From my years of working to assist people (including myself) with weight loss, I have learned some very important things about how to “stick” to an eating plan. I want to share with you a few of the most helpful ideas I have come across.
Clean House:What I mean by this is go through your kitchen and remove high-fat, high-calories items and anything that you do not need that may become a temptation for you to stray from your plan. I suggest getting rid of butter, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, and replacing it (if you need to) with a lower fat/calorie brand. Take out the cookies, ice cream, candy (no, the kids don’t need it…), and any other “favorite” food that may be too tempting. I am not saying that you can never eat these things, just don’t have them in the house.
Stop and Think: Do you know how much (or little) you eat in a given day? You may be surprised. Many people eat when they are not even hungry, and they don’t even know it. When you want something to eat, take a moment to decide if you really want that particular thing. You may find that you aren’t hungry after all (and that you saved 100’s of calories).
Avoid Deprivation: If you really want an ice cream cone, have one. Get in your car, or better yet…walk to the ice cream store and get one. How much would you have had if you had a 1/2 gallon sitting in your freezer? One scoop of ice cream may be nothing in comparison. The point is: Have what you want, but don’t make it too easy to get. Remember: Deprivation leads to bingeing. Don’t deprive yourself of something that you really want and don’t let yourself crave something for too long.
If you “cheat”…: What happens if you “go off” your eating plan for a meal or a day? Do you jump right back on your good eating plan, or do you beat yourself up and say things like “forget it” and “this won’t work” and go back to old habits? It is very important to be realistic about “diets”. A diet is temporary. A good eating plan is something that you can always do and it should include you favorite foods, if only occasionally. So if you find yourself over eating one day, go right back to your new eating plan NOW, not tomorrow and not next Monday.
Exercise: Working out not only burns calories, tones muscles, and increases your metabolism, it also can help relieve depression and even suppress appetite. Take an aerobics class, walk, jog, roller skate, lift weights, or swim for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times per week. What is the best exercise? The one you enjoy and will do on a regular basis.
If you have many years of poor eating habits, do not get discouraged if it takes a while to create new ones. Changing takes time, effort, and practice. Don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen!