Seems like people always make New Year's resolutions to eat smarter and lose weight, but then they give up within a week or so. Why does this happen, and how can I avoid having that happen to me?
-"Nervous in Nantucket"
Happy 2010! Great question. So many people say they're going to start eating better in January, and then two weeks later, they're back to their old habits. I have a theory about why this happens: I think it's about setting unrealistic goals. But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are my TOP ATE tips for successful eating in 2010...
1. Don't go "on a diet." While diet plans can be helpful, if you think of yourself as being "on a diet," everything can become too black and white. If you're "on a diet" and suddenly you have a little setback, you may decide you're "off your diet" and go back to your old ways. Think of your new eating plan as more of a lifestyle change -- one that will have ups and downs, with good days and bad.
2. Don't deprive yourself. A food plan shouldn't be about deprivation. It should be about SATISFACTION. Find foods you LOVE -- things that satisfy you but are better choices than the fat-packed alternatives. This is KEY.
3. Drink lots of water. Water is good for you. It's good for your skin and your metabolism. And it helps fill you up. Plus, not getting enough water can make you cranky and more likely to make bad food choices.
4. Listen to your body. It knows things. If eating cereal for breakfast tends to make you hungrier throughout the day, then don't eat cereal in the morning. Pay close attention to your body cues. This will help tremendously.
5. Live one day (or even one MEAL) at a time. Don't be discouraged and beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and eat badly -- just be aware and make better decisions at your next meal.
6. Get exercise with activities you enjoy. I used to HATE exercising. I feared it. Now I exercise but only do what I like (which happens to be walking on a treadmill five times a week, while watching reality TV, and weight training twice a week with a friend). Find something you actually enjoy doing, and you'll do it. Don't take on an exercise routine that causes pain or discomfort -- you'll just end up ditching it completely. (And I know this isn't an EATING tip, but it's important!)
7. Let yourself cheat a little. Everyone strays once in a while. It's totally normal. Splurge when you need to, and enjoy it. (Don't feel guilty!) Then get RIGHT back on track to prove to yourself that you can handle a cheat meal now and then.
8. Keep track of what you eat. Write it down. As dorky as it sounds, you WILL 100% without a doubt make better choices if you hold yourself accountable for what you eat by keeping a food journal. Just do it -- even if you only write in it every OTHER day.