Strategies For Adhering To A Nutritional Program

Posted on: 11 October 2022


Nutrition programs take a couple of forms. Some are official health and wellness nutrition programs meant to improve nutrition, such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Others are sets of guidelines that people follow to treat a disease or health condition. In both cases, adhering to recommended nutritional guidelines can be difficult. Even with programs like WIC where you're not required to eat only WIC-approved foods, you could find the nutritious foods you can get aren't your favorites. But you can still find ways to stick with the program.

For Immediate Health Issues, Remember What Happens When You Don't Eat Properly

If you've been ordered to follow certain nutritional guidelines because of a health problem that acts up immediately when you stray from the guidelines, create a sense memory of how you feel when you eat something you shouldn't. If you've just been diagnosed with celiac disease, for example, and are tempted to eat a bite of your favorite cake that has gluten in it, call up a memory of how you feel when you eat gluten. You want to make it feel real enough that you automatically shy away from the things you can no longer eat.

Find Something About the Goal That You Really Like

How you react to being part of a nutritional program depends on the effect it's having on your health. Someone with a doctor-ordered nutritional program for a health problem may dislike the restrictions but love the fact that they feel better. Someone taking part in a nutritional program like WIC may dislike some of the recommended foods but be grateful for the added nutrition for their kids. You need to find a reason to like the program. You don't have to like it as a whole or like every little detail. But find something that you can say you like and focus on that. Make the good stuff more important than the bad stuff.

You Need Scripts for Friends, Co-workers, and Family

If you have to follow a particular set of nutritional guidelines, you'll eventually receive pushback from someone. It could be a stranger in a grocery store wondering why you're buying something that isn't covered by WIC, or it could be a co-worker telling you that having a few salty pretzels won't hurt when you've been put on a very low-sodium diet by your doctor. Even family and friends can make remarks about how you don't have to follow this plan exactly just this one time, or about how what you're eating now isn't allowed on the plan you're supposed to be following strictly.

The back-and-forth you get from different people can be frustrating. You need to have some scripts ready to handle these situations, phrases that you memorize and can pull out when needed. What will be the nicest yet most satisfying way to get the person to leave you alone?

Whether the nutritional program is one you follow because of a specific health issue or a general health and wellness program, get ready for changes. Learn to focus on the parts you like so that it is easier to stay with the program.