At the end of each year millions of Americans reflect and decide on a New Year’s Resolution. One of the most popular changes people aspire to is to improve their health. Gym memberships soar through the roof and people swamp the produce section of grocery stores in the start of the new year.
However, like any change in life, they can be difficult and sadly many fall off the wagon with a little over 9% success rate. By the end of January, over 40% will have already given up. So how can you make your healthy resolution and ACTUALLY stick to it?
Many fall off the wagon with a little over 9% success rate. By January, over 40% will have already given up.
If going towards a more plant-based diet is part of your plan (and I hope it is), I’ve got news for you, you’re not alone. Vegan/plant-based diets are becoming more popular as the benefits and effects are now more widely known. People all over are taking back their health and speaking out about the miraculous outcomes. By pursuing this lifestyle, you will not only help give your body the tools to heal/combat/defend itself against disease and pain, but you will be helping the planet and the billions of animals that live miserable short lives for the animal agriculture industry.
Here are a few tips for making a health conscious lifestyle change.
Make a Plan
When making any life change, a plan needs to be in place. Moving across country? That should be planned out. How will you get your furniture there? Do you have an apartment or house? A job? All these things need to be planned. The same goes for wanting to live a healthier life.
Create a health binder. Write out your goals. Do you want to lose weight? Help lessen your arthritis? How often will you work out? These are all important things to consider and document. Include recipes you want to try and ideas that will help inspire you. Add a section for a daily food/wellness journal. Here you can jot down what you ate, how you felt, if you worked out/for how long, and your daily gratitude. This can be a great tool to look back and see how much you’ve evolved and progressed.
Again, any change can be hard. Try not to make your goal too far out of reach. If you want to lose 20 pounds, don’t get discouraged after 2 weeks. Everything worth doing takes time, so stay focused. Give yourself time to get situated in this new lifestyle. It won’t happen over night!
Reading and watching about others who have transformed their lives by eating whole plant foods can help give that extra boost. I recommend educating yourself exactly why this is the right choice. There are so many great documentaries and books available these days. Below are some of my favorites.
Documentaries: Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy, What the Health, Vegucated, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, What’s with Wheat (most are available on Netflix)
Find Meal Inspiration
Eating plant-based opens up an exciting new food frontier. 🙂 It doesn’t mean just having rice and beans every night (although I do love me some rice and beans). And it doesn’t have to be complicated, either.
Eating plant-based opens up an exciting new food frontier.
In this internet age we live in, it’s never been easier to get great recipes at your finger tips! A simple google search for “vegan dinner recipes” produces over 8 million results. Pinterest is also a great source for recipe inspiration. Search whatever plant-based meal you want. Vegan breakfast, vegan lunch ideas, and so on.
However, the abundance of these choices can be overwhelming. If you need a guide, look no further than my collection of vegan recipes.
If cutting out meat cold turkey (pun intended) is too difficult, be realistic about it. It’s better to gradually ween off meat, rather than stress yourself out and not stick with the lifestyle. If you need to start by cutting out meat from one meal a day, example, then so be it. Maybe have no animal products for breakfast. Gradually you can move towards a whole day with no animal products. The next move could be not having animal products in the house and only eating them while dining out. The end result would be eating a totally whole plant-based diet.
If you want to cut out as much as possible but still mentally find it difficult, try replacing meat with products like Tofurkey. My husband, Derek, loves the Italian one. We have served them to meat eaters and they didn’t know the difference. While I don’t advocate eating a lot of processed food, having this once or twice a week is fine and is better than eating actual meat any day! Again, always check the ingredients of all processed food.
Find a Buddy
Having someone else making the same transition can help. Accountability is key. By having someone else also making these changes, the two of you can bounce off ideas, motivate each other, and be there for support.
Give it the chance it needs!
Cravings can be a real thing. The 100 trillion bacteria housed in our guts dictate what we crave. If you’re feeding it junk food, it will signal to your brain that you want to eat junk food. At first there might be cravings for those old unhealthy habits. This is normal. After 21 days of eating clean, new “good” bacteria has been encouraged, inflammation is down, and your gut microbiome (all the living bacteria) will start telling your brain “hey, gimme some more of that gooood stuff!” 😉
If you start to feel overwhelmed or like you’re falling off the wagon, contact your buddy or me! Re-watch a documentary to rediscover your inspiration.
You can take back your health and are already one step closer by reading this! Remember, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”! Give your body the right tools and it will reward you with better health!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food!”