7 Steps to Kick-Start Weight Loss
Making small changes really can add up to big differences in your weight, blood glucose levels, and overall health. Below are seven great tips for getting started. Choose one or two of the tips below to focus on this week, and write down how you plan to achieve it! For example, if your goal is to clean out your kitchen, pencil it in your schedule! If your goal is to avoid the grocery store when you’re hungry –make a shopping list now and commit to going after you’ve had a meal! Writing your goals down helps prevent disappearing thoughts and intentions. Just by writing down your commitments, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Clean out your kitchen
When you are feeling motivated and ready to make changes, take some time to evaluate the food that you keep in your kitchen. Start in the pantry and pull out any baked goods, chips, and any other high fat or sugary foods that you go for when feeling emotional. In the fridge, remove fatty dips and dressing, and in the freezer, toss out the ice cream and pizza. Stock up on fruits or vegetables to grab when you do need a quick bite. Put the healthiest items up front and evaluate your food staples honestly to see if they align with your health desires!
Swap out foods
Learning how to stop stress eating can take some time. Swap out some of your major offending foods for healthy ones to help keep you mindful of the situation. Craving sweets? Try mandarin oranges. For a crunchy texture, try portioned out packages of mixed nuts. If you want something creamy, go for a yogurt. As you learn to manage stress eating, you will begin incorporating healthier foods into the diet.
When you are stressed out or emotional, avoid going to the grocery store. Go for a walk, take a bubble bath, or read a book for a bit to re-center yourself. When you feel better, gather your shopping list and head to the store. Once there, stick to your list! You do not want to impulse buy unhealthy snacks or meals.
Watch out for after work cocktails
While drinking in moderation can be good for your health, it is easy to overdo it. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than one drink per day for women, or two drinks per day for men. “One drink” is considered one 12-oz beer, one 5-oz glass of wine, or one 1.5-oz shot of hard alcohol. Drinking beyond these limits can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and damaging your liver. The empty calories can also make it difficult to maintain your weight. Lowered inhibitions after drinking may increase your odds of digging into a late-night snack, further sabotaging your weight loss goals. Save the alcoholic beverages for special occasions and sip on seltzer waters instead.
Load up on veggies
Did you already have 2 servings of veggies for lunch? Great, you just have 3 more to go! Keep frozen vegetables without added sauces and jarred veggies like artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, and roasted peppers on hand for quick impromptu dinners. Being prepared with healthy foods in the pantry or freezer when fresh veggies run out will help you stick to the MyPlate principle, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”
Invest in cool food gadgets
A great example is an air-popcorn maker. It’s an easy and delicious way to increase your whole grain intake. Popcorn is low in calories and takes a while to eat, giving your brain the time it needs to register fullness signals. A new mini-blender is also a helpful addition to kitchen. It is low cost and can be used to whip up 100% fruit and veggie smoothies. You can even repurpose tools you already have. A handheld vegetable peeler can be used to make vegetable “noodles”. Parboil and top with your favorite pasta sauce for a quick and satisfying dinner.
Counter health sabotages
If you have a family member who keeps the freezer full of ice cream, counter the temptation with sweet frozen fruit, like mangoes and cherries. You can defrost them in the microwave and serve over vanilla yogurt with cinnamon. It’s a delicious dessert that will help you stay on track with your health goals.
Remember to commit to healthy living. We are what we repeatedly do, so work on creating new habits today that lead to a healthier you tomorrow.