We all know the hardest part of getting fit isn’t completing your workout but starting it in the first place. And accompanying it with a healthy diet? That gives us the chills. It’s one thing to say you’re going to stick to an exercise routine and eat healthy — and another to actually do it. Unfortunately, this is all far easier said than done. The healthy diet goes out the window around the holidays, for example, or when there’s a family party or a function at work full of unhealthy food, or when we go out to eat with friends, or when we go to a ballgame or amusement park or the beach, or when … well, you get the idea. There are lots of ways to get off a diet. Also, the word dieting invokes images of hunger and chewing on celery or doing some kind of fad diet. However, it is not at all supposed to be this way. Eating healthy does not have to be some kind of punishment. Sticking to a healthy diet is easy if only you are dedicated and disciplined.
Here is some motivational tricks to a rewarding eating schedule.
Know your motivation.
The best way to continue on the rewarding path of eating healthy is to know why you started in the first place. Do you have an important event coming up and need to fit into a beautiful dress? Visualize yourself wearing it. Keep playing that image in your head. When you have a powerful motivation like this, and remember what choice you’re making whenever you face temptation, it’s easier to be strong when you’d otherwise cave in.
Take baby steps.
You don’t have to overhaul your diet overnight. It is recommended that you change your diet in small steps — just drink water instead of soda, for example, or eat fruit instead of candy or chips. Once you adjust to this small change, make another a week or two later, and so on until you’re eating much healthier a few months later. This small and gradual process makes it much easier to stick with a healthy diet. If you try to make drastic changes at once, you will find yourself losing motivation soon enough. And do not try extreme diet plans such as the Cookie Diet, Atkins, the Banana Diet, and different cleansing fasts. It will do more harm than benefit and might just put you off healthy eating for good! And the fact is, while you might lose a lot of weight with a drastic diet in a short amount of time, as soon as you get off the diet and go back to eating unhealthily, you’ll gain the weight back. Don’t do anything drastic — make long-lasting changes.
Choose the foods you like and build a healthy eating routine around them.
This is really important. If you detest salads, don’t make salads a key to your new diet. Everyone has different tastes, and to each his own. Don’t eat foods just because they’re good for you — eat them because they’re healthy AND you love them. It could be berries and almonds and oatmeal and salads and yogurt and cottage cheese and tofu for some, but for others, it might be salmon and lean grass-fed beef and asparagus and walnuts. Find the foods you love that are healthy, and you’ll stick with the diet much longer.
Pack your healthy food and carry it along.
Always bring healthy food with you, wherever you go. Sometimes this just means packing snacks if you’re going on a few errands (like nuts and dry fruits), other times you might want to pack more substantial meals and pack them with ice to keep them fresh. Packing your lunch to work is a great idea, along with a bunch of snacks to keep you satisfied all day without eating the donuts someone brought in.
Eat before you leave the house.
If you’re going out to a restaurant or party, eat a small healthy meal first. That way you won’t be starving and won’t need to eat a huge amount of unhealthy food. You can get by on a salad or some fish and steamed veggies or an appetizer or something like that, and still enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones.
Eat small meals at regular gaps.
When you allow yourself to famish, you will often binge, because your blood-sugar levels are so low that you crave instant sugar (or refined flour). When you’re starving, you are more likely to indulge in donuts or cake. So eat snacks throughout the day, or small meals, so that you never get super hungry.
Remember to eat healthy when you go out.
If you go to a restaurant or party, look for the healthy choices. You could choose a good salad bar, but you could also choose a lean cut of meat, grilled not fried, with steamed veggies, or some black bean or lentil soup, or something like that. If you go to a party with lots of food, try for small portions. Just eat until you’re slightly full, then have some water and talk with people without eating for a while, then when you get hungry to have another small portion, and so on. Try for the amount of food that will fit in your hand. If you space out several small portions over the course of a couple hours, you’ll feel satisfied but never take in too much.
Lastly, clear your home of unhealthy foods.
As it is often said, out of sight, out of mind. If you have junk food in your home, you’re more likely to give in at some point and eat it. But if you clear your home of these foods, you won’t have that temptation. Clear your fridge and cabinets of candy, baked sweets, fried foods, foods made with refined flour, fatty and greasy things like chips and fries, and so on.
So here is to healthy eating and happy living!