I had one of my readers send me this message: "I'm fading, Chuck. I'm having a terrible time staying on track after so much success. I'm not on any of the boards anymore, really. How did you change your mentality?"
And truthfully, the key to staying on track with a plant-based diet is as simple as this:
I know, easier said than done....right?
But seriously, you just have to do your absolute best to not give up. Because cheating is a slippery slope, one little bite and before you know it 3 weeks have past and you've gained back 10 pounds and feel horrible.
Ask me how I know!
In fact, this very subject of cheating is what caused me to write my very popular article "The Fat Switch: Why I No Longer Cheat on my Plant-Based Diet"
And, because this seems to be a common problem, I thought it might be helpful to share what has worked for me.
All I can say is, "The longer you do this, the easier it gets".
5 Tricks to Staying on Track with a Plant-Based Diet
1. Look at the success you've already had
Were you losing weight? Great! How much did you lose? Remember that. What about your blood pressure or blood sugar - did that improve? Maybe your cholesterol fell, whatever your success remember it was this new lifestyle that helped you! Were you feeling amazing? Probably not so much right now but if you did it once, you can do it again.
Don't forget your successes. They prove you can do it again.
2. Remember your why
Why did you make the switch to a Plant-Based Diet to begin with? Was it for your health? The animals? To lose some weight? Reduce your meds?
Maybe it was for a different kind of reason, like ensuring you'll be around to enjoy your grandkids. Or setting a good example for your kids (or spouse).
And I'm sure to many, it may have been due to a health scare. Maybe a hospital visit. THAT should be a strong enough reason alone to stay on track.
Regardless of your reason - REMEMBER it. Write it down. Post it on your fridge. Whatever you have to do.
Your WHY should always be there to gently remind you why we are doing this in the first place.
3. Don't beat yourself up over it, just get right back on
You will not be the first person this has ever happened to, trust me on that. I've been on this journey myself for many years now, and it's just part of the process I think.
Maybe you're at a restaurant with friends or at a family picnic, and you want to fit in so..... just one bite you say.
And then you feel horrible. "I'm too weak. I can't do this. I have no willpower....."
Tomorrow is a new day and you can choose to begin again. You can ALWAYS make that choice.
4. Think of how you feel after you do cheat
The longer you stay on track and eat this way, believe it or not, your taste buds will actually change.
Sweets, for example, are now way TOO sweet. If I take a sip of pop now I simply can't drink it anymore. And I use to LOVE Coke and Mt Dew.
Same with oil. The bacteria inside my gut have changed so much (thank you fiber) that if I eat anything oily now? Well, let's just say it's not a very pleasant experience.
I know it may sound weird but now I totally crave Hash Browns baked on my George Foreman grill, no oil, and topped with a little salsa and green onion. SO GOOD!
Do you WANT to be all bloated and gassy after eating that whatever it is? Is it really going to be worth the discomfort? The trips to the bathroom?
No? Then don't eat it!
Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.
5. Ditch the bad stuff
If you have anything in your house that is tempting you to cheat. Get rid of it. Simple as that.
Ditch the mayo, or Ice Cream, or those cookies, or whatever it is that's screaming at you to eat the entire package.
If it's not in your house, you can't eat it. Instead fill your pantry with wholesome foods like Oatmeal, Potatoes, Apples, Bananas, Salad Greens, Beans & Rice. It's easy enough to slap together a burrito and smother it in a tasty salsa or hot sauce. Or nuke a potato and drown it in my Vegan Gravy.
If you're eating the right foods to begin with, you will NOT be hungry and those cravings and temptations will go away.
Remove all the junk from your house, then you don't have to deal with the temptation. If you get hungry enough, you WILL eat that apple. Dr. Michael Greger
Here's to Staying On Track!