Things that happen when you overhaul your diet

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Starting a new year often gets us thinking about our bodies and our diets. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, want to kick your sugar addiction or you’re simply hoping to wake up in the morning with a bit more energy, there are loads of reasons to overhaul your eating habits.

If you’re looking for inspiration at any age, too, check out UK TV personality Simon Cowell, who has revealed he’s practically gone vegan. The 61-year-old confirmed he’s focusing on his health after suffering a fall in 2017, and “hasn’t looked back” since making the switch to plant-based living.

“I cut out a lot of the stuff I shouldn’t have been eating and that was primarily meat, dairy, wheat, sugar – those were the four main things,” he said.

“I loved those comfort foods, that’s all I’ve eaten all my life. I love jam tarts, hamburgers, spaghetti bolognese. I can eat fish, but this year I will go the whole way.”

While we all know that making healthy changes to your lifestyle is a good thing – like getting five portions of fruit and veg per day – we also know that giving up the bad stuff can be ludicrously hard.

If you’re thinking of switching things up in 2021 (and we always recommend you speak to a doctor or registered dietitian beforehand), here are some of the emotions you should be prepared to feel.

1. The honeymoon phase ends pretty quickly
The first day you swap your usual bacon sarnie for a virtuous bircher muesli bowl, you’ll feel practically saint-like. The old you would have already been onto your second coffee by now, too, but the new you is determined to stay energised by willpower and motivational quotes.

Two weeks later, though, and it’s a different story – you’re internally screaming ‘Just let me live!’ as you crunch on your umpteenth bowl of cold oats and pretend you’re enjoying frothy lattes, cheeseburgers and chocolate.

2. Speaking of chocolate, you’ll really miss it

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… and cheese, doughnuts, biscuits and cake, too. Afternoons at your desk that used to be spent snacking on sweet treats are now incredibly tedious. Sure, everyone else is super impressed that you’re casually chomping on cashew nuts, but it’s taking every ounce of your willpower not to withdraw your pay cheque and rinse it all on the office vending machine.

3. Night-time cravings are a real thing

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Whether it’s a glass of vino or a mountain of tiramisu, an evening catching up on the latest TV becomes a battle with your brain to not give in to your internal cravings. With all the hard work you’ve done so far, you deserve a cheat day, right?

4. Everyone will have an opinion on your new diet
‘Bananas are bad for you’, ‘Carbs are the devil’ – there’s some pretty dodgy diet advice out there, and once you reveal you’re having an overhaul, everyone will have something to say about it. Try to cut out the noise and always stick to smart food rules from a registered dietitian – above all, don’t be tempted to give in to fad diet advice.

5. If you push through the first month, you’ll feel pretty great about yourself
It’s a tough road, but you’ve made it through the worst days. You’re glowing with pride at how far you’ve come, and you even ask yourself why it took you so long to get started. Who knew you had such amazing mental strength?

6. Noticing the results is pretty incredible

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Whether it’s clearer skin from drinking more water, or dropping a few extra kilos by cutting out unnecessary snacking, seeing the fruits of your labour makes those evenings of tedious meal prep all feel worth it. Heck, you’re even tempted to join a gym, cut out the booze and take up meditation. It’s a whole new you. Now, where did you put those cashew nuts …

Are you trying to change your eating habits this year? Do you get night-time cravings?

– With PA

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