When to Start a New Diet

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Ever wonder when you should start a new diet (aka, your way of eating)… whether it’s a cleanse, detox, fast, elimination diet or permanent change? As with many situations, the answer is: It depends.

If I am doing a cleanse for a set period of time, say 3 or 4 weeks, I personally like to start on Saturday. The reason is that I get to finish on a Friday and enjoy the weekend that starts the day after I am done. Whereas, if I know I am wrapping up those last 2 days, I don’t particularly want to be thinking about it all weekend long.

On the other hand, some people like to start on a Monday. There are at least a few “pros” to this approach.

  1. It gives you the weekend to prepare (ie, go grocery shopping, get your snacks together, chop veggies, and do other meal prep for the work/school week).
  2. Some experts say that starting a new habit on a regularly scheduled day is easier as you make the new way of eating part of your “regular programming.”

However, any day of the week might be the right one for you, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For example, a woman once told me that she likes to start her yearly, week-long water-only fast on Friday. Her reasoning was that days 2 and 3 are the hardest, when the body is really cleaning out some built up toxins and she felt especially tired/grouchy/hungry. Having those days be Saturday and Sunday allowed her to sleep through the discomfort without having to worry about productivity at work.

The bottom line is that successfully making a significant dietary change (whether temporary or permanent) requires planning. Think about how the change will impact your life. Then set yourself up for success by making the change at a time that best fits your lifestyle and preferences.

For my elimination diet, I have decided to start on Monday, January 5. Even though I usually like to start on the weekend, there are 3 reasons for this choice…

  1. I have never done this particular program before and want to be sure I am well prepared.
  2. I am pretty sure I won’t want to get myself prepared on New Year’s Eve or Day, so I’m not going to rush it in order to be ready on January 3rd.
  3. I suspect at least some of the things I eliminate will be gone from my diet permanently (ie, I will have a reaction during the reintroduction phase), so there’s no “end line”, as it were.

(Note: If you are considering making a significant dietary change and are unsure how it fits with your current health, please consult with a healthcare professional.)

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