New Year – New You: 7 Steps to Kickstart Healthier Eating
With the start of a new year just around the corner, you are probably thinking about ways that you can improve yourself. After all, there is no better time to get a fresh, new start than at the beginning of a brand new year.
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is eating healthy and losing weight. In fact, it could be that you’ve made this resolution before; however, you may have failed, despite your best attempts. This year, make eating healthy a resolution that you actually have success with. By following these simple, yet helpful tips, you’ll be able to change the way you eat, leading to a healthier lifestyle and the ability to enjoy a brand new you.
Make it Simple
Part of the reason why so many people fail when they try to change their diet in the hopes of eating healthier is because of the complexity that is involved.
Many diets simply make it seem too hard. However, pulling out measuring spoons and scales, or consulting with diet books each and every time you prepare a meal just isn’t necessary. In fact, given the fact that so many people live such an on-the-go lifestyle, doing so is virtually impossible, and only results in discouragement.
Simplify the process of healthy eating. You likely already know the foods that are bad for you and those that are inherently healthy. Make a conscious effort to choose healthy, whole foods instead of going by the book or the scale. A simple approach makes it easier for you to want to choose the healthier options.
Take it Slowly
Don’t think that as soon as the ball drops on New Year’s you have to start eating healthy right away. In fact, doing so only makes healthy eating stressful, and we all know what that means – a lack of desire to keep going. Instead, slowly modify your food selections.
Take baby steps. For example, one week, decide that you’re going to replace your nightly bowl of ice cream with a piece of fruit, and choose salad over French fries whenever you go out to eat. These gradual changes result in a more permanent long-term lifestyle.
When you hear the word ‘eliminate’ in a diet, it only stirs a desire to go after the food you’ve just been banned from. Instead of elimination, think moderation. Of course pizza every night for dinner isn’t healthy, but a slice or two a month won’t completely set you back. Allow yourself a treat meal every once in awhile as a reward for sticking to your healthy food. You’ll be better for it in the end.
Cut back on the size of the meals that you eat. Portion sizes have expanded over the years, making them far more than any one person should eat in one sitting.
In order to keep yourself in check and stay on the healthy eating track, control your portions. It’s actually a lot easier to cut back on the size of your meals than you think. Use smaller plates and prepare your plate in the kitchen, leaving extra portions off of the table, for example. When doing your cooking, only make as much as you’ll need for that meal, with no plan for leftovers. As you grow more accustomed to eating smaller portions, your brain adjusts as well, and you will feel full sooner.
If you are always on the go, chances are that you scarf down your food in a hurry. Eating quickly can actually make you eat more. Why? Because it takes the brain a while to process that the stomach is full. When you eat at a rapid pace, your brain hasn’t yet received that message, which often leads to eating in excess.
So, take it slowly. Not only will you feel fuller by consuming less food, you’ll also avoid other undesirable side effects of eating fast, like indigestion.
It’s been said for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s such a common phrase because it is true!
Though it may be enticing to curl up on the couch with a snack and watch some TV to unwind at the end of the day, eating at night really impacts your diet. When your body is sedentary, it doesn’t digest as fast, which means that you are holding onto those calories.
Eating better is a lifestyle change, and one that you can really make, if you put the effort in. With these tips, you can start the new year off on the right foot and continue eating healthy for years to come.
Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. She loves eating healthy and believes it is one of the most important things you can do for your body. She contributes to AllCandyContainers.com in her free time.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock