September 05, 2012

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I've recently made changes to my diet due to some health issues, but it hasn't been easy to give up my favorite foods and drinks, specifically iced coffee and beer. Yet, I know it's for the best, especially if these adjustments might improve my health.

Whether it's a necessary switch due to an intolerance or health condition, or you just want to begin a better eating routine, changing up your diet is never easy! Here are some things I've kept in mind to make my own transition easier. I hope they work for you too!

Focus on the can instead of the can't
When I first realized I would need to give up a number of the foods I eat on a regular basis, I started to panic a little bit. What would I eat? It seemed like there weren't too many options until I started to focus on all of the foods I could still enjoy. Once I changed my thinking, I started to discover new foods (almond flour and vanilla rooibos iced tea) and remember old ones I hadn't eaten in awhile (dates and cod), and I realized that my new diet wasn't so bad after all. It actually made it kind of fun discovering and trying so many different foods and new recipes.

Stock your kitchen
Once I figured out what I could eat on my new diet, I went grocery shopping and stocked my kitchen so I would always have some healthy food options when I was hungry. Additionally, I tossed all of the foods that didn't fit in my transformed diet, so they were no longer tempting to me. It was tough to say goodbye to some of them, but it made things so much easier when they weren't readily available.

Make healthy foods visible
My new diet includes lots of fresh fruits and veggies, so instead of storing them in the crisper drawers where I can't see them, I keep my produce on the shelves or in large bowls. Whenever I open the refrigerator, looking for a snack, they're the first thing I see. I also keep pre-cut veggies in clear plastic containers, so a quick snack is always ready and waiting. I do the same thing with leftovers, so I can just grab and go. Basically, by giving these healthy, diet-approved foods the most visibility, I’m more likely to reach for them and stick with my new way of eating.

Find delicious alternatives
Giving up my daily glass of iced coffee was easily the hardest part of my new diet. I love iced coffeethe taste, of course, but also the morning ritual of slowly sipping it as a I started my day. Instead of getting upset about not being about to drink it, I found a healthy (and delicious!) alternative. Now, I brew fun flavors of decaf tea and then chill it in the refrigerator overnight, so I can enjoy it as iced tea with a splash of almond milk just like I would with beloved iced coffee. I've been drinking iced tea for a few weeks now, and I actually look forward to my glass every morning.

Think long-term
A lot of people associate the word "diet" with a quick way to drop pounds, but often times the changes that help them lose weight aren't ones they can sustain for the long-term. It's no shocker the pounds come piling back on. The goal of my new diet is to keep me healthy, so I'm choosing foods and making changes that I plan to stick with for a long time. Thinking this way helps make the transition easier because I'm focusing on how these dietary changes can best become part of my lifestyle.

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