Stage 2: Healthy Diet Habits Overview

Admit it. You’re jealous - or at least a little envious. Weight loss and healthy living seem to come so naturally to some people and you want to know their secrets. It doesn’t seem quite fair that staying fit and active should be so easy for those lucky few while you’re struggling to figure it out.

Even through that little bit of “green-eyed” frustration, you’ve seen a basic truth - it is easier for some people. It feels natural to them. That’s not to say that health and fitness don’t require effort and thought. You don’t live a healthy lifestyle by accident. But there’s really no mystery to it; a healthy lifestyle can come easily to anyone if built the right way.

It’s more natural for some because healthy decisions and actions have become a natural part of their lifestyles. Good fitness, nutrition, and motivation aren’t disruptions to their normal routines or crash courses they try for a while and then drop. Instead, they are ingrained habits. Healthy habits can become as natural to your life as brushing your teeth, locking your doors, or wearing black on a Saturday night. When that happens, you’ll have your best shot at losing the weight and keeping it off for good this time. The building blocks of a naturally healthy lifestyle are exactly what you’re going to start assembling in the 6-week Healthy Diet Habits stage.

Now here’s the bad news: once you adopt these habits, once you start to build a healthy lifestyle, you can never go back to the way things were. Wait…that’s actually good news. It’s good news because it highlights a common problem with deprivation diets and programs that require major changes. Sure, they may help you lose weight in the short-term. But once the weight is lost, then what? Are you supposed to “do without” or “do too much” for the rest of your life? 95 times out of 100 (the current diet failure rate), people can’t keep it up. Without something to sustain the momentum or effort, they slip back into old habits. And, surprise, the weight comes back.

To do things differently this time, you’ll need a long-term solution instead. You’ll need a way to change your lifestyle for good without being tempted to go back. That’s right - Healthy Habits.

Role of Healthy Diet Habits

Yo-yoing weight loss happens like a sledgehammer. Huge swings seem to make a lot of progress but actually do a lot of damage. Healthy, lasting weight loss happens like a chisel. Every decision, every action is one chip closer to a lifestyle masterpiece that looks exactly how you want it to.

The Healthy Diet Habits stage will help you chisel away at the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. It contains six simple changes you can make in your life that really add up to something special. If you pick up these six habits - and if they stick around - we can almost guarantee that you’ll reach your goals.

This Stage has three main purposes:
  • Accelerate your weight loss. Anywhere from 1-2 pounds per week should be considered good, healthy progress.
  • Build a collection of good habits that will stick for the long haul. Following these habits and meeting your calorie goals will get you to your ultimate goal.
  • Make gradual changes to your everyday life to move closer to a healthy lifestyle.

What you can expect

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you start to really get things done. You might be thinking, “Are you talking about checklists and to-do lists? No thanks. I already have too much of that.” Don’t worry. Successful weight loss is mostly about building and breaking habits, not giving yourself more work to do. If you can develop habits that fit into your life, you’ll succeed. It’s that simple.

Over the next six weeks, you’ll learn six simple healthy habits that form the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. You’ll be introduced to a new habit each week, focus on it strongly for that week, then carry on with yet another dieting weapon in your back pocket.

Just reading about habits is like reading about how to drive a car or wrestle an alligator. The only way to really understand how it’s done is to see those habits in action. So each week, you’ll also be given specific Action Steps to carry out that week’s habit. By taking these Action Steps, you’ll have first-hand experience with your new habits and start to see how small changes add up.

Each habit is designed to help you meet your calorie goals. This is very important in Stage 2. To succeed, the best habit you can adopt for the next six weeks is to meet or beat your calorie goals every day. In Stage 1, you were using the Meal Planner and Nutrition Tracker as practice tools to get acclimated. Now you’ll be using those same tools every day or every week to create a meal plan to stick with. While 100% success may not happen, the habit of trying will stick around and have lasting impact.

Overall, the Healthy Diet Habits stage is more intensive than the Fast Break stage. That’s why it was so important to build plenty of momentum in the first two weeks and hit this stage with some wins under your belt, so you’re free to concentrate on calories. While you meet your calorie goals, your habit-building Action Steps and articles will help you carry that momentum through and build on it even more.

6 Healthy Diet Habits

Food Portion Control
Food Portion Control Food Portion Control
Portion sizes have grown right along with waistlines. Coincidence? Find out why joining the Clean Plate Club isnít a good idea.

Eat The Right Stuff
Eat The Right Stuff Eat The Right Stuff
Whatís good? Whatís bad? Amid the confusion, there are still some basic nutritional truths that put you on the right path.

Exercise Consistency
Exercise Consistency Exercise Consistency
The other (underestimated) half of the calorie equation. Find out how to boost your diet with some simple, steady activity.

Drink Water
Drink Water Drink Water
Sounds simple, but it could be the habit that makes all the difference this time. Itís easy to get what you need if you know how.

Eat On Purpose
Eat On Purpose Eat On Purpose
Question: How much weight gain is due to not paying attention or eating for the wrong reasons? Answer: A lot! Hereís how to regain control.

Find Unexpected Opportunities
Find Unexpected Opportunities Find Unexpected Opportunities
Thereís a right time (anytime) and a right place (anyplace) for exercise and eating right. Get in the habit of saving time and spending it wisely.

Common Sense Behind Healthy Diet Habits

Why do many diet plans fail? Because they’re too disruptive. They turn your life upside down, make it impossible to eat in your favorite restaurants, and encourage extreme eating behavior. And, as followers of the low-carb craze are finding, sticking with some plans can make your pocketbook lose weight faster than you do. Who’s going to stick with diet plans that are often more of a hassle than an IRS audit?

That’s why the Healthy Diet Habits stage lets you keep it simple, start small, and build a few habits at a time. With a full week to devote to each habit, you have time to work the habit into your regular life without a lot of distraction, trouble or pressure. If you’re building a fire, and try to put all the logs on at once, you just end up with a pile of logs that may or may not burn. Build it one log at a time instead, and you have a nice sturdy, long-lasting foundation. With this weekly format, you have the freedom to build a little at a time.

Good food choices are important now, but the reasons behind the decisions are more important than the actual foods. Plus, you get to make the choices within your calorie and nutritional guidelines.

Rather than playing “food police,” the SparkDiet concentrates on the principles of balance, moderation and consistency. With these in your diet, you can’t go wrong. It may all sound like something a kindly grandmother might say, but you can’t argue with results. It has been proven over and over (and over!) again that fads and deprivation diets aren’t going to bring you a healthy lifestyle and lasting weight loss. Common sense will.

How to Approach Healthy Diet Habits

This is a very key stage in the SparkDiet. Do it right and you’re well on your way to changing your life.

If you’re ever going to be consistent about your goals – especially your calorie goals – this is the time to do it. In fact, while you’re achieving new highs in consistency, try to track your progress as much as possible through the Nutrition Tracker. Consistency in action and consistency in tracking can carry you straight toward a breakthrough. Every regular step you take in that direction is one step closer to “wowing” people.

While you take it one habit at a time, remember to carry all of your new habits with you as you go through the stage. Continue to practice all six Healthy Habits; dropping them will only lead back to the Land of the Unhealthy Lifestyle. When you come out the other side, you’ll have an arsenal of habits that can get you through the toughest times and the sweetest temptations.

And, finally, it can still be fun! Mix things up during this stage and be creative. Try eating a different-colored veggie each day. Try using applesauce in your smoothie. Play tennis for the first time. “Habit” can mean much more than “routine” if you give yourself plenty of options.

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