happened, why it happened, and what you can do better in the future.
For more on overcoming fear of failure and the need to be perfect, check out this blog post: How to Overcome Perfectionism With Food
Step 6 – Always get back on track with the next meal.
Some people will follow these steps and use their new eating habits to reach their goals and finally stay there.
Others will try it for a while, eventually quit making plans, stop trying to learn their hunger cues, and move on to the next diet…They’ll stay stuck in the cycle of starting and stopping diets and never see the results they really want.
The only difference between the person who succeeds and the person who doesn’t is whether or not they decide to keep trying after they mess up.
You can’t know everything that you’ll have to do to reach your goal when you’re first starting, but if you say with confidence that you’re going to keep trying until you figure it out, then you have all the certainty you need.
Yes, you’re going to mess up sometime but every meal is an opportunity to get right back on track.
Whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel after one bad choice, a bad day, or even a bad week!
Remember that with every meal you have the option to keep going or quit. A year from now, what will you wish you’d done?
One final note…
Changing you eating habits truly is the best way to lose weight for good.
Most diet plans focus on changing your action steps — eat this, don’t eat that, do this, don’t do that.
But when it comes to making a long-term change, it needs to start from the inside out.
Instead of trying to change all your actions so you’ll become someone new, you need to become someone knew first, then your actions will follow.
Focus on becoming someone with healthy eating habits — someone who doesn’t turn to food for comfort, entertainment or punishment and who eats according to the plans they make in advance.
If you’d like to get weekly motivation and tips to help you change your eating habits and finally reach your goal weight, sign up for my Friday Coaching Emails.
When you do, you’ll get weekly health coaching sent straight to your inbox every Friday plus my free Meal Planning Template to help you start making your daily meal plans ASAP.
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September 22, 2021