The start of the year is always a busy time, and it can quickly get hard to stick to your healthy eating goals for the year. Here are a few tips from The Sweat Life to help you stay on track:
1. NO EXCUSES: Make healthy eating/exercise a priority
It is so much easier to say, “My life is so stressful, I can’t even think about what I’m eating,” than to say “I need to take action NOW towards my overall health and well-being.” There is never a better time to start taking care of yourself than in the present moment. Make your health a priority.
2. Organization is key
The most successful people are those who plan ahead. Having some sense of WHEN you will be eating your meals and WHERE you will be eating, can help you prepare yourself for WHAT you will choose to eat. It will also help maintain a steady stream of energy, and hopefully satisfaction, throughout the day.
New Yorkers are known for living a fast-paced life. Juggling work and a fun social life can be daunting. Add traveling, dating, marriage, and/or kids to the list, and life can seem super stressful and chaotic. How can one create the balance of living a healthy lifestyle with such a hectic schedule?!
- Take some time the night before to think about your day ahead, what and where you can pick up some well-rounded meals if you don’t have time to prepare them at home
- Set a calendar reminder to plan your meals (and snacks) for the week on Sunday. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes
- Put a sticky note on your purse/bag to remind you to take your lunch or snacks that are in your fridge before you leave for the day
- Pre-portion snacks for the week in a snack-pack Ziploc bag
- Look at menus online and plan what you will order at a restaurant
3. Order in & go to restaurants that you know
It is always a good idea to have a couple of ‘go-to’ places that you know have food options that are both healthy and satisfying to you. These are the places you feel comfortable ordering the same few things every single time. You are more likely to stick to eating cleaner when you know there are good options available.
4. Focus on a few key things when you eat out
- Drink two glasses of water as soon as you sit down to a meal. You are much more likely to eat less at that meal
- If you must drink alcohol, choose between vodka, tequila, and wine. Go for the one that you know you can drink less quickly. A lot of my patients can down glass after glass of rosé, but a vodka on the rocks often needs to be nursed
- Pick your poison (if you must!). Choose between bread, alcohol, or a dessert. Make the rest of your meal filled with lots of vegetables and lean protein
5. Cut yourself some slack
Believe in progression, NOT in perfection. Balance is about finding that happy medium between living a very structured life and living in the moment.
Instead of focusing on what you are doing wrong, think about the ways you can change those negative habits. It takes approximately 30 days for something to stay with you, so try and set a goal that you can maintain for a month. Make it small, attainable, and not too stressful to your normal routine. And believe in yourself that you can do it!
6. Get a buddy who's a healthy influence on you for support/encouragement
Having a partner-in-crime can help you manage some difficult situations. Someone to bounce ideas off of and someone to keep you motivated and on track is key for success.
7. Get some guidance from an expert
No matter what, we could all use some specific health advice as it pertains to our day-to-day life. Having an objective counselor guide us in the right direction, providing us with support and some words of encouragement, can be very useful in life-long compliance. I get the greatest pleasure in knowing that I’ve helped create balance and happiness in my patients’ hectic lives!
You CAN find that happy medium between the complexities of life and the importance of self-care.
Written by Dara Godfrey, MS, RD. Dara is a contributor for The Sweat Life- check out her original post here.