Updated: Apr 28, 2019
When we get challenged by cravings, thoughts and fears but then also remember the side of us that knows we would like to make a change but can’t seem to find enough motivation to do so, it can be a little frustrating. How do we confront the mind when our willpower seems to shift into the background? And when we finally manage to take our first step, we get excited but the real challenge comes when we try to stay on track and avoid falling back into previous habits we'd wish to eliminate. A good first step, is to actively decide that now is the time, believing it, and making it happen but also maintaining a system that will keep us from forgetting why we started in the first place. The most important step though is to create a plan that's not only realistic, but fun. Something that puts a smile on your face the moment you start your day. You need to genuinely enjoy it, every step of the way. Use the below steps as a springboard to pick up ideas but always remember to make it about your own journey and apply everything you learn in ways that make you feel good. Now lets take a look at the tips and tricks below and get you ready to go.
1. BE CURIOUS
Why do children learn so quickly? It's not only because they are young and like a blank canvas, but also because of their curiosity. They are genuinely curious about things that sometimes barely even make sense to adults and they won't stop asking until they have an answer. Unfortunately, we tend to loose this a little as we grow up and if we want to be healthy, we need the knowledge. If you are transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, make sure you are aware of essential nutrients your body will need and find foods that can replace these nutrients. It might take a little research to begin with, but by finding topics and information that enlighten your curiosity, you will become a Pro very quickly. Some ways to make this fun and effective is through images. Let's say you know you will need to be aware of getting iron in your diet, so you look up “plants or food high in iron”, you could download images or make a list of food containing iron. Then lets say you find research claiming iron is best combined with vitamin C in order to be absorbed by the body and so you choose to research food containing this antioxidant. So now you have a bunch of leafy greens on one side, and some citrus fruits on another side and you can now become creative and try different combinations to plan your menu (you can create folders on your computer and sub-folders with the images you will combine. Then think of name for your recipe and give that name to your folder). You will be surprised how easily you might come up with interesting combinations, like sliced grapefruit on a bed of leafy greens, sunflower and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top with a dash of balsamic vinegar. And you will be desperate to try it out and see how it tastes. Mainly because YOU are the creator. Sound awesome? I bet it does! So sit down with yourself and allow your creativity to flow. Think about all the ways you could combine those foods, but if that’s not your cup of tea you can always look up some recipes to get your mouth watering, just remember that curiosity is a big fat key to progress and consistency.
2. CREATE A FOOD CALENDAR
Yeah yeah, I knooooow, its the booooring food calendar you keep hearing about but trust me, if you keep hearing about it, it probably works!! ;)
Just some key points to make it lighter on you, if you are taking recipes from the internet, make sure they are easy, require little preparation time, few ingredients, you have the required kitchen equipment to elaborate the recipes with and also ask yourself if you are going to enjoy making and eating them. They have to be recipes you can’t wait to make, they need to get you excited. Then see how much you can purchase in advance (try to make as little trips to the supermarket as you can so you have all ingredients readily available for you to use). If you love sweets and you know you will be craving them, make sure you include a couple healthy desserts or healthy sweet snacks in your food calendar too. You can make some delicious sugar-free banana muffins for example to last you the whole week and this will help against the urge of giving in to unnecessary purchases that will end in feelings of guilt. If you love chocolate and know you have a weakness, why not try making some raw vegan chocolate at home using genuine ingredients? This will be a lot better than conventional packaged products you find on supermarket shelves. Most importantly though is to keep track of your progress. Set aside a specific moment of the day which you dedicate to overseeing that you are taking note. I find it useful to not go to bed before having completed this. Make it a habit, just like you don’t go to bed before you brush your teeth, include tracking your progress and keeping your food diary up to date into your daily evening routine.
3. BE GOAL ORIENTATED
Remind yourself of the reason you are doing this. Want better skin appearance and texture, maybe a glow? feeling heavy and want to achieve lightness in your body? always feeling tired and want more brain power? do you have a special occasion coming up and you need to loose weight? simply curious about why so many people are turning to plant based lifestyles and want to try it out for yourself? suddenly became aware of animal suffering and environmental damage and want to make a change? whatever the motive is, always remember it, and remind yourself about it when you wake up in the morning, whenever you want to give up on it, and before you go to bed (this last one is powerful as it will set your mind to it for the following day and keep you excited. Before we go to bed, we are usually in a mental state that allows more thoughts to be absorbed by the subconscious mind, so how we go to bed is very often how we wake up the following day).
4. DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF- IT'S OK TO GIVE IN FROM TIME TO TIME
Want it? Eat it! Old habits die hard. Never EVER beat yourself up for cheating on the plan. If you cheat, just enjoy it and get back on track immediately after. Don’t be hard on yourself or you will give up and mentally set yourself up for failure each time you try it again. Of course it's so much easier to just get a take away and warm it up at home, we all do sometimes!! You might even have thoughts like "Gosh I’m feeling a little down today, I am just going to get a bar of chocolate or I wont make it through the day". Yep!! it’s going to happen. It always does at the beginning, and it will happen for as long as it needs to, so just laugh and enjoy the feeling of being naughty. Then though, tell your mind that you really need a nutritious smoothie, a salad or something healthy. Do not allow this to be the thing that sets off the domino effect, causing a chain reaction of habits that then makes you feel helpless. Remember to allow yourself to slip but also to always be in control. You are in control of allowing that naughty meal and you are also in control of getting back on track as soon as you have enjoyed and laughed about it. A little mental strength is required, but also understanding that you are human and you are doing the best you can. Habits are habits and it takes time and time again of conditioning yourself to acknowledge those voices in your head and still do what you know is right in order to create a new habit.
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF
Most people I know who have transitioned to a healthier lifestyle and stuck with it always have a story to tell, whether it's a documentary that has changed their life, a health condition, even a health condition of a friend, relative or someone they follow on social media. These people have recovered from their condition by using the purest medicine around, the power of plants. So I strongly suggest, if you are serious about long-term change, do some research about processed and refined foods, also about animal products, sugar, fizzy drinks and watch documentaries. This will make it easier for you to resist the cravings and the journey will be a lot lighter. You will also find yourself educating and becoming an example for others and you will notice your behaviour around food changing.