Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy, especially if you’re in the position where you need to change a lot of your eating habits. Sometimes, it’s easier – and more effective – if you make small changes and build to larger dieting efforts. Even if you’re already dieting, any of these tips you’re not already following can help you improve your results quickly, as well.
Have a Buddy for Accountability and Support
Whenever we need to make hard changes in our lives, it’s best to have a support structure around us. Being around people who are emotionally draining, going to question your dedication to change, or even tempt you to cheat on a diet are going to make it more difficult to lose weight. Having a good friend that will support you and hold you accountable can strengthen your resolve and keep you on track, even when stressors in your life make it hard to want to stick to your plans.
Tune into Your Body’s Cues
It’s all too easy to eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Maybe it’s mindless snacking, maybe it’s binging on sweets because you’ve had a rough day. Or maybe it’s eating too much of your favorite food just because you like it so much. Instead, be mindful of when and how much you’re eating, and pay attention to when you feel hungry or comfortably full.
Drink More Water
Because we’re so likely to eat for reasons other than hunger, we’re also prone to confusing thirst with the sensation for hunger. Drinking more water can help diminish these apparent cravings by giving your body what it needs. Start with just one glass per day, if you need to, and work your way up to the recommended 8 ounces. If it’s hot or humid, you should try to drink more. If you’re having a hard time convincing yourself to drink plain water, try adding a little flavoring, like lemon juice, or opt for seltzer waters that only have flavoring (not sugar) added.
Cook More Often (and Eat Out Less)
Eating out isn’t just more expensive; it also makes it easier to give into temptation and eat foods that are salty, sugary, or high in saturated fats, even when they look healthy on the surface. By its very nature, having to cook your food at home makes you more aware of the ingredients you’re using and what you choose to put on the table. It gives you greater appreciation for the entire process of nutrition and implementing healthy food habits that are also delicious.
Have a Protein-Packed, Savory Breakfast
Protein is incredibly necessary for your metabolism and preventing muscle loss as you age, and often, we don’t get enough protein in our diets. Adding proteins to breakfast will help keep you fuller for longer and improve your energy levels throughout the day. As we mentioned in a recent post, savory meals also have a role to play in managing self-control in terms of food choices and how much to eat. Proteins and savory flavors work well together, and you can make an enjoyable, healthy breakfast.
Eat More Vegetables
You’ve probably heard this tip since you were a kid, but some good advice is universal. What’s more, most Americans aren’t eating enough vegetables at all. Leafy greens in particular are full of antioxidants, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally, both in terms of energy and mood. Remember, these don’t need to be plain to be helpful – try working them into the foods you love to boost the benefits of what you’re already eating.
Don’t Punish Yourself
Remember, change is difficult. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s okay! Punishing yourself raises stress levels, which makes it even harder to focus on your goals and stick to your dietary plans. Cut yourself a little slack and stay positive about the changes you’re making.
That also means you should build in room for treats – no, really. For many people, trying to cut out treats completely ends up leading to unhealthy binge-restrict cycles that are worse for your body in the long run. However, you need to exercise moderation and control when and how you eat those treats. When possible, you can opt for healthier versions of those. For instance, try switching snacking on candies by the bag to a piece or two of dark chocolate after dinner. Instead of a big slice of cake, have a small one. Or if you love ice cream, swap sugar laden, fatty ice creams with low-fat, high-protein options.
Working these tips into your everyday life can change your diet and lifestyle, one step at a time. It’s less imposing than taking a big leap into massive changes. However, small changes and even drastic changes in diet don’t help everyone lose weight – sometimes you need a little extra help. Learn more about these medications on our dedicated page, and see if this weight loss assistance may be right for you.