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It's not hard to start eating more healthfully, especially once you understand the clear benefits of avoiding meat and dairy products and consuming a low-fat, plant-based diet. But does your motivation ever slip? If so, how do you stick with your healthy new eating habits?
One tip: Focus on the most meaningful reasons to stick to your new way of eating. The key is to figure out what motivates you the most.
Here are some ways to keep on track:
- Explore new foods. One of the most exciting aspects of adopting a new eating style is finding new and different foods to try. Discover new ethnic restaurants, get a new cookbook at the library, or explore a specialty foods store. Or explore our Recipe Database. Keeping your taste buds happy will encourage you to continue with your plan.
- Think short term. Keep your goals in doable short-term increments. Focus on one to two weeks at a time or, if necessary, one day at a time. Feel good about the healthy choices you made at the last meal instead of dwelling on the slip you made at the party last week.
- Get a family member or friend to join you. Sharing health goals with families and friends can be extremely motivating. If everyone agrees to keep healthy foods around the house—such as fruits, vegetables, pita and hummus, soymilk, and nuts—you will not feel tempted to snack on the unhealthy foods you used to eat. And at restaurants, you will motivate each other to order delicious plant-based meals because you share a common goal.
- Track your weight loss. By eating healthy, high-fiber vegetarian foods and cutting out fatty, high-calorie foods such as meat and dairy products, you are likely to lose unwanted pounds. That's a powerful motivation!
- Notice other health improvements. Adopting a low-fat vegetarian diet usually leads to better health. Some of these improvements include lower blood pressure and better cholesterol levels. Other changes, such as feeling better overall and having more energy, will be noticeable only to you.
- Think of what you've gained. You're on your way to a happier, healthier life, with increased energy and reduced risk of serious diseases, including cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. As a result, you'll have more time, money, and energy to devote to the people and activities closest to you.