All congratulations and support if you are investing in your own health with an improved diet this year.  Yet there are several critical things to consider before you start that new eating plan.  And if you’re already started, no problem.  Here are 7 of them.

7 critical points checklist: Before you start that new diet plan

1)  Be clear on why you are making the dietary change.  It’s not enough to say to ‘be healthier’ or to ‘lose weight’.  To get you through the changes necessary and be in it for the long term win, it is critical that you connect with what ‘being healthier’ and ‘losing weight’ mean for you.  More energy?  More physical confidence?  Back in your skinny jeans? So you can have more freedom and independence as you get older? Seriously.  Take some time to think about it.  And write it down.  This will be crucial for you to maintain momentum and stay focused.

2)  Be sure you are eating enough satisfying food to get you not only to Day 4 but beyond.  You know “Day 4”.  It’s when the honeymoon phase of your new food plan has faded, the over-full belly and glycogen stores in your body have been a little depleted from any holiday bloat, and the stresses of daily life start to hammer away at the glow of resolve that you started with.  For me, by about Day 4 the hunger would start to catch up with me and it was no match for the diminishing will power.  Eating enough quality carbohydrates and fiber are essential to your success, and don’t you forget it.  See The 3 rules of satiety & why they are critical to your weight loss plan: Becoming naturally thin part 1

3)  Expect some failures along the way.  Sound defeatist?  Not at all. No one is going to have a perfect run.  Accept it.  Ultimate success with your health, weight loss, and fitness plan is a series of hit and miss,  wins mixed in with missing the mark, as you navigate your way to change that brings results.  You can be pretty sure that there will be moments of ‘failure’ along the way. Setting smaller goals can help you build an arsenal of wins, bolstering confidence.  This is assuming, of course, that you have #1 and #2 (as above)in place.  If you don’t have a firm grasp of why you are doing what you are doing, and hunger catches up with you, then all bets are off.

4) Don’t underestimate the power of the “what the hell” effect.   You know what I mean.  “I’ve eaten off my food plan so I’ve totally blown it and what the hell, I might as well eat….”   We’ve all been there.  #3 “above is an important part of #4.  And if you go into it knowing that due to the human condition you won’t be at 100% success every single day, then you have created a pre-emptive for that slippery spiral downward.

5)  Exercise.  Not because it burns calories, even though it does.  Research clearly tells us that moving your body relieves anxiety and stress, builds confidence, and enhances self-esteem.  It benefits the brain in ways we are only beginning to discover.  Why do you think I’ve hitched up diet with exercise as power companions in the health and fitness game?

6)  Have compassion for yourself.   Patience, kindness, and willingness to do what you can to make it easier to fulfill your daily objectives is important.  Being prepared with what you need for meals and workouts is a way that you show compassion for yourself.  Encouraging yourself to get up and go again when you have a setback is having compassion for yourself.  Brilliant.

7)  Meditate.  Any meditative practice that requires you to hone your concentration skills will enhance your ability to focus on your goals. It needn’t be fancy.  A simple practice of watching the breath and returning it  repeatedly to the point of concentration is developing success skills for yourself.  Start with 5 minutes a day.  Hint:  This has been huge for me in not only assisting focus but managing anxieties that come with change.

Consider each of these 7 seriously.  Incorporate each and watch what happens.

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