This first step helps you to focus on what you want to achieve. It helps get you started and keep you on track.
Step 1: Time to get motivated
The first step is to get into the right frame of mind. We know it’s hard to change a life time of eating habits. It’s not easy making changes to what we eat, so getting into the right mindset will help you stick to your goals.
Think about what these changes would mean for your life, what has stopped you before and how you could overcome this. Take your time to think these through.
Have a look at our factsheet for getting motivated and the questions below to help you focus on what’s important to you. Take notes and refer back to these from time to time.
Why do you want to lower your cholesterol?
What difference would that make to you, your family and friends and the way you live your life? Will making a change now have an effect on your future? Why is it so important?
How will you overcome any problems?
What can you or others do to help you overcome the things you find hardest to change? And when things don’t go to plan how will you get yourself back on track? Do you have someone who can help you when times are tough? Why not talk this through with a friend, partner, relative or health professional.
What is stopping you?
What has kept you from making these changes before, what might get in your way? Think about your routines, the way you and your family plan, shop, prepare meals, who might be affected, social occasions, holidays, foods you’ll miss, trigger points for eating.
What changes do I need to make?
Take time to reflect on what, when and why you eat and drink. We have provided a diet diary template below for you to do just that. By writing down what you eat every day you will soon come to recognise areas of your diet that you could change or improve.
Why keep a diet diary?
Before you make any changes it is a good idea to keep a record of what and when you eat and drink, and the reasons for eating (mealtimes, hunger, boredom, pleasure, anger, disappointment...)
It can help you to:
- see exactly what you eat and drink at a glance
- understand why you eat
- identify quick wins
- recognise eating patterns that are not helpful.
Keep it simple by carrying a small notepad and pen with you at all times. You could download one of the many food diary apps now available such as Mynetdiary, Meallogger, My Meal Mate and UK food diary or see how you eat if you prefer.
Try keeping a diet diary for at least 2-3 days, better still a week, before you start to make any changes. Most people find it helpful to continue with their food diary once they start making changes. It can help keep you on track.
Once you have completed your motivational questionnaire and your diet dairy you are ready to move onto Step 2 – building strong foundations.