Are you starting a Whole30, 21-Day Sugar Detox or 30-day Paleo Challenge in January? As a nutritionist with a busy private practice, I’ve seen lots of people succeed and others fail. You likely know what you need to do for food, but I’ve got six additional secrets I tell my clients that, when followed, will help you succeed.
- Peel Off Your Cranky-Pants. If you go into your new clean eating pattern with a bad attitude, you’re sabotaging yourself. Don’t feel sorry for yourself that you “can’t” eat your favorite food, reframe it and instead, be thrilled that you’re giving yourself the gift of self-love that will help you live a longer, healthier life.
- Fill Your Calendar with Non-Food Rewards. Schedule massages, take a sauna, book a facial, try a float tank, get some new body care products or whatever it is that you enjoy doing just for yourself. Sometimes people feel deprived when they miss their old comfort foods and most people also feel depressed in the winter, which is the most common time to tackle a new diet. Don’t let the weather or lack of cheesecake make you feel defeated. Get yourself a new book, new yoga pants, plan a trip, see a movie with an old friend, or whatever else it is to treat without stuffing yourself. Here’s the new book I’m reading for 2017.
- Workout Smart. Unlimited cardio can be a surefire way to increase hunger. If you’ve drastically cut your carbohydrate intake, you may have less energy (in the beginning). Don’t stress your system with six 10-mile runs a week. Focus on strength workouts, yoga and relaxation techniques like meditation. You want to calm your body, not induce stress. Elimination diets can be stressful. Counter to what you might think, the added stress of unlimited retcons may actually lead to weight gain.
- Sleep. Sleep is critical for healing and weight loss. Some people experience disturbed sleep, or “detox insomnia” during an elimination diet. Get eight hours of high quality, uninterrupted sleep. Make sure you are in a completely dark room. Lack of sleep causes stress on the body and a stressed out body will cling on to weight, especially around the mid-section. Poor sleep makes you crave more carbs/sugar the next day. Do your best to get some exercise during the day. Other things you can try are blue light therapy in the morning, blue-blocking glasses in the evening, and I love Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy each night (and get 10% off when you enter dianarodgers at checkout.)
- Supplements: Work with a real food nutritionist or other practitioner who can suggest supplements that may help. Your elimination diet is likely starving out some gut microbes that are starving for sugar, actually causing the cravings. A few of my favorites are this cod liver oil, this probiotic, and this for blood sugar control.
- Support. This is in two forms. One is family support and the other is nutritional support. I actually suggest to people NOT to take on a new diet with a spouse/friend IF your they have the potential of being your worst enemy. Yes, you both have the best intentions but when one person slips, the other usually uses this as an excuse to indulge, too. Plus, you are doing this for YOU. Take care of yourself first, and then worry about the rest of your family. If you are not committed to YOU, then it’s not going to work. Need more direction or help? Set up a consult!