When we make goals that are vague, like “I want to lose weight,” we set ourselves up to fail but being specific about your goals will help you find motivation and success. Being specific gives you clarity because you’ve spelled out exactly what success looks like. That means more motivation — and better odds of success. Motivation happens when your brain detects a difference between where you are and where you want to be. When you are specific about your goal (I want to lose 10 pounds), that difference is clear, and your brain starts throwing resources (attention, memory, effort, willpower) at the problem.
Reinforce new, healthy habits. Habits take time to develop. It doesn’t happen overnight. When you do find yourself engaging in an unhealthy habit, stop as quickly as possible and ask yourself: Why do I do this? When did I start doing this? What changes do I need to make? Be careful not to berate yourself or think that one mistake “blows” a whole day’s worth of healthy habits. You can do it! It just takes one day at a time!
Replace unhealthy habits with new, healthy ones. For example, in reflecting upon your eating habits, you may realize that you eat too fast when you eat alone. So, make a commitment to share a lunch each week with a colleague, or have a neighbor over for dinner one night a week. Other strategies might include putting your fork down between bites or minimizing other distractions (i.e. watching the news during dinner) that might keep you from paying attention to how quickly — and how much — you’re eating.
Food diaries are a proven aid to people pursing weight loss. Keep track of what you’ve eaten and how many calories the food contained. If you also keep a record of your exercise, you can compare how many calories you’re burning to how many calories you’re consuming. You can carry a small notebook and log everything or use an app: MyNetDiary, Loselt, MyFitnessPal, and MyPlate are four popular apps to track calories.
A list so long, you are bound to find some healthy options you’ll really enjoy! Use the following meals and snacks to help build your meal plan. Each meal contains about 300 calories. Each snack is 100-200 calories.
- 1⁄2 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1⁄2 cup fruit cocktail in juice. 140 Calories
- 1 small piece of fruit, 1 mozzarella cheese stick. 140 Calories
- 1 hard boiled egg, 1 piece of fruit. 145 Calories
- 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter, 1⁄2 toasted English muffin. 155 Calories
- 8 ounces fat free plain yogurt, 1 piece of fruit. 200 Calories
- 1 cup cucumbers, 2 tablespoons low fat cream cheese, 1 large rectangular graham cracker, 1 tablespoon peanut butter. 200 Calories
- 1⁄2 Protein Bar. 200 Calories
- 1⁄2 cup Edamame. 130 Calories Continue reading Healthy Low Calorie Meal and Snack Ideas
Swap out the high-calorie or high-fat snacks in your diet for healthier alternatives. Fruits, low-fat string cheese, peanut butter, and whole-grain crackers are some good options. Create snacks that combine carbohydrates and proteins, like peanut butter on apple slices, as they will make you feel full longer.
Skipping meals sounds like a good idea, but it actually undermines your weight-loss plan. Your body thinks it is being starved and starts building body fat in an attempt to store energy away for later. On top of that, you’re likely to be even hungrier for your next meal and eat far more than you would have otherwise. The best course is to eat three small meals, with two or three small snacks in between.
Vegetables contain plenty of fiber and bulk but few calories. By eating them first, you might eat less of any fatty or high-calorie items on your plate.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a long night’s rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and give you energy for the rest of the day. Really want to kick-start your metabolism? When you first wake drink a tall glass of fresh water and eat some fresh fruit. Then be sure to eat the rest of your breakfast within 2-hours of waking up.
The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat. Snacks should contain an assortment of nutrients just as your meals do.