Dear Fitness Coach,
I have spent practically the last two decades losing weight and then gaining it all back. I know I do not make healthy food choices. I always seem to have a good excuse why I am not eating better: whether it’s cost or convenience or my teenage sons (who eat junk food but never seem to gain weight). I am tired of feeling sluggish, I am tired of wearing elasticized stretch pants, but most of all I am tired of making excuses.
It’s tough to eat healthy. Just drive up and down any commercial strip, and you will see plenty of fast-food joints, donut shops and ice cream stands. Most social interaction involves some kind of food and drink; whether it’s meeting friends for dinner, business associates for lunch, or family at the weekend for barbecues. This is not to mention the high-calorie unhealthy temptations you have right at home in your kitchen. If your budget is more Walmart than Whole Foods, that will just add to the challenges of consistently eating healthy.
However, you will need to stop coming up with excuses why you are not eating healthy and focus on the reasons to eat healthy. Unhealthy habits are hard to change, but not impossible.
The following are six tried-and-true ways that can result in better eating if you make them a habit:
1. Don't drink your calories
Save your calories for nutritious foods that will fill you up. Sip cal-free drinks, water, seltzer, and tea.
2. Eat breakfast
Even if you are not hungry. Studies show that if you skip breakfast, you will overeat for the rest of the day.
3. Portion control
Avoid family-style meals or buffet tables. If you stay with one serving you will prevent overeating.
4. Plan your meals and snacks
Do not leave anything to chance, as when you are hungry you will give into temptation more easily. Bring your lunch and pack healthy snacks. Have portioned-out snacks at home that you grab in a pinch. Keep ready-to-eat fruit and veg within easy reach.
5. Keep temptation out of sight
Do not bring trigger foods into the house. Everyone will benefit if you have only healthy food choices at home.
6. Eat slowly
It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full, so it should take you at least that long to eat.