Thinking about a big lifestyle change can be overwhelming, and that’s often the mental roadblock that stops dieters from developing the healthy habits that lead to long-term success.
Be careful not to focus on doing too many things at once. Instead, list the actions you want to take, and plan to conquer one at a time. You can’t expect to relearn how to eat in a week, but you can make progress in one part of your meal planning. If you usually skip breakfast, your first step can be to find morning meals to prepare ahead of time. If you eat a lot of afternoon snacks, work on fighting your peckishness with a cup of green tea.
Don’t Let Dehydration Deter You
When you’re thirsty, you may think you’re hungry instead, and if you continually misread these signals, over time they can contribute to obesity.
And when you don’t drink an efficient amount of water, you’ll wake up tired and stay that way throughout the day.
If you want to burn fat, lose weight, keep your metabolism running at an all-time high and feel better almost immediately, drink more water. It’s really as simple as that. But, if you’re not used to taking in the recommended eight glasses a day, here are some helpful, creative tips to stay properly hydrated:
- Make water – not a cup of coffee – the first thing you drink in the morning. Most people feel dehydrated in the morning. Your mouth probably feels dry, irritated, or like cotton balls. This is because after six or eight hours without water, your body is telling you it can’t wait another minute without water. Don’t reach for that cup of coffee, which can further dehydrate you. Instead drink a full glass of water – and if you want to lose weight, it’s recommended to drink it ice cold.
Several studies have shown that the colder your water is, the harder your body has to work to warm it up to body temperature. With this morning habit you’re killing two birds with one stone: speeding up your metabolism first thing and hydrating yourself in the process. Then, when you reach for that cup of coffee, you can feel good about it, and your body will enjoy it more too.
- Treat water as an appetite suppressant. One of the greatest ways to redirect hunger is a natural, low-calorie appetite suppressant. In that regard, there’s nothing that fits the bill better than water. When you experience food cravings throughout the day, reach for a glass of water first. If nothing else, it will delay the time it takes for you to take a snack break.
To pace yourself during mealtime, drink a glass of water before and after each meal. This self-control exercise will give you extra fighting power when it comes to resisting temptation.
This is especially useful for a serious sweet tooth. Drink a full glass of water before and after eating the treat. The water will fill you up so you’ll be satisfied with one serving of dessert, and this trick may deter your sugar cravings altogether!
Set Every Day up for Success
Sometimes, the battle of the bulge can be overcome not by what you eat, but when you eat it. When are you doing the majority of your eating – in the morning, mid-day, early evening, or in the middle of the night?
If you’re used to munching on lunch leftovers in the afternoon, snacks before dinner and decadent deserts near bedtime, interrupt those patterns and consider the morning your prime opportunity to pack in the extra calories.
There are two general rules when it comes to breakfast:
1) Fill it with fiber and protein.
2) Make it the biggest meal of the day.
Be smart about planning breakfast to include what your body needs to make it through the busy day ahead; that means giving it enough protein, complex carbs, antioxidants and fiber.
Plan to eat the majority of your carbs in the morning, followed by lighter, more frequent meals throughout your day. Well-balanced breakfasts include a veggie omelet; oatmeal topped with blueberries and sliced almonds; yogurt with pomegranate seeds; sprouted wheat toast with nut butter; and fresh fruit salad with a poached egg.
Reorganize Your Refrigerator
When you want to snack on something and open your refrigerator, what item do you go for? According to studies, you’ll usually grab whatever’s front and center.
To avoid temptation, rearrange where you put fruits, vegetables and other healthy fare so that’s the first thing you see. Most importantly, consider where you hide the higher-calorie, guilty-pleasure foods.
Just try this for a week, and see how your snacking improves. You can even keep a notepad on or near the fridge to track your choices. Nothing is more motivating than seeing how little changes can have a big impact!
Pack Your Lunch the Night Before
The most tempting pitfall for anyone with a busy lifestyle is eating on the run. If you prepare for that when you have free time, you’ll be able to eat well even on a tight schedule. Thanks to a little foresight, you’ll never have to resort to low-cost but high-fat foods again.
On Sunday evening, try cooking large dishes that will last you for several meals. Make a full pan of lasagna with ground turkey, or whip up a stir fry with ingredients you always keep on hand. Whatever some of your favorite meals are, cook them in bulk, and divide them in modest portions. Freeze them, and grab one on your way out the door to have later that day for lunch.