Lasting Change on a Wheat-Free Diet

Putting a wheat-free eating plan into action has its challenges, especially when it involves creating new, healthy routines and dropping old, unhealthy ones such as comfort eating. But, no matter how tough it gets, all these obstacles are greatly overshadowed by the change's benefits.

Success at eliminating wheat and sugar from your diet for good and beginning an exercise program that lasts involves more than just a fleeting thought. It requires determination. When you commit to a new behavior, design a wellness vision, set well-written goals, and have an accountability buddy on board, you create an environment that breeds success. Having a sound understanding of the behavior you're changing will move you to action.

Tools for changing your diet

If you're like most people, at some point you've probably started a new healthy behavior with the best of intentions, only to hit one of life's bumps in the road and end up back at square one. Change can be difficult and is seldom comfortable.

So what's the answer to making a change that lasts? By identifying what's most important to you right now and focusing on that motivation, you set yourself up for big-time success. That one thing that's most important to you — whether it's losing weight, looking great for a special occasion, or improving your health — must evoke an emotional response to keep you committed to reaching your vision.

A few tools can really support your change:

  • Stages of Change model: The Stages of Change model helps you identify where you are in the change process and provides techniques to assist you in moving toward lasting change. When you see yourself in a particular stage, structuring your goals accordingly becomes much easier.

  • SMART goals and a wellness vision: Most people set goals flippantly, only to see them fade after a short time. When you set SMART goals, you're much more likely to see your goals through to the end. (SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and timely.)

    Writing a wellness vision and setting wellness goals is a way of taking action for your health, not allowing life to just happen to you. You become more focused, motivated, and attentive to the things in life that matter most to you.

  • An accountability buddy: Finding an accountability buddy has an enormous influence on your commitment to your goals. Making a drastic lifestyle change comes with challenges, whether that's feeling like you need a sugar fix or being tempted to fall back into old routines.

    An accountability buddy — whether it's your spouse, a family member, a friend, or a coworker — looks out for you and holds your feet to the fire when you can't do it on your own.

Exercise your way to the top of the health charts

As an essential piece to the overall health and well-being puzzle, exercise strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles, bones, and joints. In fact, few systems in the body aren't enhanced, strengthened, or improved in some way by exercise.

Exercise has the power not only to improve your health but also to enrich your life and increase your well-being. When you exercise, your thinking, mood, energy, and confidence are all affected for the better. Exercise also helps keep the stress hormone (cortisol) at bay, which aids in stress reduction.

As you age, you become more insulin-resistant to the foods you eat. Exercise allows your cells to be more sensitive to insulin, which decreases your chances of becoming insulin-resistant even as you age. This shift reduces your risk of a whole host of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes.

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