Now that you’re getting more sleep and consuming less sugar (right?), it’s important to take a closer look at how you are setting yourself up to succeed in your weight loss efforts. Are your choices helping you or making it harderfor you to reach your goals? Because really, healthy eating is not about willpower—it’s about making conscious decisions that help make it easier for you to make good decisions. Chew on this:
1. Keeping Food in Your Home: Do you really need that bag of tortilla chips in your cabinet? Can you trust yourself to keep Thin Mints in the freezer and not eat an entire sleeve when you’re feeling down or bored? If the answer is yes, then good for you. I truly envy you because I’m at a point where I just can’t keep any snack foods or sweets in my apartment. And actually, I’m OK with that because like I said, it makes it easier for me to make good choices.
Sometimes I’ll be home when a salty or sweet craving hits and I’ll think, Man I really wish I had something to satisfy it. But, if it’s not there, you can’t have it! Ninety-nine percent of the time I realize that my cravings are impulsive and fleeting. But, if I realllly want something, I’ll go out to get it. I live on the fifth floor of a walk-up building, so at least I’m getting a little extra exercise to boot!
2. Be Prepared: Do you keep healthy snacks on hand at work? Or do you cross your fingers and hope that you can avert vending machine temptations in the afternoon? Or even worse, do you drink a 20oz Diet Coke every day at 3pm, only to stuff your face at dinner and consume hundreds of unnecessary calories? It’s OK, I used to practices these self-defeating habits, too.
But really, it doesn’t take much effort to throw an apple into your purse or pick up a bag of raw nuts or a greek yogurt on your way to work. And if you have a late dinner planned with girlfriends, being prepared with a satiating snack will help you pass on the bread basket and resist a second (or third) glass of wine. Don’t steal two mini Reese’s Cups from your co-workers candy jar and think it’s going to get the job done. Nope! Opt for a water-dense fruit with fibrous skin (like apples, pears) to help sustain your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for longer.
3. Make a Plan Told ya I’d mention this again! It is so important. If it’s hard for you to find the time and motivation to exercise or cook during the week, then decide in advance where you can fit it into your schedule and execute a plan on how you will make it work. Will you do your grocery shopping on Sunday? Cancel a social obligation in favor of your favorite spin class on Wednesday? Go to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can squeeze in a run the next morning? Work it out. Make a plan. You can do it.
Yes, life can be hectic, but stop telling yourself that you just don’t have the time. I’m calling your bluff! You do. You have time to do the things you want to make time for. So get off of Facebook and do something productive for your health! And if nothing else, keep your kitchen stocked with easy to prepare foods that will help you out in a pinch. I like eggs, Greek yogurt, spinach, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, frozen meals from Trader Joe’s, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta and tortillas. Easy peasy.
Tell me: What changes do you need to make in order to best set yourself up for success with your health?
Ellen Collis is a blogger at Wannabe Health Nut and Health Coach in NYC, who is currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.