In the initial stages of adopting the Paleo diet or simply making changes to the diet that are required because of a particular health condition, one of the most difficult challenges people face is remaining committed to, or in some cases, becoming motivated to make the change. When you become passionate about your diet (or anything else), you become unstoppable. No challenge, roadblock, social pressure, craving, etc. will be big enough to break your commitment.
Passion is described in Wikipedia as “a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something.” So in this situation, we could say it is an eager interest or enthusiastic enjoyment of an activity.
When we have passion for anything, be it our work, a hobby, life, a cause, our diet, or what have you, it helps motivate us to engage in the particular action or behavior. You will be willing to invest the time and energy that is needed to achieve the goal and enjoy doing so.
The following steps can help you cultivate the passion you need to stay committed to a healthy diet.
1. See it as a Gift
Do not allow yourself to look at the need to change your diet as if you are being deprived or forbidden to indulge in delicious treats. Reframe the way you think about the sugar, carbs, grains, caffeine, legumes, chocolate, etc., refer to them as toxins, drugs, and poisons, that are destructive to your mental and physical health, because that is the reality of the circumstance.
You aren’t really losing anything except a bunch of substances that cause insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, addiction, microbial overgrowth, and more. You are better off in the long run without them.
What you are learning about your diet is an incredible gift that can help you reach a higher level of health, improve the quality of your life, and maybe even increase your life expectancy. Be grateful and appreciative for the knowledge you have acquired and the new path you are following.
2. Engage in the Activity
Get busy making the changes in diet you need to make, whether you want to or not. At first, you may not be enthusiastic, so you may have to make a concerted effort. Part of building passion is about creating a habit. You have to get in the habit of eating the way that you should. The more often we engage in a habit the stronger it becomes, then eventually the habit will become the normal way of doing things.
Instead of focusing on how hard it is to make changes in your diet, focus on what you can do to achieve the goal. Keep your attention on preparation, planning, experimenting in the kitchen, the things you can still enjoy, how this will benefit you, etc. Get the bad food out of the house and keep it out, and bring in the good.
3. Educate Yourself
Learn everything you can about the impact of diet on any health condition you may have and your mental and physical health, Paleo diet principles, Primal living, etc.
Read books, join a Facebook group, take a class, visit websites, and spend time with others who share a passion for the Paleo diet or Primal living. Do this on an ongoing basis, so you’re always getting the most up-to-date information.
Additionally, remaining committed to your diet requires that you change the way you think and changing the way you think requires that you fill your head with the new information. In order to integrate this information into who you are, your new way of thinking must be reinforced over and over. By continually learning you will reinforce the message.
4. Be Forgiving
If you have a setback, don’t beat yourself up. Just start over again where you left off. The consequences you experience when you make a mistake or give into temptation for bad food will motivate you to get back on track. Reflect on what and how it happened and make a plan to prevent it from happening again.
It may take a little time to cultivate passion for healthier eating and your new Paleo principles, but once you begin to see improvement in your symptoms and you begin to feel better physically and emotionally, this will throw fuel on your passion, which will then motivate you to remain more committed, consequently leading you to become more passionate, thus creating a positive feedback loop.
“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived?”
~ T. Alan Armstrong