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You’ve made a commitment to yourself to eat well, move more and take care of your body. Good for you! It can be a big step to take, and can feel challenging, but sticking to your intentions and staying on track with weight loss can be made a lot easier with a few simple strategies, regardless of your healthy eating plan, your motivations or your resources.
While wearable devices like Fitbit or Jawbone UP can be helpful (and they sync to your PlateJoy account!), sometimes the simplest ideas – and most obvious answers – are the ones that will do the trick. Keep on top of your goals and become your healthiest self yet with these diet-agnostic ideas.
Track your food
The simple act of logging what’s coming into your body is a valuable step in the weight loss journey. You may think you’re eating less than you are, or eating more cleanly than you are, but being able to see the reality of the situation on paper is a whole other story.
Whether you use a notebook, a spreadsheet, or an app in your phone, commit to tracking everything that comes into your body for a period of time (ie. 2 weeks). Note meals, types of food and a rough quantity. More importantly, note how each meal left you feeling: you’ll naturally start moving towards foods that make you feel best, which are more likely to be whole and unprocessed (and less likely to be problematic for your weight and metabolism). To see how balanced your meals are, use a highlighter to categorize veggies, protein, carbs and fats. Notice a color is underrepresented? Commit to adding more of it at your next meal.
Find a buddy
A friend, family member or nutritionist who can provide unbiased, non-judgmental support can be an excellent asset. They might be willing to read your food journal or go out to eat at places with healthy options to help support your goals.
Having nourishing, non-junk options available at home will help you to stay on track with a clean eating, weight-friendly plan. The biggest hurdle to cooking at home is not properly stocking the kitchen (but when that kitchen is full of great options, you’ll be more likely to whip up healthy versions of your favorites.) If shopping takes too long, use PlateJoy’s shopping lists or sync your account with a grocery delivery service, so you don’t even have to be tempted at the store. Who needs takeout when there’s a delicious homemade curry in the fridge?
Identify the habits that work for you
Do you have certain habits throughout your day that are impossible to forget? Brushing teeth and checking email come to mind. They generally happen at the same time each day, and you have the tools available to execute them (a toothbrush, toothpaste, your phone, a charger). The same things that make these habits easy to keep up with can help to keep weight loss habits on track, too. Notice what time of day you can consistently make room for exercise and stick to it. Stock the fridge. Have recipes or a meal plan at the ready. Schedule your time and plan activities that aren’t conducive to mindless snacking. Every little thing adds up, but it’s about making sure each individual habit is easy, accessible and enjoyable for you.
Did you know that we often mistake thirst for hunger? Staying hydrated (that is, sipping water throughout the day from the moment you get up until you go to bed, and compensating for exercise with additional fluids) will help your brainfeel more satisfied and make it less likely you’ll reach for a cookie when what you actually need is water.
Have a non-physique-related goal
Why are you trying to lose or maintain your weight? Focus less on the number on the scale and instead on something that is a feeling: how do you want to feel in your body? How do you want to move through your life? What does this weight loss mean for your long-term health? Entertaining a bigger-picture perspective than “I want to be a size __” can last longer and can be more motivating to check in on when you’re having a tough, temptation-filled day.
Allow for indulgence
Deprivation is a motivation killer. One of the reasons for the failure of so many quests to lose weight is dissolution of willpower: we can only go without eating, or without eating certain things we love, for so long. Budget for treats throughout the week or month – whatever seems reasonable to you – so you can stick to your clean eating intentions without going totally crazy. You may find over time that the foods that used to taste delicious might begin to taste too sweet, too salty, etc. This is a great opportunity to explore healthy modifications to your favorite treats, which may also help with weight maintenance longer term.
Be reasonable with your goals… and with yourself
Avoid setting goals that are too aggressive or unrealistic. If you try to lose ten pounds in a week, you will be disappointed and demotivated when that doesn’t pan out. Set small goals and milestones along the way to your larger goal. Celebrate your successes as they happen. Allow space for flexibility and forgiveness and commit newly each day to doing the best you can.
With these little tricks, you’ll be on your way to sustainable, healthy weight loss without the side dishes of guilt, regret, self-loathing or deprivation.
– Amy Height
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