Write it all down
-Keep accurate food records of every food and drink you consume for three days, if not more, to educate yourself about what exactly you are putting into your body.
-It is also a good idea to take notes about why you are eating. Are you stressed? Bored? Hungry? Including the time and amount you exercise as well can also be helpful.
– Tracking food intake can help with identifying patterns of harmful habits that one may not even be aware of such as consuming calorie-rich snacks late at night, eating when you are bored, or consuming too many sweets when you’re stressed.
Eat consistently throughout the day
– The 3 macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) should be consumed at every meal making them “well-rounded.” Instead of having just a bowl of cereal for breakfast, try eating a veggie egg white omelet alongside a bowl of cereal and a ½ cup of fruit.
– Chances are if you eat more regularly throughout the day then there will be less chance of overeating at night.
Try to eat slower
– The brain requires about 20 minutes to get the message from your stomach that it is feeling full. If you eat a little more slowly rather than inhaling your food then it will give your brain more time to catch up and prevent you from overeating.
– Food is very social and meant to be enjoyed so it is nice to also take your time while you eat and savor the flavors!
Make sure to enjoy your favorite foods
– It is realistic to maintain a healthy balance while still enjoying your favorite foods. If you allow yourself to consume your favorite foods in smaller portions then you are less likely to binge on them later.
-Also, there are also a lot of resources out there that provide recipes that tweak some of our favorite meals to make them more healthy and nutrient-dense.
– As far as your own home is concerned, if you’re not purchasing the tempting food items then you won’t eat them! Out of sight, out of mind.
– When you go to the grocery store be mindful to “shop the perimeter” and limit the purchase of foods contained in the aisles.
– If you’re attending a social gathering, try to have conversations away from the buffet and dessert tables.
Maintain a list of non-food activities that you can do when you’re feeling bored, tired, or nervous
-Food should never be used as an award.
-Find coping mechanisms for stress, boredom, or anxiety that don’t involve food.
-Find a new hobby. It’s never too late to learn something new!
Make a realistic eating plan
-When making a meal plan, make sure the items you put down are ones that you enjoy and will eat.
– The 2018 US Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week (150-300min/week).
– If it helps you to schedule a workout to keep yourself committed to it then do it!
– You can’t outrun a bad diet. Exercise only contributes to weight loss if combined with healthy eating habits.
– Don’t underestimate the health benefits of walking! It’s great to get extra steps in while enjoying the outdoors or enjoying the company of a friend.
– There are so many health benefits to drinking water and keeping hydrated such as cushioning joints, protecting organs and tissues, regulating body temperature, maintaining electrolyte balance, aiding digestion, normalizing blood pressure, preventing constipation, and more!
-There is no “one size fits all” answer to how much fluid is recommended and is very individualized. A general rule of thumb for calculating water needs is 30mL fluid/kg BW (may differ in obesity) or half your body weight in ounces.
Get enough sleep
-Sleep plays an important role in our physical health. It gives the body a chance to refuel and repair. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke (1).
Have a positive mindset
– The brain is an extremely powerful thing and some of us may need to “retrain” our brain to have positive thoughts to empower us. When you wake up in the morning tell yourself “I can do this!”
-Visualize the changes you want to make and get excited about them!
1. “Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.” National Lung and Blood Institute, US. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency.
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