10 Steps to Make a Fresh Start with Your Diet
Author: Shannon Miller
by Susan Smith Jones
Here are some guidelines that health and fitness expert, motivational speaker, and wellness consultant Susan Smith Jones, PhD, recommends in her new book Walking on Air: Your 30-Day Inside and Out Rejuvenation Makeover. She uses these tips with clients and friends with great success. For more information, please visit: SusanSmithJones.com and click on Walking on Air.
1. Start strong. Pick a day to begin your new program and make the start date a special date. If you’re near the end of the month, wait until the beginning of the next month or the beginning of the next week. I sometimes pick the new moon or the first day of a new season or the beginning of a month. Just as the first 40 minutes of each day set the tone for the day — so we want to make them relaxed, peaceful, and positive — the first day of your new program sets the tone for the next few weeks.
The days before your program starts you must mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare. Do whatever you need to do to remove unhealthy products from your kitchen, get your workout clothes and shoes in order, and create a monthly calendar you can place on your refrigerator door where each day you will list your physical activities and all the other ways you’ve loved yourself. For example, you might write that you walked for 30 minutes, meditated for 15 minutes, ate 3 pieces of fruit, and put a rejuvenation mask on your face before going to bed. Seeing the squares filled in provides you with a mirror of how well you’re taking care of yourself and brings a feeling of empowerment.
2. Eat your morning meal. Make sure that you start the day with a healthy breakfast. Embracing each day with a strong, positive start makes it easier to make healthier choices throughout the day and stokes your metabolism. People who eat a healthy breakfast generally feel less hungry throughout the day.
3. Curb your appetite. Drink a large glass of purified water about 15-20 minutes before a meal. Water does wonders for detoxifying and rejuvenating your body and helps to prevent overeating by making you feel full. Also, emphasize high-fiber food in your diet because it provides bulk and fills you up — leaving you feeling more satisfied.
4. Eat smaller meals more frequently. The more colorful, healthy, natural foods that you eat, the healthier you will be, the more energy you will have, and the easier it will be to achieve your ideal weight. If you want to see changes in your body shape fast and you desire to accelerate fat loss, rather than eating 1-3 large meals daily, choose to eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Grazing stokes your metabolism. As you incorporate more natural foods in your diet, you’ll see your extra weight melt away easily and effortlessly. Keep in mind, also, that for the best, most restorative sleep, strive not to eat right before bedtime, unless it’s something that’s light and easy to digest.
5. Feel your hunger. Try to eat your meals and snack when you’re hungry, not just because the clock says it’s time, or when you’re bored or depressed or tired or anything but hungry. Remember, we want to eat to live, not live to eat.
6. Go light. When your tummy really wants food and you don’t have much time, opt for low calorie bites that are quick and nourishing, such as carrot and celery sticks or other fresh vegetables (and a great low-calorie dip) or fresh fruit. If you crave more substance, add a few raw seeds or nuts, but no more than one ounce at a time if you have more than ten pounds to lose.
7. Eat what you like. There are so many delicious, healthy foods to choose from, there’s simply no reason to eat foods you don’t like. And nothing makes a food program more difficult than forcing yourself to eat foods you don’t care for, so make wise, healthy choices from the foods you really like.
8. Slow down. Eat slowly enough to give your body time to release the chemical messengers that tell your brain when you’ve had all you need. It usually takes about 20 minutes. Inhaling food instead of eating consciously and deliberately causes indigestion and gas. Also, chew your foods well. Half of digestion takes place in your mouth.
9. Don’t give up. Falling off your health program once or twice does not mean the effort is hopeless. Simply acknowledge that you didn’t eat wisely and get back on the program.
10. Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something special such as with a massage, a movie, a yoga class, a new piece of clothing or accessory, a new book or audio program, or a delicious meal at your favorite healthy restaurant for each week that you maintain your health program, achieve goals, or maintain weight.
© Susan Smith Jones, PhD
Susan Smith Jones, PhD, is the author of over 26 books including the latest best-sellers, The Joy Factor: 10 Sacred Practices for Radiant Health, Recipes for Health Bliss: Using NatureFoods & Lifestyle Choices to Rejuvenate Your Body & Life, and just-released worldwide Walking on Air: Your 30-Day Inside and Out Rejuvenation Makeover. For 30 years she taught students, staff and faculty at UCLA how to be healthy and fit, and now travels throughout the United States and internationally as a motivational speaker and guest on radio and TV talk shows.