Its officially January 2021! For so many people, this means a fresh start, especially when it comes to their current diet or way of eating. Its a great time for a diet refresh, reflection of old habits that may not be working, and trying new foods and recipes. And, if your heart is pulling you in a specific health direction, you should definitely listen.
I find that there are two good approaches to getting your “health back on track” at the start of the New Year (or really anytime you feel you need it). I say TWO because there seems to be two types of people:
- People that know they need to change their habits, but get overwhelmed at the prospect of flipping their entire diet overnight (or maybe do not know where to go, what to do, ahhhhh sooo many choices!).
- People that want to completely overhaul their diet in one fell swoop. They are super excited to try something drastic because of the motivation and quick results they hope to seek.
Whichever group you fall in, I have a solution to help you.
For Group 1:
Feeling overwhelmed sometimes can lead to inaction because you literally get paralyzed, feeling like you need to do everything at once (who can relate?). I know I get overwhelmed very easily when I feel like I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it.
Many people become overwhelmed over health/diet changes because they think they NEED to overhaul their diets overnight. For some, that works. But I have found that doesn’t work for a lot of people. Its too much too soon. They are afraid of changing habits, not liking the food, or not getting the results they are hoping for. It creates a sense of overwhelm, which leads to inaction, which leads to ZERO RESULTS.
My advice that works: Pick ONE thing. Do not overhaul your diet overnight if that doesn’t feel right for you. Just pick ONE thing to work on. When you conquer that, you move on to the next thing and repeat. THIS is HOW I got my own health on track. It was years of just doing one thing at a time, that compounded into long term success. (It’s also what I base my coaching practice on. I help my clients pick those small things and then help them through each one. Then after 3 months and 6 months, big changes occurred and they FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!).
- If your problem is digestion: Your one thing could be adding in probiotics or fermented foods.
- If your problem is water: Your one thing could be getting a really nice water bottle and keeping it with you.
- If your problem is sleep: Picking one wind down activity you do every night to help set a routine, like reading for 10 minutes.
- If your problem is stress: Taking 5 min a day to yourself to just breathe.
- If your problem is weight loss: Adding in one extra veggie or fruit per day.
The point is to pick something that seems doable and once you establish it into your daily routine, you are already a step further in getting your health on track. Then move on to the next small thing.
Overtime, these little actions that are now ingrained as just part of your life, will create the massive change you were always hoping for.
For Group 2:
This is for those of you who really feel the need to do something bigger.
If you have been struggling with: weight loss, poor digestion, acne/skin problems, anxiety/stress or even sleep, one solution is to try an elimination diet. I explain this is in a lot more detail here, which I highly recommend reading. An elimination diet works because in about 30 days, you will have completely cleaned up your diet, and most likely feel amazing. The focus is still eating real food, but just eliminating things that could be hindering your health. Things that get eliminated are gluten, dairy, added sugar, soy, corn and alcohol. By eliminating these common trigger foods, you are eating less processed food (which is the ultimate goal), less added sugar (cause of multiple problems) and as a result are eating more real, whole-based foods. For many people, this method works so much better because there is no counting macros or calories. You eat every time you’re hungry. You listen to your body’s cues on cravings. As a result, this approach generally has people feeling a lot better after only a month.
Also, the best part about an elimination diet is that it’s temporary. You do not have to be this restrictive in your diet for more than a month (unless you want to, of course). But the point is to slowly reintroduce the foods back in (one at a time) and see if your previous symptoms come back. If they do, you know what the culprit is.
I really enjoy the protocol given by Arbonne, because they have a really good system established that I have done personally with great success (even if you don’t buy anything it’s a very helpful roadmap, with a really good support system).
It’s a good starting point for many people because they do see the results fast and usually the motivation to keep going. Even if you maintain an 80/20 approach after the 30 days, you can still maintain very good progress.
Since elimination diets can be a lot to do at once, my suggestions:
- Do one with an established protocol (like Arbonne’s), which still emphasizes real food
- A guide to help you (like a health coach! Like me!)
- A really good support system of people doing it alongside of you.
This is something that you will find a lot more success with, not doing it alone. Because its such a massive change quickly, you need that support to help when things get hard, good recipe swaps, people cheering your on, etc. Everyone I know with great success doing this had a good support system behind them who has been where they are and/or doing it alongside them.
Both of these options work. It just really depends on your preference and your health goals. Always follow your instinct and where your heart is telling you is the best path. Do not do something just because it seems that everyone else is, but only if you feel it makes sense for you.
Tell me! Where is your heart telling you to go? Picking one thing to focus on, or a complete overhaul, like an elimination diet?
Reminder! The waitlist for my next session for my 2 week Nutrition course is now open! In this course, I discuss all the details about each nutrient, why they are important and exactly what happens when you eat them. From helping clients and students for many years now, I have found this information to being the best starting point to really understanding your own health and how you should be eating that works FOR YOU.