Here are six simple strategies that have been shown to increase the success of adopting a healthy eating lifestyle.
1. Make a Specific Commitment
A cornerstone of success of the Healthy U program is harnessing the power of commitment–including follow up. Making a commitment to a new practice for a specific time period significantly increases the likelihood of successfully turning the practice into a habit. We recommend a 90-day commitment because it provides sufficient time to work through challenges, experience results, and establish good habits.
2. Enlist a Friend or Family Member
Teaming up with someone else who has similar goals is a great way to increase motivation by giving and receiving support as you are working towards your goals and adopting new habits.
3. Don’t Go Hungry!
There’s no need to go hungry to achieve your weight and healthy eating goals. In fact, you should avoid being hungry, you’ll make better choices! It’s far more important what you choose to eat than how much. Eat enough healthy foods to get and stay full. If needed, add extra oranges or grapefruit to your breakfast, pistachios or almonds to your snacks, cottage cheese to your salad, and so forth.
4. Plan Ahead
Especially as you are establishing new, better habits, it’s essential that you plan ahead. Meal prep for the entire week if you can, the day before at a minimum. If you will be running errands, plan for and take a healthy snack with you. Don’t put yourself in situations where you find yourself hungry but with no plan for a healthy, balanced meal or snack!
5. Remodel Your Kitchen
No, not the cabinets and countertops, we’re talking about the food choices in your pantry, fridge and cupboards. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when you replace the temptations in your environment with healthy alternatives! At the beginning of your commitment, take a day to get rid of the stuff that won’t help you achieve your goals and stock up on the stuff that will!
6. Allow Yourself an Occasional Treat
It’s been proven that we can only deny ourselves so much before our willpower bends or breaks. It’s OK to plan for an occasional treat, such as once a week and/or at special occasions, such as a birthday party. Eat modest portions of course, and consider eating more proteins and healthy fats and fewer carbs than normal during the accompanying meal, since the dessert will be carb heavy.