Sticking to a vegan or vegetarian diet can be hard for some people. I often hear people say that they were vegetarian or vegan at one time or have tried to go vegetarian but can't seem to maintain it. We all encounter trouble spots that can lead us off track. Here are seven steps you can take to help you overcome those trouble spots so that you can successfully maintain your healthy diet.
1. Educate yourself about why eating vegetarianism is important. Read books, watch videos, visit websites to arm yourself with the knowledge that can be powerful motivation to fight cravings. Review the material from time to time to bolster your resolve. Here are the books and videos Dr. Opare and I recommend.
2. Start and maintain a food journal. This journal will help you identify patterns and triggers that can and may lead you to succumb to temptation. You can find instructions for doing a food journal here.
3. Recognize the addictive nature of unhealthy food. Cooked food, animal products, and processed food are all addictive. This means that thinking you can just eat a little and it wont hurt you will likely lead to eating even more of it. Learn about the relapse process and how to prevent or stop it.
4. Get the skills, tools and techniques you need. If you can't make food that is satisfying, you are not likely to stick with it. Making tasty vegan and raw food is not difficult but it may require new skills, techniques and tools. Take time to research and learn. Make space in your budget to add tools and ingredients to your kitchen. You don't need to do it all at once. Gradually add the things you will need.
5. Develop a plan for the trouble spots. Think about what has or is likely to be a trigger, or situations that you are likely to be tempted to stray from your goal of eating healthy. Decide ahead of time what you can do to pass through these times without getting off track.
6. Find community. It can be hard to stick with something if you are the only one you know who is doing it. Make an effort to connect with other vegetarians. If finding other black vegetarians in your area is difficult look on-line for communities such as this one here at Food For The Soul or find folks on Facebook. Connect with a Black Vegetarian Society near you or even one further away if needed.
7. Don't give up. We all slip up to some degree once in a while. Don't take a slip up as a sign you have failed. Use it as a learning experience. Journal about what happened. What led up to your slip? Create a plan to deal with similar situations. Ask for support from others. Get back up and get back to doing what you know is right.
You can be successful. By educating yourself and planing ahead you can negotiate around the potential problems you may face. For even more help check out the Healthy Eating Success Course.
What helped you? Share your tips below.