Does Dieting Make You Anxious?

Here are three tips to help you beat the stress and start eating healthy.

A balanced diet plan with healthy foods on the table.

Let’s face it, change is hard, especially when it comes to changing eating habits. Starting a new diet can be a scary adjustment that comes with a lot of anxiety.

Before starting a new diet, talk with your healthcare provider about potential diets that may be more beneficial. Not all diets are created equal, and you may benefit from one diet plan over another. The guidance from your healthcare provider can help you feel more confident that the selected diet is right for you.

Don’t panic if it’s challenging at first. It can take up to 21 days for your body to adjust to a new healthy habit. During this time, focus on building good habits and set some short- and long-term goals to keep in mind going forward. Good habits take time to develop, so be patient with yourself.

Sticking with a diet plan not only boosts your confidence, but it can have a positive impact on your long-term health. A healthy diet can help reduce the risks of serious conditions and illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Whether you are trying to stick to healthy eating habits or starting a new healthy lifestyle journey, here are three simple tips to help ease your anxiety along the way.

Practice mindfulness

One of the main causes of diet anxiety is focusing too much on the future instead of the present. Instead, try focusing on what you can do today while taking these changes one day at a time. This can make starting a new diet more sustainable and far less overwhelming.

You can practice more mindful eating by removing distractions during mealtimes and opting instead to focus on what you're doing in the moment. This can not only help you develop a healthier relationship with food, but it can also keep you from overeating. By focusing on your meals, you're more likely to choose healthier options and notice when certain foods make you feel uncomfortable or unwell.

Start slow

If your past diets have required you to give up sugar, bread, carbs, and more all at once, then it's easy to see why you had a hard time sticking to it. Diving headfirst and quitting your favorite foods cold turkey can be overwhelming and downright miserable.

Instead of going to extreme measures on day one, making gradual—but consistent—changes over time can make sticking with a healthy lifestyle much easier. Try planning and scheduling your meals in advance to help you adjust to your new lifestyle.

You can also start by shopping for healthier alternatives of your favorite foods and snacks, such as opting for Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, and home-made baked sweet potato slices to curb your cravings for potato chips.

Don’t go it alone

Challenges are much easier to face with a buddy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by making a big lifestyle change alone, ask a friend or family member to be your accountability partner. They can help keep you on track and motivate you to keep going.

Or better yet, invite them to make the diet journey with you. Having someone to empathize with will make these changes feel much less exhausting. You can also visit with local support groups to help you along the way.

Dieting doesn’t have to be terrifying. And you shouldn’t let your brain convince you that you’ll fail out before you even begin. By starting with these tips, you’ll start off on the right foot to losing weight.

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