Put Your Menu Plan on Paper
Food is one of those things that has an emotional component added to its already habitual nature. Diet is often an oversimplified subject for weight loss fads, and tackling diet in terms of changing it in the long term involves both examining the food and the thought, or lack of it, behind the food. Eating when sad, eating when thoughtless, eating when happy, eating when lonely, these behaviors are as much behind weight as what is eaten or how much is eaten. Food behaviors need to be examined as much as the meals themselves.
Food journals are really important in this process. They are not only used to record nutritional intake, calories, protein, fiber, vitamins, and the like, but behavior and emotion. Emotional state should be part of the recording of a food journal. Menstrual periods(for ladies of course) should be part of a food journal. Whether one is a morning/night person, or has bouts with insomnia should be logged. Bad days, bad events, good days, good events, and special days should be in there too.
This information helps each person to understand the what and why's of their diets. This becomes a great part of the arsenal that can be used to actual make changes that are successful and that stick.
Once the contents of the fridge and pantry are changed for the better, and the menus for the week are planned and grocery trips scheduled, the basic beginnings are in place. Then the body has to get used to the changes in food and the timing of it. From there, noting the habits that make the car automatically go through the fast food drive through on the way home from work become the big job. The hick-ups, the mistakes, and the gross failures need really careful examination (after self-forgiveness), so that they can be prevented in the future.
No plan for lifestyle change is concrete, and it should always be flexible and adaptable, and compassionate.
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