The popular belief that dieting is all “mind over matter” is not entirely true. There are a couple of tricks that you can apply to help you stick to a new lifestyle.
For many, a new year, new month or new week often starts with the firm resolution to eat healthier, live healthier and ultimately be happy.
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Unfortunately it is easier said than done, as reaching your ideal goal weight (and maintaining it) requires a lot of sweat and sacrifice.
By now you may have discovered that crash diets get quick results but are unhealthy and don’t work out in the long run.
This means that committing to a brand-new lifestyle is the only way to go.
According to research, exercise actually decreases your appetite. An added bonus is that it leaves you with less time to think about your food cravings.
Dieting is all a matter of simple math: if you consume fewer calories and burn more, you will lose weight.
Strict exercise regimes are great but hard to stick to, so find ways to burn more calories throughout the day.
Park further away from the entrance when shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator and walk wherever you can whenever you can. Participating in team sports is also an excellent way of finding a group of people who will keep you accountable.
2. Keep A Food Diary
Take stock of your eating habits. Write down what you eat daily and it will be much easier to discover where you went wrong.
Use a calorie-tracking app or site and keep in mind that, in most cases, you should not eat more than 2,000 calories per day if you simply want to maintain your weight. If you want to lose weight, your calorie count should be 1,500 calories if you are a woman and 1,750 if you are a man.
3. Plan Your Meals
On a busy day, it is easy to cave in and buy junk food if you don’t have the energy to figure out what to cook at night. Planning your meals a week ahead just makes it easier to stick to healthier habits.
Ensure that your meals are well balanced and include healthy grains, lean protein and lots of veggies, a combination of that will make you feel full longer. Meals should also contain a lot of fiber, which take a long time to digest.
Also plan for two healthy snacks a day to curb junk food cravings.
4. Pick Five Easy Delicious, Healthy Recipes
Ensure that you have the ingredients for at least two of these recipes in stock at all times.
Some weekends you may just not get to the planning, which is why these recipes are so important. If you know that it is going to be easy to fix something healthy to eat quickly, you will be less likely to go to the drive-thru.
5. If You Don’t Buy Junk, You Can’t Eat Junk
Never go shopping on an empty stomach as that will just make all the junk foods seem all the more attractive. Stay clear from the aisles with the cookies, candy bars, frozen dinners, sodas and even high-sugar fruit juices.
Remove the temptation from your house: If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it.
6. Take A Break And Choose A Vice
As you are committing to a new lifestyle, an occasional splurge is not the end of the world. If you want to enjoy a lavish dinner with dessert once in a while, do that. Have a small chocolate square once a day, a weekly ice cream cone or a glass of wine. But ensure that it doesn’t mean the end of your diet.
Watch your food log closely and stick to a 90/10 rule: eat right 90 percent of the time and allow yourself an occasional indulgence 10 percent of the time.
7. Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep enforces bad habits and causes weight gain.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism doesn’t function properly, and when you are tired it is also harder to resist cravings. If you want to lose weight and feel refreshed every day, be sure to understand how to get enough sleep.
Don’t ever give up your goal of living healthy. Even when you have reached your goal weight, don’t throw away that food log. You will always need to keep an eye on how much you are eating and how much you are exercising.
On the upside, being in control of what you consume will also help you to feel in control over other things in life.