Have you tried to gradually transition to a whole food, plant-based diet, but found yourself reverting to old food habits within a short period of time?
If so, you may need a new strategy.
While some people can make incremental changes to their diet and lifestyle that result in significant change over time, this strategy fails most of us.
In this article I am going to share with you the reason gradual changes to your diet are harder than a significant change. I’ll also share why committing to dietary change and going “all-in” increases your chances of successfully going plant-based.
Pitfalls of Incremental Dietary Changes
It seems contrary to what you would expect, but small changes are actually harder to execute than significant change. The problem is two-fold.
The first reason gradual change is harder is that we are wired to choose short-term comfort over long-term benefits. When we make small changes to our diet, the benefits are initially equally small, so they aren’t as noticeable. We don’t really feel the benefits. And if we don’t experience a benefit, then the pain of change will override our motivation.
It often goes like this, “I drank a green juice every day for two weeks (or didn’t eat any chips, or ice cream) and didn’t lose any weight.” So we give up and stop juicing, or find ourselves back at the bottom of a chip bag.
The problem wasn’t that consuming vegetable juices or reducing high-fat foods wasn’t benefiting our body. It definitely was. The problem is that we didn’t see any weight loss or feel any other benefits because the changes weren’t significant enough to see and feel the benefits. So we naturally revert to former eating patterns.
The other reason that small, gradual changes to diet often fail is because these changes don’t require us to get outside our paradigm in any real way.
Here’s how significant change makes going plant-based easier.
Benefits of Going All-In on a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet
When we commit to significant change, our mind is ready for it and the pain of change is often less than when making small changes.
Think about it. If you accept a new job, relocate, start a family, or retire, you are expecting significant changes in nearly all aspects of your routine and lifestyle. You expect things to be very different. When we expect significant change, and accept that things will be different, we anticipate that our actions and experiences will be different. This expectation and acceptance eliminates any thought that the change is optional.
For instance, when you bring an infant into your life, you expect and accept that your daily routine will revolve around caring for your new infant. You anticipate that you will get less sleep for a while. You don’t even consider going back to your old routine. It’s not an option. Your child’s health and well-being is your primary concern.
Similarly, when we commit to adopting a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, we expect there will be significant dietary changes. We’ll have to change what we buy, learn new preparation methods, and adjust to the taste and texture of our new meals. Because we expect and anticipate this, we get down to business and make the changes we need to make. Living a long, healthy life so we can spend time with our children and grandchildren, and enjoy enriching experiences instead of pill bottles and surgeries as we age is so important to our long-term goals that we don’t even consider going back to the Western Diet.
And because we make significant changes to our diet very quickly, we feel the benefits quickly! When we experience more energy, less inflammation and pain, a lighter body, and improved bloodwork, we are motivated to continue. Pretty soon we are enjoying our meals. The old, heavy, oil- and sugar-laden foods aren’t even attractive to us anymore. We have made significant change and are reaping the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.
In my coaching programs, I help clients make a rapid but do-able transition to plant-based eating in just a couple of weeks. Clients quickly notice less joint pain, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increased energy and weight loss.
You deserve a strong, healthy body. Choose significant change, and commit to it.