1. Hide Your Vices
This step seems fairly simple and obvious, but having tempting foods sitting in front of you on a regular basis does not make it easy to avoid them. Try to avoid buying these foods altogether, but if you must have them in the house-place them somewhere you will not see them very often. Out of sight, out of mind!
2. Make Small, Manageable Changes
It can be a little overwhelming to completely revamp your diet all at once. This method works for some people who are ‘all or nothing’, but if you’ve tried this method and failed you may want to rethink your methods. Try making small changes, such as drinking more water one week, cutting out soft drinks the next, and including a vegetable in each meal the week afterwards. These smaller changes are easier to adapt to, meaning you can use this method to gradually cut out each bad habit and replace them with new ones.
3. Write a Shopping List
Look through your cupboard and fridge before you leave home, and work off a meal plan if possible, so that you can buy the exact foods you’ll need for the upcoming week. You will not waste money on buying excess food that you do not need, and you’ll have all the ingredients on hand for your meals. This means no last minute dinner plans (which are usually unhealthy choices) because you don’t have ingredients. An added bonus is that you won’t find yourself strolling down the tempting food aisles as you try to remember what you needed because these usually spell disaster for sticking with healthy eating!
4. Don’t Shop Hungry
This is a simple and effective tip. When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you are craving such as simple snacks and junk foods. Eating before you shop will make it easier to stick to your shopping list and make healthier choices.
5. Practice Mindful Eating
Eating while distracted can cause you to mindlessly overeat as you do not allow yourself enough time to feel full. This same principle applies when you eat food on the run such as in the car. Instead, try eating at the table without distractions such as TV. This can lead to some great bonding time with family and friends, and also allows you to eat more slowly and mindfully.
6. Change Your Plate Size
It’s amazing how we can trick our mind with plate sizes! Placing your food on a smaller plate or bowl can make the same portion size appear a lot bigger, leaving you more satisfied with your meal.
7. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Calories from sugary drinks such as soft drinks and juices can add up even though we are not aware of it. Instead of consuming these excess calories in the form of a drink, try to limit yourself to primarily water. By doing so, you can eat those calories rather than drinking them which will make you feel more satisfied and help you stick to your weight loss goals.
8. Drink More Water
It is important to keep hydrated throughout your day, otherwise, your body can struggle to function. However, drinking water also has another benefit. The water will fill your stomach without the same calorie burden as a snack and can help hold you over until your next meal.
9. Don’t Eat Out of the Bag, Look at Portion Sizes
Have you ever actually measured out the portion size on the packet? You would probably be surprised how small the serving size may actually be. You may think that you are being very virtuous by choosing a snack with a small amount of fat and carbohydrates, but instead of having 1 serving you eat 4. All those servings add up! Instead of eating straight from the box or container, try measuring out a serving size and placing it in a separate bowl. This will help you understand how much a serving size actually is, and stop you from mindlessly eating more servings than you intended.
10. Meal Plans and Prepped Food
Meal prepping is a great way to stick to your diet. When you come home at the end of the day, you might be too tired to bother cooking a healthy meal. Instead of ordering a pizza, why not pull out your already prepped healthy meal and microwave it? Try cooking multiple servings of a dish, and place them in storage containers either in the fridge or freezer. Some foods keep better than others, so keep this in mind when you are prepping.
Another tip is to try and have things already cut up. Really want a snack but can’t be bothered to cut up carrot sticks? Try and cut up several carrots at a time, and then store away what you don’t need for your snack. This can help you make better choices.
11. What’s Your Trigger?
Lastly, look at WHY you are eating what you’re eating. Is it because you had a bad day and you feel like rubbish, so you feel like you deserve that chocolate? Using food as a coping mechanism does not benefit you in the long run, and can cause more problems than it solves. Start to be mindful of what triggers your bad eating habits, and try to use alternative coping methods. For example, sometimes when I have a rough day I would really like a chocolate, but I know that I will feel worse after eating it. Instead, I try to get out in the fresh air for a walk or head to the gym and exercise. Both of these activities help to release endorphins, which makes me feel much better afterwards.
Finally, it’s good to remember that if you slip up on your diet and make a bad choice, it isn’t the end of the world. The day isn’t a write-off, and you haven’t failed. If you do end up cheating on your diet, accept it and move on. Don’t throw out your eating for the rest of the day. Each meal is an opportunity for you to make good choices. Nobody is perfect and eats clean 100% of the time, we’re all human!