You’ve decided it’s time to lose weight. You’ve set some goals and are determined to switch to healthier eating habits. Congratulations!
You’ve taken the most important steps towards improving your body. Now it’s time to adjust your routine. Here are the top five ways to keep your new goals on track!
1. Plan Meals Ahead
Meal planning is an essential factor of staying on track with your weight loss. I’m sorry to say this, but most restaurants do NOT have your best health interests in mind; they are inventing ways to prepare unhealthy foods that you crave—usually because their recipes depend heavily on salt, sugar, butter and other heavy fats. Preparing your own meals is the only way that you can limit fats, reduce sodium, avoid simple starches, select lean meats, and increase fresh vegetables; all of these adjustments will reduce calories and lead to a slimmer you!
Without meal planning, you may find yourself stressed for time and not knowing what to have for lunch or cook for dinner. Planning meals several days in advance will ensure you are never scrambling around for food and you will always have what you need in your fridge.
2. Make a Grocery List
I discussed the danger of restaurants but don’t assume that the grocery store is safe either! Again, grocery stores want to sell food—whether or not that food is healthy is the customer’s problem. As a rule, if there is a food that you can’t resist, don’t bring it into your home.
The best way to survive your grocery store trips is to come prepared with a pre-made list of healthy items you need and want and don’t stray from the list.
Try organizing your grocery list into categories as you see fit such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, or maybe vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and dairy. If you create a printable grocery list you can just check off what you need each time and add to it as you think of new healthy ideas.
3. Stock Your Fridge
An empty fridge leads to fast food dinners and take out. Your refrigerator should provide you with quick, healthy snacks (low-fat yogurt, or baby carrots, for example), as well as containing the ingredients that you need for your meals. It doesn’t hurt to find some healthy frozen dinners to keep on hand in case of emergency schedule changes; remember that a single fast food meal can easily DOUBLE your daily calorie intake.
Having your meals planned and your grocery list updated as mentioned above will help you keep your fridge stocked full of healthy goodness, allowing you to achieve your weight loss and health goals easier.
4. Mix it Up
Diets have a bad reputation, partly because there’s a stereotype that dieters live on plain salads and rice cakes. Actually, any comfort food or ethnic cuisine can be modified to fit into a healthy diet! For instance, if you love French fries, try dicing a small potato (with the skin) and roasting it with minced garlic. You’re still getting a dose of starch, but you’re gaining fiber, adding the health benefits of garlic, and removing the extra fat and calories involved in deep frying.
I highly recommend looking up some similar healthy recipes for weight loss to keep your diet plan fresh and interesting. If you make your own food using good choices—there’s no end to the variety of foods that you can enjoy!
5. Cheat Once in a While
If you love doughnuts, go ahead and buy one; just stick to no more than one a week. This sort of “cheating” makes your diet about restraint instead of denial. The diet doesn’t control you—you are in control.
You are not condemning yourself to a lifetime of lettuce—you are making healthy, balanced choices, because this makes you look and feel wonderful. Nothing is forbidden; you’re just adjusting your habits. After a few weeks of healthy eating, you’ll be amazed how your interest in bad foods gets smaller and smaller—just like your waistline!
How do you keep your diet on the right track?