Nancy Bennett, MS, RD, CDE
So you've made the decision to eat right and get in shape. That's terrific! Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated and on track with your diet and exercise program:
First, write down what you will gain from changing your food choices and activity levels. Get some index cards and be specific as possible with your reasons for getting in shape. For example, write down "I will look and feel terrific in my jeans". Carry these cards with you and read them at least five times a day. Focusing on your goals gives you power to resist the tempting foods around you.
Second, become a "bag person". Carry healthy snacks with you at all times. Snacks like baby carrots, popcorn, fresh fruit, soy nuts or whole grain crackers can be carried in little plastic bags in your purse, briefcase or even the glove compartment of your car. Snacking on healthy food every two to three hours prevents hunger and low blood sugar, both of which can lead the most disciplined, well-intentioned individual astray.
Third, plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Knowing what you'll eat before hand helps take away some of the temptation. You will also find the tendency to eat something you'll regret later much lower if you have a plan.
Fourth, success in losing weight is about progress not perfection. If you do slip up and eat something not on your plan, take a deep breath and relax. Healthy eating and getting in shape is about making progress with our food choices, not about being perfect with our choices.
And finally, keep it simple! Little substitutions made on a daily basis can add up to big losses in body fat over time. Substituting a grilled chicken breast for extra lean hamburger patty on a daily basis saves you 120 calories per day or 42,720 calories per year! That's one pound of body fat lost per month and you are still eating!
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