One reason why I do not necessary believe in diets is because dieting, in many cases is extremely difficult to be maintained long term. Unless of course the individual is extremely motivated 24/7 and have an immense will power. Let’s face it, most of us do not possess that quality. As a result I refer to my ‘diet’ as a lifestyle, because not only is it for the long term but it encompasses so much more than just what I eat.
Whether you have already transitioned, or simply have adopted more healthy habits into your routine, how do you maintain it so you don’t fall of the wagon? Although I am directing it towards specifically maintaining a vegan lifestyle, it can be applied to any other health goal you may have.
Here are my top tips:
Clean out your kitchen.
Get rid of all the junk from your kitchen. This may be a challenge for those who live at home with others that do not live the same way you do, but you may have more an influence and impact than you think. Regardless, get rid of all the food that may not align with what your goals are. For example, getting rid of most processed foods if your goal is to incorporate more whole, plant based foods. By cleaning out your kitchen, you are also providing an opportunity to organize it. If your kitchen is clean and organized, the more likely you will want to be in your kitchen making and preparing food. Additionally, by going through your inventory you will get a general idea of what you have currently and what you may want to invest in, in the future, especially kitchen equipment and other gadgets.
Always have healthy food at home.
One thing I find is very important, is always having at least something you can grab and eat at home, especially on those unexpected days. The worse thing that can happen is coming home to no food and you are literally in pain from hunger, which then you are more likely to reach for unhealthy foods when you get the chance. Thus, it is important to keep stocked. Foods that I love having all the time are fruit (of course). For example, I always have bananas, oranges, apples, or dates at all times. By having these, it can help tie you over until you have the opportunity to grocery shop and restock. Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.
Listen to your body.
Listen to your body in the sense that you should not restrict yourself. If you are still hungry, eat some more! If you are full and still have half a bowl of fruit left, stop and save it for later! Yes, I have calorie counted in the past, but that is because I wanted to make sure I was consuming enough! When you are not consuming enough it can increase the chances of failing off the wagon. Start to be more in tune with what your body is telling you. How do you do that, you may ask? Well, that’s another whole blog post on its own, but in general the main thing is to be mindful during your meals.
Getting support will always be on the list because it is so so so important. It is extremely demotivating and discouraging when others around you are not supportive or understanding, especially if they are people that you love the most. Trust me they will come around eventually, but in the meantime, find people that you look up to and follow them on social media, or reach out to them. Join groups or attend meet-ups with people sharing the same interest and passion. You’ll be surprised at how welcoming, loving and amazing the community is.
Similarly, to getting support, it is so important to keep inspired. Follow other blogs, watch recipe videos, and simply continue to do your research in order to stay motivated. You can also continue to set small realistic goals for yourself and document your journey. It can be extremely motivating to be able to look back at how far you have come and can easily be an inspiration in and of itself. For me, Instagram is definitely my top way to stay inspired, it is crazy how just a few photos can immediately spark inspiration. I also love to watch YouTube videos; seeing other people’s journeys or listening to how others present themselves or about information can be very encouraging.
There will always be a time where you may feel stuck, frustrated, stressed, confused, annoyed, or just cannot be bothered. If you are feeling low or just wanting to give up and quit, I really suggest taking a moment to self-reflect. Go back to why you wanted to do this in the first place. Why did you want to go on this journey? What are some of the things that you have enjoyed and not enjoyed. What are some thing you feel you have done well or haven’t done well. Ask yourself questions and do not be afraid to challenge yourself. It is important that you be honest with yourself. I find taking a step back and thinking about why you chose to do it in the first place can help you tap into that initial motivation and inspiration from the beginning. Moving forward, just know that there will be some low moments but it is nothing you cannot overcome. Just look how far you have come and what steps you have already taken. No matter what, just be proud of what you have accomplished and what you can continue to achieve. You just need to allow yourself that openness, that honesty and determination to push forward and jump over that hurdle.