Why it’s so hard to make drastic lifestyle changes.

Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Have you ever noticed that getting tough on yourself when it comes to dieting doesn’t work?  It’s very similar to an itch you are ignoring.  That itch wants to be itched, and the more you ignore it, the harder it gets to ignore it.  The same goes with a diet plan.  If a particular diet has you totally off of carbs or no bread, then it will be hard to avoid it all the time.  This is particularly the case when you go out with your family to a restaurant or the coffee shop for a meeting.  I know for me when I go to the coffee shop for a meeting and in the past, I have restricted myself in that sort of way, I have always failed.  Of course, I will be a good “soldier” and suck it up for my body for a period of time.  I might even go on for three weeks before I crash and eat some bread.  Going cold turkey for me has always been a recipe for disaster.  When I crash, I might be that guy at the local Dunkin’ Donuts who ordered a box of a dozen donuts sitting in the corner with my lips covered in powdered sugar.

If I have a craving, I just go with it; I don’t fight it.  Yes, I am on a gluten free and dairy free diet restriction right now.  The truth is when I feel like having a piece of bread I have it.  Why?  It’s not realistic for me to just go cold turkey and believe that I will never have bread again.  There is a lot of mental preparation and failure involved when trying to cut out certain foods from one’s diet.  The key is not giving up when you succumb to those urges. I would also suggest lengthening the amount of time you succumb to your urges.  So for example, if I have an urge for eating something from the bakery, then I will give in.  The next time I might wait a bit longer before I succumb to this urge say another week.  The next time I might attempt to wait two weeks and so on.  Over time my mind body and mind can accept that I no longer need bread in my life.

Being on a Diet is a Stressful Event

Do you realize that making yourself unhappy about your current situation is probably not the way to lose weight? What happens when we restrict ourselves from eating the foods we love?  We are miserable.  For me I love food, so I am not only unhappy, I am grouchy and irritable when I restrict myself from the foods I am eating.


Baby Steps

When I work on my diet, I try to set realistic goals for myself that are believable for me at this moment.  For example, I typically start with something small.  I might decide to start only putting half the sugar I usually put in my tea.  I might also decide also to drink water with my meals instead of a soft drink. These may not seem like massive changes, but after every few weeks, if you were to change or adjust something in your diet over time, it will begin to make huge changes to your overall health and well-being.  Again, remember we are creatures of habit, so when we make dramatic changes our mind and body typically have a hard time accepting those changes even if they are right for us!  This is why we fail when we try to make significant changes to the way we eat.


Implementing Life Changes isn’t always easy

Many of us make highly unrealistic expectations for ourselves and the results only make us feel depressed and sad about failing to manage our health.  Sometimes it’s ok to accept that we don’t know what changes in this moment make sense and what changes do not.  It’s also important to hold yourself accountable again many of us are not good at this when it comes to eating or making changes. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with a group of people that will motivate you to stay on course.


The Mandala Lifestyle Program

That’s why we developed this course.  It’s not just for people interested in losing weight. It’s also for people interested in maintaining their health as they advance in age.  Many of my patients are thin and looking at them you would never think they are unhealthy.  The reality is many of them suffer from anxiety or have issues with fatigue just to name a few things.  I also have patients that exercise like crazy and still are not healthy the way they should be.  Why?  Because they are not addressing certain issues that are going on in their life or only not eating well.  If you want more information about the lifestyle program or would like to sign up for a free health assessment, just give our office a call – 563.355.7411


Dr. Shah, MD