Fell off the Health Wagon? Here are Some Tips to Get you Back on Track

Join the crowd! It’s not easy to change habits or make healthy choices when the majority of Americans don’t, especially if those making unhealthy choices are the people around you. If you have a friend or family member that is not supportive of your health goals, it may be difficult to stay on the health wagon. Here are some ideas that will help you get back on track:

1. Make daily movement a daily priority

Always ask yourself, how can I be more active? Even the smallest amounts of physical activity can add up! Walk to lunch instead of driving, or set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and move around every two hours.

2. Make a list of 5 go-to-healthy 15 minute meals

–then make sure your pantry is always stocked with the ingredients. Here’s an example: a wrap made with whole wheat tortilla, handful baby spinach, 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, 3 oz cubed grilled chicken, with a drizzle of Italian dressing. Check out these food prep tricks for busy families.

3. Plan ahead.

Planning is an integral part of a healthy diet. Plan out your snacks and beverages for the day by thinking ahead. Pack an apple with a peanut butter pouch for a long drive, or plan on sticking to one glass of wine instead of a sugar loaded cocktail for dinner with your friend. Spending a few hours on the weekend planning and prepping meals for the days ahead makes it easy to make healthy choices when work, stress, and other obligations take up the most space in your mind later in the week.

4. Find support

It may be difficult to stay on track without social support. Make it a priority to improve your health by finding someone with similar health goals. You could even look for a weight loss support group, where obstacles and success stories are shared, to help you keep on track. Be active in an online support group, but find a way to use social accountability!

5. Stop the junk cycle

Poor food choices during the day can lead to a pattern of poor choices later on. Break the cycle by getting right back on the wagon after you make a poor choice! You have not ‘doomed’ your healthy diet for the day. Instead of assuming you’ve ‘ruined’ your day with one unhealthy choice and vowing to re-start tomorrow, get right back on the wagon! Commit to making your next snack or meal choice a healthy one to minimize any diet damage. Then get out of the kitchen or house and away from the temptation. Take a walk for energy, or if needed, get some sleep.

6. Leave your stomach 1/4 to 1/3 empty when you’re done with a meal

And say a few words of gratitude for the foods that nourished your body and mind. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. For some of us, this is after we’ve already finished a meal. Therefore, if you plan to eat until you’re almost full, you’ll be less likely to be overstuffed at the end of a meal.

7. Avoid boredom or relaxation eating

When we’re bored and within reach of the kitchen, we may unconsciously reach for foods, even if we’re not hungry. More often than not, these foods are unhealthy and full of fat and empty calories. Without even noticing, we can go through a whole box of cookies or a whole bag of chips. If you know that you’re prone to this type of eating, plan to remove yourself from the situation. When you find yourself sitting on the couch with nothing to do, grab your favorite book and head outside to the nearest bench, or call a neighbor and go for a short walk. Being proactive can be the best way to prevent unwanted snacking. And be aware that visual cues can affect your waistline.

8. Weigh in!

Regularly weighing yourself keeps you honest. If your weight starts to creep up, take a look at your daily choices, and try to determine which old habit has worked its way back in. Catching unwanted weight gain early makes it easy to readjust and get back on track.

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