You’re working out like crazy, which is making you feel super proud that you’ve nailed that part of your New Year’s resolution. But you’re feeling pretty bummed because the scale’s not moving, and the tape measure’s not pulling tighter because your diet is still way off.
You feel like you have no control, and your bad eating habits are making you feel well…just bad! Extra fat and sugar along with artificial dyes, preservatives, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can not only make your body feel awful and sabotage all of your hard work at the gym, but studies have also shown they can contribute to health issues such as chronic fatigue, diabetes, migraines, autoimmune diseases, and high blood pressure.
Changing your diet and habits, which probably have developed over a lifetime, is a tough thing to do. But it’s not impossible. Here are 10 foolproof ways to make positive, permanent changes.
1. Keep a journal.
For 2 to 3 days write down what you eat and drink and the approximate times that you do. Once you have a couple of days written down, take a red pen and circle and figure out what your trouble areas are.
2. Take it one meal at a time.
Small, simple changes work best when you’re trying to make a permanent change. Start with one meal and stick to those changes for a whole week. Breakfast is usually the best meal to start with. The next week, change another meal.
3. Read labels.
Make a conscious effort to read all labels and choose the healthiest foods that you possibly can. As a rule of thumb, the fewer ingredients listed, the better the food is for you. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, or it sounds super chemical, that’s a good way to know you know you shouldn’t be eating it.
4. Be prepared.
Keep bars in your bag, nuts at work, granola in your car. Most people make poor food choices when they don’t have any options. Typically when you fail to plan…you plan to fail.
5. Have dinner for lunch.
The easiest way to have a healthy lunch is to bring leftovers from the night before for lunch the next day. When you cook at home and are prepared, you’ll end up eating healthier.
6. Breakfast for dinner.
Don’t like to cook? Try eating breakfast for dinner! Omelettes, scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon, low-fat quiche, or oatmeal and hard boiled eggs are all great nutritious alternatives to ordering out because they don’t cost a bundle and are healthy and easy to cook!
7. Invest in high-quality food storage.
Food storage containers that leach plastic taste into your food or leak in your bag will undermine your efforts to eat well. Choose high-quality plastic food storage or lightweight glass with tight-fitting snap tops.
8. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It takes a lot of effort and hard work to change a lifetime of habits. Be kind to yourself. If you mess up, don’t take an all-or-nothing type of attitude that could undermine your efforts altogether. Get right back on the health train and keep plowing forward without looking back.
9. Cook on Sundays.
Preparing meals at home is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re eating well and that unhealthy ingredients aren’t being slipped into your food. Problem is, with schedules being so crazy, who has the time to cook? Sundays are a great day to spend the afternoon getting ready for the week. Prepare three meals worth of food, freezing some to ensure that you always have a healthy, yummy option at your fingertips.
10. Drink water.
Studies show that up to 75 percent of people may be (semi) functioning in a constant state of dehydration. Not drinking enough water can make you feel tired and without motivation. It can also mess with your body’s ability to metabolize fat. Additionally, being even slightly dehydrated can cause your body to mistake the need to drink with the need to eat. This can cause you to eat empty calories unnecessarily. So hydrate already!