This is the time of year when we’ve all indulged a little too much, and have our sights set on January 1st as “the day” when we’ll get our act together eating-wise (or maybe the Monday after, for those who want to eat nachos while watching bowl games).
While goals to eat less, drink less and work out more, etc, are good goals theoretically, they probably won’t last, because temptation will pop up again before too long. So instead of thinking of January as the time when you’ll start being good to your body, I propose that you start NOW. Not with a strict diet, a fast, a cleanse, or anything unpleasant. Instead, with some small but specific goals that will eventually help you reach your larger goals.
- Small, realistic, specific goals are great because you can start on them this very minute, without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated, and they’re clear enough so you know exactly what to do. Some examples:
- When eating out, put half of your meal into a to-go box before you even start eating. Save the leftovers for a future meal.
- Put a post-it note on your refrigerator door that lists 3 activity ideas you can do when you’re about to eat out of boredom. (e.g. organize desk drawer, walk to drugstore to buy newest US Weekly, put on favorite song/sit down/close eyes/regain focus, read an interesting article on nytimes.com)
- Stop buying ______ (insert your favorite junk food), so that the temptation is not within arms reach.
- Make a grocery list and meal plan every Sunday, taking into account your schedule for the week, and how many times you’ll realistically eat in.
- Keep individually-portioned bags of nuts & dried fruits in your purse, glove compartment, gym bag, etc, for healthy snacks between meals. (If you’re ravenous at mealtime, you’ll overeat).
- Order drip coffee at Starbucks, instead of the usual latte/mocha/frappuccino. Add milk or sugar yourself, to save on calories.
- Don’t drink on weeknights. Save a glass of wine or a beer for a weekend treat (big time calorie saver)
- Replace one serving of bread/meat/cheese/sweets each day with a fruit or vegetable.
- Weigh yourself once a week (on the same day) to keep yourself aware of how your habits are affecting your body.
- Whatever goals are relevant to you & your lifestyle
These may seem like insignificant steps when you’re desperate to shed your holiday pounds, but if you start with one, add another in a couple weeks, another a few weeks after that, and so on, you’ll be losing weight and/or getting healthier faster than you think. To boot, you won’t be feeling deprived or depressed….which means you may actually stick with these. And that would be an enormous feat, in the world of weight loss.