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Just the word “diet” used to make me cringe. Over the past ten years, I’ve tried way too many of them. The 4 hour body diet, “paleo” diet, low carb, candida cleanse, sugar free cleanse, water fast, fruit fast and the master cleanse to name a few.

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And guess what? I failed every single time! I had success for a little while but I always went right back to the way I was before. Sometimes I even gained more weight back which frustrated me even more. The repeated failures and harsh self-talk caused me a great deal of emotional and physical pain.

Over time, I studied myself and my habits and have since comprised my own recipe for making successful dietary changes. Since using these tips below, I’ve accomplished multiple dietary, physical, mental and emotional goals that I wouldn’t have dreamed that I’d ever be able to do. I’ve lost 30 pounds, eat clean and really have learned to respect my body and be patient with it. Below I’ve listed 4 ways to gently and successfully make a dietary change:

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  1. If you’re cutting out a food (i.e. coffee, sugar, meat, chocolate) become aware of how much that food item is affecting your life. Take note of your cravings, how often you’re eating it and how you feel before you eat it and after.
  2. Cut down your intake of that food by 1-2 portions. For example, if you’re looking at removing red meat from your diet and you have it twice per week, try cutting down to one portion per week. If you have coffee twice per day, cut down to once per day.
  3. Replace that meal with something else that you enjoy and is healthy for you. For example. If you’re cutting out red meat, replace it with a delicious chicken recipe that you enjoy making and eating. If you’re cutting out ice cream, replace it with a tasty Greek yogurt parfait or another healthier dessert option.
  4. Finally, if you do not intend on cutting out that particular food entirely, make it as healthy as possible. For example, if you intend to drink coffee 3 times per week, make it an organic, decaf coffee. Or if you intend to eat red meat twice per month then eat organic, grass fed beef.

These are simple ways to help wean you off of food items that are so much more addictive than we realize. Did you know that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine? If that’s the case, how the heck can you expect yourself to give it up in one go? You want to try to make the process as easy and as enjoyable for you as possible. That way, it takes less effort and you stick to the change until it becomes a habit. If you make the change slowly and consciously instead of using force, you also allow yourself to go at your own pace instead of expecting your cravings to resolve overnight. I’ve found a lot of success using these tips and I hope you will do.

How do you stick to your resolutions? Leave them in the comment section below!

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