It takes commitment to make the kind of changes called for in a successful cholesterol lowering plan, along with the support of family and friends. One thing that will help is understanding your own risks, for studies show that people are more likely to make a healthy change if they believe it’s relevant to their situation.
Other ways to get on track and stay there:
Shout the news. Tell everyone in your life that you’ve made a new commitment to your health, from eating well to exercising to reducing your stress. Their questions and support will help you remain strong.
Track your progress. There’s no better way to succeed than to see your success. Weekly logs are integral to a lasting plan.
Make a list. Write down all of the reasons you think this won’t work, then prove yourself wrong. For instance, if you think you can’t exercise because you don’t have time, list five ways you can find 30 minutes a day. Try skipping a TV show (or else exercise in front of the tube), dropping a commitment you can do without, or walking during lunch and eating your sandwich at your desk.
Take small steps. Don’t expect to go from 0 to 60 immediately. By making just a few changes at a time, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed — and more likely to succeed.
Set realistic goals. Your goal shouldn’t start as: “Cut out all red meat.” Instead, set a more reasonable goal such as: “Eat no more than one hamburger per week for the first three weeks, then switch to chicken or veggie burgers.” Make your goals very specific, and make a list of steps you need to take to reach them. In the hamburger goal, for instance, your step-by-step to prevent fast-food lunches might look like this:
1. Make a list of three different lunches I can pack.
2. Buy ingredients for lunches at the store.
3. Buy an insulated lunch bag.
4. Pack lunch the night before.