It's springtime again! Time to pack away the sweaters and wool socks, bust out the shorts and tanks and dream about beautiful beach days and backyard get togethers with family and friends. Then, a quick sense of dread washes over you. Ugh, the thought of putting on the bathing suit. It's been so long. Is is going to fit? Do I even want to try? What a long winter of eating comfort foods and watching sports, and movies and not doing a whole lot of exercise. Yikes. That's it. I'm starting today. I'm going to start eating right today.
So often we have the best intentions but before we know it, derailed. Again. Why is it so damn hard to stay on track? And what can we do to better our chances of actually fitting into that suit again when the time comes? Here are five ways to keep your healthy eating plan on track for summer (and beyond!):
1. Eliminate Temptations
Can't say no to ice cream? Get it out of the house! "It's for the kids" you say? Let them go out for ice cream once in a while, for a treat. No one needs to be eating ice cream every day, so you don't need it in the house. My weakness is the chips. The kids like something a little snacky in the school lunch and potato chips seem like the least of snack food evils (no creepy ingredients, just potatoes, oil and salt), so we sometimes have these on hand. I have a MAJOR weakness for potato chips. They call to me. At times, relentlessly. Especially if that big o'll bag is already open. How do I get around it? If that big bag is in the house I make rules about it. Only eat chips with lunch (not just to snack away mindlessly on) and only put a few on the plate, put them away and leave them alone. The other solution (besides not buying them for a while, which is probably the best solution) is buying the individual bags for their lunches instead of that huge sack. I'm way less likely to get into them if I have to open them up, and if I do, at least there's a set amount in that bag. Do what you've got to do to eliminate temptation.
2. Make Eating Out a Treat
So just like going out for ice cream should be a treat, make eating out in general a treat or something you do on a special occasion. It's just WAY too easy to eat bad when you have all of those gooey, greasy, cheesy, saucy goodies at your request. At home, you have full control over what you eat. You can make healthy food taste good on your own terms. So take a break from eating out, and you'll appreciate it more when you do!
3. Focus On Healthy, Not Skinny
If your number one concern is "getting skinny", you're more apt to do unhealthy things like skipping meals, eating "diet food" or low fat, low cal, processed junk. These things are not necessarily healthy and they won't serve you well in the long run. When we focus on healthy, we treat ourselves right, we eat more whole foods, things that leave us feeling good and not gross. Eat like you love yourself. Be kind to your body, it's the only one you get.
4. Forget the Numbers
Piggy backing off of #3, don't make it about a number on a scale or wearing a certain size. Judge your progress primarily by how you feel. Eating healthy makes you feel good, you'll want to keep at it. Exercising (once you get past the initial shock of it all...if you're just starting out, that is) gives you energy, boosts your mood and increases your confidence. The point here is, if you never get into that certain size (especially if it's the one you were in high school) but you feel awesome, confident, beautiful and energized? That is way more motivation to stay on track! To hell with the number, it means nothing.
5. Keep Track of What You Eat
Keep a journal, notebook, use My Fitness Pal or your Fitbit, write in your planner, whatever you want but keep track for at least two to three weeks. Sometimes just laying it all out in front of you can be an awakening. Seeing several meals in a row that don't provide much nutritionally, will serve as an eye opener and hopefully get you back on track. There's another way that tracking works for you, especially if you're diligent about writing everything down...you may think twice about downing a baguette while you cook dinner (no one wants to have to write that down)!
Go finish getting your summer garb out, don't get all freaky about it and be patient with yourself. You've totally got this.