Are You Feeling Overwhelmed with Diet Changes?
I know I have been posting on the elimination diet, however I had to take a quick time out!! I have been doing a lot of reading, listening, reviewing literature in preparation for my patients and these writings. In the process, I have realized how easy it is to become overwhelmed. My mom guilt kicked in and I felt as though my allowance of certain foods in my kids diet was basically going to give them diabetes and autoimmune issues. Yes the mom guilt that takes one pirate booty (and if you don't know what they are be thankful because they are like crack!), one fruit snack or one sugar filled yogurt and looks ahead thinking I have given them lifelong awful habits and basically I am responsible for their future health issues. Anyone else?? I know I am not the only one! We have guilt for everything! We have guilt if we work, guilt if we go on date nights and the list goes on!!
So when I was thinking of my children's diet I was overwhelmed and feeling guilty. Their diets are not awful, but they definitely could be better. But let's be honest...we cannot change our kids diets overnight. I am dealing with enough temper tantrums without telling my children we are decreasing cheese intake!!
Then I thought about what I tell my patients...just one goal at a time. Actually we do 1-3 goals but you get it! One habit. One small decision every day for your health over time will equal major changes. Just one small decision each day, notice not an easy decision but a small one. I will pack a lunch, I will drink a water rather than soda, I will eat at least 1 vegetable a day.
If you read info on elimination diet, keto, paleo, and plant based and think..."no way!! That is ridiculous, it is too hard...it's not for me!". Just break it down! First of all what is your goal? Is it to lose weight? Decrease your blood pressure and diabetes medications? Resolve your autoimmune disorder? Help your concentration? Feel the way you once did?
Then look at your diet. Keep a weekly food diary, see where your weaknesses are. I look at a few things when I look at patients food diaries.
~carbohydrates especially if we are discussing weight loss we limit grams of carbs for snacks and meals.
~I always review vegetable and fruit goals. One serving is 1/2 cup or 1 cup for green leafy vegetables. Goal is minimum of 5. 7-9 servings have been shown to decrease risk of some cancers including colon.
~Protein intake: You should be having some protein at each meal especially if it is a carb rich meal or snack.
~When are your weaknesses? Do you struggle at work, before bedtime? We talk about triggers and how to avoid or change.
~What are some habits that are just too hard to give up. For instance one of my patients loves her Starbucks mochas. So we started slow, we decreased the number of pumps of chocolate slowly. There are five pumps in a large (I always forget which size is which!). Then we changed the milk. You can change your taste preferences believe it or not, just do it slowly!
~Sugar is another topic that we discuss
~Support system: In a study of 12,000 people tracked for 32 years it was found that if you have one friend who is significantly overweight there is a 57% higher likelihood that you'll be overweight. On the flip side, if one person loses a significant amount of weight, 1 of 3 of their closest friends will also lose a significant amount of weight.
~Exercise: I actually don't stress this at the beginning when discussing weight loss, but will if cardiovascular health is the first goal.
Now if I were to hit on all of these at the first appointment I would never see anyone again!! It is a process. Only 1-3 goals at a time. Anyone can do that! And the goals are small: if zero vegetables then 1. If you are eating out every day, then decrease to 4 times per week. Don't be too hard on yourself (I am saying this to me too!). Step by step, small habits everyday will turn into lifelong health.