As we all know, January is the usually the time of year when 99.9% of the population thinks "Oh crap! I've been eating crap for a month and feel horrible!" Then we all start making resolutions about exercising and eating healthy.
Then a few days or weeks go by and, for some, things get hard. The healthy train wants to leave the station, without most of us on it.
I try to eat healthy all year-round, but I will admit that the holidays are hard. My moderation gauge gets thrown out the window. But you know what annoys me to no end? When people start complaining about how hard it is to eat healthy, they can't lose weight, blah blah blah. I'm sitting here thinking "but it's only been a few weeks...lifestyle changes cannot be done in just a few weeks!"
So here are some of my tips for eating healthier and staying on track:
1. Commit to making healthier choices - this seems like the most obvious one, but can be difficult. Baby steps people. Instead of fries with your sandwich, ask the waiter if you can have a side salad. Choose grilled over fried. Baby steps.
2. Keep a journal - I try to log all my food into Myfitnesspal.com. It helps to keep me accountable and on track. You could also use a paper journal. But just seeing what I've eaten for the day, and how many calories I have left, usually helps to make better choices.
3. Pack a lunch - I know this takes some planning and effort, but home made food is always better than just grabbing something from the convenience store or a fast food chain.
4. Pack snacks - I bring a morning snack and an afternoon snack to work every day. It helps to stave off the ravenous feeling I get if I don't eat, and then I tend not to overindulge on lunch or dinner. It's usually just something small like a banana, string cheese, a handful of almonds, etc. This also keeps me from going to the vending machine for chips or a candy bar.
5. Meal plan - You don't have to get all crazy like I do in my grocery shopping process, but spending 10-20 minutes to make a shopping list and have specific meals in mind keeps us from making poor choices and saves us money. It's so simple to make a plan for the week if you take a few minutes to think about what you have going on in the upcoming week, how much time you may have, and then build a plan based on that. Don't plan to make a super complicated dish on a night where you have 12 commitments already. Make that a crock pot night! Knowing I have something at home waiting for me in the crock pot keeps me from hitting up the drive-thru in between errands.
6. Low Expectations - Don't expect huge changes over night. Yes, lifestyle changes are hard. Yes, I still struggle with making poor choices (like eating every carb in sight last night), but making small changes now eventually becomes habit. Also? I don't guilt myself or complain about it when I do make poor eating choices. The next day is always a fresh start!
P.S. It doesn't have to be all quinoa and kale for life. You can make room for occasional chips and brownies too. But by making healthier choices all day long, then indulging in a brownie isn't so bad. Or better yet: make your own brownies like these from Skinnytaste.com that use healthy ingredients and are low calorie. It's win-win!
What kind of healthy choices do you make? What's one of your indulgences? Mine is chocolate!