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The Six Planning Stages to Adopting Healthy Eating Habits

Eating healthy foods is an important part of healthy weight loss. There's no way around it. If you want to lose weight in a safe and healthy manner, you have to adopt healthy eating habits. The good news is when you eat healthy it makes weight loss much easier. You may even lose weight without trying. Getting to this stage begins with six important pre-planning steps.

Step 1: Do It Because You Want To...Not Because of Anyone Else

If you haven't already, it's time to realize you're in control of your eating habits and weight loss. When you can do that you'll have the emotional stamina to take control of your life. Losing weight for other people, or for superficial reasons, only works temporarily. Losing weight for a family reunion, wedding, or big party isn't enough incentive to truly change your eating habits.

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Most people find weight loss success when they decide its in their best interest to lose weight. Not because they want to make someone else happy, but because they truly desire to change their lives. So before you go on another diet or set another weight loss goal, ask yourself this important question: why do I want to lose weight? Your answer will determine if you're ready to work for long-term weight loss or just a quick fix.

Step 2: Accept Change

For some people, change is hard to accept. Some people even fear positive change. It takes a lot of guts to break old patterns and change your life completely. And drastic weight loss will change your life. But remember, it will change your life for the better.

Be willing to accept change. It may take time for friends and family to adjust to the new you, but they will eventually. After you lose weight, you'll become a different person – so to speak. Instead of meeting your best friend as Pizza Hut, you may visit her at home for a cup of tea. Or instead of having a Big Mac and Fries with your buddies after work, you might want to have a salad and grilled chicken instead.

Step 3: Realize That You Are Not Perfect

People who maintain weight loss aren't hard on themselves about their mistakes. They know they're not perfect, and might occasionally give in and eat that cheese pizza. The important thing is climbing back on the wagon after falling off. Some people get frustrated when they slip, and then give up and return to their old eating habits. This type of extreme behavior is unnecessary.

A better idea is to forget about perfectionism. You're not perfect, and you will give into temptation on occasion. The key is to catch yourself when you fall. Forgive yourself for eating those 3 slices of chocolate cake and move on. Have a plan in place to help you get back on track when setbacks occur.

You can get back on track in a number of ways. You could set a new goal to eliminate all fried foods from your diet for one week. Decide to eat smaller portions and resist the urge to go back for seconds. So when you realize you've been eating more chips than carrots, it's time to get back on track.

Step 4: Deal with Emotions without Eating

Stress, sadness, and boredom are major causes of overeating. Most people are emotional eaters without even realizing it. Are you an emotional eater? If your eating habits are tied to your emotions, then you're an emotional eater.

The way to avoid emotional eating is to figure out why you're eating. Before each meal or snack, ask yourself if you're truly hungry. You might be surprised to learn that you're not hungry at all. Maybe you're angry at your sister, stressed out about your job, or dealing with some other negative emotion. Happiness can also lead to overeating. People often feel obligated to eat at family gathering, weddings, and birthday parties. But if you're not hungry, you don't have to eat.

Step 5: Realize that Success is Relative

Success isn't necessarily about fitting into a sized two dress or size 12 jeans. For some people it might be, but it doesn't have to be that way for you. You can measure your weight loss success in any way you want. Besides, trying to lose weight to fit a specific clothing size isn't a good way to measure success.

A healthy body that you're comfortable with is more important than fitting into a size two. Just because you can squeeze yourself into a small size doesn't mean you're healthy. And if that's the case, is it really a success?

Create healthy, but realistic goals for yourself. Aim for more energy, enthusiasm, or vitality over wearing that red dress from college. Any amount of healthy weight loss is a success. Think more about how you want to feel as opposed to how you want to look. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but losing weight for that reason alone can lead to an eating disorder. So in addition to thinking about your looks, think about your overall health also.

Step 6: Eat Good Food...Not Bland Food

Following a healthy diet isn't about eating nothing but salads for the rest of your life. A lot of people believe that a healthy diet is a boring diet. The good news is that they're wrong. There are many ways to practice healthy eating. Salads are good, but they're just a small part of a healthy diet.

It's true you need fruits and vegetables every day, but variety truly is the spice of life. Do you love chicken? Broil or bake it instead of frying it. Do you enjoy pizza? Most pizza restaurants offer vegetarian pizzas that are just as delicious as their meat alternatives.

Get Started

Losing weight isn't easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But if you use the six stages in this article to prepare yourself, your weight loss will be much easier.

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