How To Eat Healthier
With every January, every summer, every picture that makes you squirm from embarrassment, comes the promise to yourself that now will be the time to eat healthier. You buy the gym membership, and start the rigorous diet, only to concede defeat two weeks later. Again return the feelings of frustration and disappointment. Is it honestly this hard to live a healthy lifestyle?
Here are five easy tips to keep you on track.
1. Set Yourself Up for Success
When starting a new habit, planning pays off. It can be the difference between success and regret. Why would you surround yourself with temptation? You know exactly where the cookies are hiding in the middle of the night (behind the pasta, on the top shelf).
Start fresh with a purging of all your favorite junk foods. Replace them with fruits and vegetables. Prep these yummy treats into plastic snack bags and keep them stocked. Apple wedges and peanut butter slices are a delicious alternative to a midnight snack of milk and cookies when you’re trying to be good.
2. Pick An Accountability Buddy
Having someone to hold you accountable makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping your resolve. It’s one thing to let yourself down; it’s another to disappoint a friend or family member that’s counting on you.
Send text messages to cheer your partner on each morning. Share moments of weakness and victory throughout the day.
3. Large Portions of the Good Stuff
When serving your plate, be sure that there are more veggies than grains, carbohydrates or meat. FitBit writer, Tracy Morris suggests filling up at least half your plate with vegetables.
Experiment with vegetables and fruit until you find your favorites. Go online and research new recipes to get excited. Even the yucky Brussel Sprouts of your youth can make a delicious transformation when sauteed with garlic, salt, and olive oil.
4. Breakfast is King
Dr. John L. Ivy of the University of Texas at Austin, states, “Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of our being during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally.”
After fasting all night, your body requires the energy-providing aid of a balanced breakfast. Skipping this meal can leave you feeling drained of energy, unfocused, and more likely to seek a quick sugar rush. That donut might be heaven at first, but the fatigue will leave you spiraling into greater exhaustion.
Make waking up as easy as possible. Leave fruit and veggies for breakfast smoothies prepared in the refrigerator the night before. Foods such as breakfast burritos can also be made ahead of time and simply warmed up when needed.
5. To Thine Own Self, Be True
We can be our worst enemy if we aren’t careful. We sabotage ourselves by eating out of boredom, stress, sadness, or tiredness.
Our bodies and minds go on autopilot so you can focus on other things. Autopilot is helpful when chewing gum and walking, not so much when you find yourself polishing off that bag of chips while watching TV.
Dr. Susan Carnell links boredom eating and low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, our brain’s chemical messengers, linked to motivation and drive. When we feel bored, our bodies may want to consume food to boost our dopamine levels.
This neurotransmitter also has a connection to happiness. Studies have shown dopamine to spike our feelings of eagerness, excitement, and positivity.
Mindfulness is something that should come into play in all aspects of our life. It’s taking regular inventory of our emotions and feelings. Before you eat, stop for a second and consider, “Am I Hungry? Bored? Tired? In need of a pick-me-up?” Find alternatives such as going outside for a walk, meeting up with a friend, drink a glass of water, make a cup of tea or take a twenty to thirty minute power nap.
Bonus Tip: Be Nice to Yourself
When we finally make the decision to start eating healthier, we often go overboard. If you relapse into your bad eating habits, acknowledge your mistake and keep on trying. Don’t beat yourself up and give up altogether. Little steps heed big results. Leave the regret and guilt in the past, and try try again.