Small Things Add Up: How to Stick to Your Diet

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Weight gain is often the cumulative effect of a series of small decisions: do you take the stairs or the elevator? Do you walk to the corner store, or drive? Sit in front of the TV, or walk the dog? Fortunately for those who want to stick to a diet, the small decisions we make every day can help us to reach our goals without feeling as though our lives have been dominated by the desire to lose weight. Here are some ways you can focus on the small things that have a huge effect on the success of your diet:

Mentally prepare yourself every day: When you wake up in the morning, consciously think about your diet. Before you even enter the kitchen, remember your goals, and mindfully select food that will fuel your body for the day. Whole grains and fruits are the perfect way to get your metabolism going without spiking your blood sugar levels.

  • Enjoy every bite: Take time during your meals to fully chew and savor every bite. Even if you are only eating your dish because you know it’s good for you, remember it’s healthy for a reason—those vitamins and minerals help your body perform the functions that sustain your very life! Rejoice in your body’s incredible machinery, and give it the fuel it deserves.
  • Stay accountable: Even if it pains you, step on the scale every day. It keeps you honest, and reminds you that the decisions you make throughout the day are leading you to your goal. You can even keep a food diary to chart your progress and keep track of the foods you eat throughout the day.
  • Regularize your eating: Eat at the same time every day, and plan meals that are both nutritious and help you feel sated. When your body gets in the habit of an eating schedule, you reduce hunger and the midday temptation to snack too much.
  • Exercise with a friend: Accountability can be the deciding factor in whether or not a diet succeeds. Plus, exercise is much more enjoyable when in good company.
  • Take the stairs: Remember, everything matters, and small adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to losing weight. Every opportunity you see to burn more calories or eat healthier, take them.  Get acquainted with the stairs, and be sure to break up the hours at the desk with a stroll to the water fountain, or just stand up for a few minutes. Really, anything burns more calories than sitting.

Do you have the secret to a successful diet? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

How to Eat Out without Blowing Your Healthy Eating Plan

Eating out doesn’t have to mean watching every morsel you put in your mouth for fear of blowing your eating plan. With just a few tweaks, you can enjoy eating out and still stick to your program.

Say no to the bread, or have just one slice with your meal.

Many restaurants bring out a big basket of bread the moment you sit down, and this bread can wreck your healthy eating plans. If you can’t say no, at least have the bread with your entrée to minimize the damage. Spread real butter on it or dip it in olive oil. If you love bread, ask for darker breads like rye instead of the typical white bread.

Ask for low-starch veggies in place of potatoes or rice.

If your meal comes with potatoes or rice, ask to substitute something else. Low-starch veggies such as green beans, spinach, or broccoli are good choices.

Enjoy plenty of salad with healthy dressing.

Ask the server about your dressing choices. Chances are you can enjoy a healthy, homemade vinaigrette or oil and vinegar. If you have access to a salad bar, don’t be afraid to load up on the greens and veggies, but go easy on the cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing.

If you must have creamy dressing, have it on the side, dip your fork in it, and then take a bite of salad. If you want creamy dressing on a house salad, ask for it on the side.

Put half in a to-go box.

Ask for a to-go box when you order, and put half your meal in it before you start eating. That way you don’t blow your diet, and you can enjoy the rest of the meal the next day. If you’d rather not take anything home, split a meal with your dining companion, or give the leftovers to a friend.

When it comes to dessert, have anything you wish—just take a few bites.

You’ve probably noticed that when you eat a rich, luscious dessert, there comes a point at which it’s too much and you’ve had enough. Why not order any dessert you want and then savor only two or three bites? Again, you can share or take the rest home.

What’s your favorite tip for healthy eating out?