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Are you making these diet mistakes?

New year, new you. It’s not just the start of a new year. It’s the start of a new decade and resolutions are at an all-time high.

Chances are, some of your goals for this year are health-focused. You might aim to comfortably fit into your clothes again, hit the gym a set number of times per week, and find confidence through a positive self-image.

As a health coach, it’s my role to help you navigate through becoming a healthier version of yourself. After working with hundreds of clients, both in an individual and group capacity, I’ve picked up on a few patterns that most often leads to burnout.

Calling healthy changes a “diet”. Yes, the word is in the title, but how else was I going to get your attention? Translating healthy changes as a diet gives the impression that there is a start and finish, and everything in between is going to be downright miserable. Instead of a diet, how about we call it an “upgrade”. By replacing a negative connotation with a positive one it can help lessen the resistance you’re feeling even before getting started.

Creating a good or bad list. At the end of the day, food is just food. Some will make you feel energized, and some of it will make you feel sluggish. Taking the words “good” and “bad” out of the equation can help strip the emotion from food decisions. For example, when you fill up on a lot of “good” foods, you might experience self-sabotage in rewarding yourself with a “bad” food. On the other hand, having a food on the “bad” list can lead to unnecessary guilt. Tune into how foods make you feel and lean into those that help you feel your best.

Going too fast, too soon. Where are my overachievers at? It might feel good to come up with a long list of goals that you are going to tackle starting tomorrow, but the chances of them actually sticking around are slim. Change requires a period of adjustment. I always recommend building on small goals over time versus taking an overnight overhaul approach to prevent burnout along the way.

Focusing on the numbers (too much).
Yes, calories are important in maintaining a healthy weight, but the road doesn’t stop there. What makes up the calories can make or break how your body responds to the foods you are eating. During grocery store tours, I often encourage clients to look at the ingredient list, first, to see if they can recognize and pronounce the foods listed. If yes, the nutrition label will likely reflect the quality of ingredients, providing a nice balance of protein, healthy fats and fiber.

Becoming defined by progress
. Achieving the goals set for yourself is most often a mental challenge more than a physical one. Depending on what these goals are, it can be easy to feel frustrated when they aren’t being met in the timeline desired. This frustration can lead to feelings of failure and not being good enough – identities that start to characterize how you view yourself. I believe that the effort put in matters more than the actual outcome. This is where the real change happens.

I wish you the best of luck in 2020 and in your health goals moving forward!

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