4 Steps to a Sustainable Lifestyle Change

Integrative Health & Wellness

Six months ago, I embarked on a path that is literally changing and transforming my life. I became a Vegan. Not because I had family and friends persuading me to convert, or because it was the latest and greatest fad. I chose to transition because it was the best decision for me and my health. I did the yo-yo dieting, the latest and greatest fads, and even tried various nutritional lifestyles. While I did lose weight on most of them, nothing seemed to be sustainable for me.

In looking back, I realized that I was going about this thing the wrong way. First of all, I wasn’t looking at it from a holistic perspective. So I wasn’t taking into account how my mental and emotional stress was impacting my health. I ate decent, most of the time, and I exercised moderately, but when I became stressed I would go into starvation mode, focused and not eating or moving for hours and hours at a time. My cortisol was through the roof and my body was holding on to everything I ate good or bad. I was an individual but trying to fix my weight issues with a cookie-cutter approach. Over the past few years, I’ve taken a step back and really gotten in tune with myself and my health, and now I want to share with you how I have been able to consistently stick with my vegan journey. Note this is not a plug to convert you to vegan, but it is a way for you to sustainably achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

The first thing I did was learn how to be in tune with myself and my health, and might I add this is a continuous process. I journaled my food, my moods, actions, and discovered my stress triggers in the process. I began to research and explore the various nutritional lifestyles to see which might be a good fit for me. I even did a test drive on a few of them to see just how much of a fit they were or were not. But when I decided to go vegan something was different. I found myself researching in a way I hadn’t done before. I researched not only what you could and could not eat, but I began to research how to make my favorite dishes with vegan substitutes. While I researched, I courted vegan by sampling vegan foods.

After completing my research and realizing this was the best option for me, I began to make a plan. I decided rather than jump in with both feet, as I had done with previous attempts at nutritional lifestyle changes, I would convert in phases. See jumping in with both feet often led me to crash and burn, because the moment I would misstep or fall off the wagon it was so hard to get back on track. So this time, I was going to take my time and give myself permission and room to make mistakes. I called this phase, “The Road to Vegan,” and I gave myself six months to fully convert. During this phase, I set a plan to phase out different non-vegan foods each month. I also did a full body detox close toward the end of this phase to help reset my body and taste buds. Man, this took so much pressure off the process for me and allowed me time to really embrace this new lifestyle.

Thanksgiving rolled around and as my mom and I prepared family dinner, I looked over at her and said, “This is my last meal like this. Christmas I will be eating my first vegan holiday meal.” Sure enough, a couple days later I woke up and said that’s it, today I commit to full vegan from this point on. And guess what, it didn’t take me the full six months to convert. Because of my research and planning, I was able to organically flow right on into this new lifestyle, and have been walking in it consistently for six months now, and I’m loving it.

But don’t let the smooth taste fool you, it takes effort, and I’ve had to make some additional adjustments along the way. There were foods that I was eating and didn’t even realize the hidden ingredients in them. But when I find that I have been eating something that doesn’t fall within the lifestyle, I don’t quit. I simply remove it from my diet and keep it moving. My overall holistic health is improving, the scale is going down, and I feel great! The one thing I constantly remind myself of is this is a marathon, not a sprint. So if you’re trying to make a lifestyle change and looking for sustainability, remember the key steps: Research, Plan, Execute, and Adjust.

As always, I thank you for stopping by. Remember today is a great day to make a difference in the lives of those around you. Until next time…

Be Safe & Be Well,
T. Lynn Tate
The Wholeness Coach