Some people like the challenge of strict diets and need to have certain foods off limits to limit temptation. Others like moderation and do better with smaller changes and can handle the occasional cheat meal without going overboard. If you belong to the latter group, this approach is for you. This is how it works.
Make lasting changes
Small changes don’t feel impossible, and they are easier to stick with. They are also more likely to produce the good feeling of making a successful change. It will take longer than with a strict diet but there’s pretty much no risk of getting a yo-yo effect because only you control the amount of change. Let’s look at snacking as an example. This is what small lasting changes might look like.
Snacks level 1
You usually go hungry and don’t really snack during the day. In the evening you binge on junk food to compensate.
If you buy something it’s usually soda or some candy from the dispenser down the hall.
Snacks level 2
You try to snack more frequently throughout the day.
You go out and buy a yogurt or granola bar if you have time but chocolate bars and other sweets are more convenient most days.
You limit the soda drinking to one glass per day.
Snacks level 3
You have your favourite quality protein bars and know where to buy them.
You don’t mind running to a store to get a healthy snack. You still have a sweet tooth but are no stranger to fruits, yogurts, nuts, and darker chocolate.
Most days you stick to drinking water or tea during the day.
Snacks level 4
You stocked up your workplace and home with plenty of healthy snack options.
You try to make your main meals filling and nutritious so that you don’t feel the need to snack very often.
If you do snack it’s mostly wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, yogurt, dark 70% + chocolate, or some nutritious left-overs.
Now you have plenty of examples on how to gradually improve your meals. And remember, you don’t need to go all the way to level 4 with every meal. You can settle at any level or between them as long as you are healthy and feel good. Just keep the changes you made and it was all worth it!