Change often requires an adjustment period. Men and women who switch jobs may need a few weeks before they feel fully comfortable in a new office, while students changing schools may also need some time to adapt to their new surroundings.
An adjustment period is also common when people decide to adopt healthier diets. Diet is often habit-forming, and men and women will need some time to adjust as they kick some bad dietary habits in favor of healthier fare. The following are some simple ways to make that adjustment period a little easier to swallow.
• Go slowly. Some people are capable of going cold turkey when adjusting to a new diet, while others must take a more gradual approach. Unless a health condition that requires immediate change is driving your dietary changes, take things slowly so your body acclimates to its new diet over time. Such an approach may make your efforts more successful over the long haul than making more sudden, drastic changes. For example, suddenly cutting your daily calorie intake in half may force you into old, unhealthy habits when hunger pangs inevitably arise. But gradually reducing your caloric intake over time may make it easier for your body to adjust, decreasing the likelihood that you will relapse into bad habits.
• Explain your motivation to loved ones. Adults, especially married men and women and parents, may find adjusting to a new diet especially difficult unless their spouses and/or families are making similar adjustments. If you are the only member of your household who will be adjusting to a new diet, explain your efforts and motivation to your loved ones. Such an explanation will make them less likely to bring unhealthy foods into your home. In addition, your loved ones can prove an invaluable source of support as you make this big adjustment in your life.
• Embrace positive results, even if they are initially underwhelming. Just because you have adopted a new diet does not mean you will see immediate results. Fad diets meant to last just a few weeks may produce immediate results, but such results likely will not withstand the test of time, and you may even gain weight when you revert to some of your old eating habits. The right diet will produce long-lasting results, but you must allow for some time before such diets lead to significant weight loss. In the meantime, place more emphasis on how you feel than the figure that shows up on your bathroom scale each morning. Upon adopting a healthier diet, you will start to notice how much better you feel than you felt when eating a diet filled with fatty, unhealthy foods. Remind yourself of this extra hop in your step as you continue on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
• Don’t give up. Your adjustment period will require some discipline, and there may be moments when you backslide into bad habits. If that happens, don’t allow it to derail all of the progress you have made since switching to a healthier diet. Just accept that you had a setback and resolve to do your best to avoid having another one. The sooner you get back on a healthier track, the better you will feel.