By Matt O'Neill, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD
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Knowing the normal stages of dieting can help you feel better about the progress you are making. After reading the stages below, circle the number that best describes where you are right now.
1. I don't want to change my diet and I'm not planning to
You probably don't see a need to improve your diet or you haven't established important reasons to change what you are doing. Consider how your weight and health will suffer if you don't make changes now.
2. I'm thinking about changing my diet
You know why you want to make changes but you haven't started, either because you don't have a plan or are dwelling on what you'll have to give up. At this stage, list the benefits of a better diet and commit to a date to start your diet.
3. I've started to change my diet
Well done! Now you need to make healthier food choices, easier choices. Make specific plans for how you'll eat well at home, work or at social events.
4. I eat healthy foods because I know it will help me manage my weight
You've made some positive changes, but it still takes some effort to counter old habits and cravings. Focusing on your goals and accepting occasional slip ups ensures that you are successful.
5. I enjoy healthy foods. They taste better and it's becoming a habit
Your taste buds are now on your side. Fatty or sugary foods are now a turn-off. Your new healthy habits are working for you most of the time.
6. Healthy eating is now automatic for me and part of my new lifestyle
You may wonder how you ate what you did before you started eating better. You choose healthy foods without feeling deprived and it doesn't feel like a diet.
7. I obsess about eating well
You're too serious about counting calories and you find it hard to enjoy food. It's helpful to reassess your habits and goals to see whether they are working for you or against you.
What stage are you at?
Moving forward through the first six stages is normal and can take time. It's also normal to experience slip-ups and have days when you feel you've gone back a stage or two.
If you feel you've reached stage seven, try to go easy on yourself and even ask for help. Remember, transforming your eating habits is about progress, not perfection.
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