I write this New Years post to you while I’m sitting in my mother-in-law’s house in Texas. After a week of eating in a very American Christmas sort of way… Oh yeah, plus Tex Mex.
So you can imagine the state I am in — especially since I eat a pretty great, plant-based diet at other times, I definitely get caught up in the craziness sometimes. So I’m ready to re-charge and wanted to share these tips with you, because they are what I’ll be using really soon..
They are my all-time best tips that I use *myself* when I am at my peak healthy eating times. Enjoy and feel free to comment and let me know your best tips!
1. Throw out all the junk food in your house.
You want to give yourself the best advantage you possibly can when you start. So give yourself a truly fresh start!
I have to say that as a person with less-than-stellar self discipline when it comes to food, my main weapon is to make sure I don’t have the food in my house that tempts me. I’ve been using this tactic for years and for the most part, it works.
I even give myself a rule that if I’m going to binge, I can only do it once. Then I have to throw out the rest and can’t make the same mistake two days in a row. I honestly feel like I have saved myself from gaining quite a few pounds over the years with this rule.
And keeping the junk out of the house in the first place is much less tempting for me. I also try not to watch regular TV (because I can’t stand the commercials) but also because the commercials are always about food triggers, and they are very powerful subconsciously.
If you can get your partner on board with you, you’ll have even more success. Promise yourself to not bring in the junk, and you’ll be a step ahead.
2. Weigh yourself.
I know some people are against weighing yourself, but I find that if I don’t have a good idea of where I am now (and what I’ve done to myself), that I can easily slip into denying that I am any heavier…or hey, maybe the washer just really shrunk my jeans that time. Weird…oh well! *eats cookie*
If I’m being honest with myself, it should never be a bother to get on the scale. And I know that I usually never gain more than a pound or two from too much salt, and I’m never more than 3-4 days of clean eating to be at my baseline. But if I know where I’m at on the scale, I can assess the damage and get real with myself about the work ahead of me.
Just rip off the band-aid and do it. Unless your absolutely sure that you’re not gaining weight, it’s good to be honest with yourself. It is your health after all.
3. Track your current weight on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
I started doing this tip last year when I went on the 42-Day Challenge hardcore last summer and it proved to be super helpful actually. Every time I looked in the mirror (which is often when you go in the bathroom — especially if you have to pee 4,000 times per day because of how much water you drink :) I would see my current weight and be able to visualize where I wanted that number to go.
It’s the same concept as using a vision board when you want to visualize a goal in the future. I use this technique a lot when I have a specific or broad goal, and it always works. The more you focus on something, the more it will come true. It might not happen overnight, but it will come sooner than if you hadn’t visualized.
I have my favorite vision board statements on my bathroom wall:
“Everything Will Be Amazing”
and from an old fortune cookie:
“You will achieve lifelong health and financial independence.”
I also have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror of my favorite affirmation:
“I love and accept you exactly as you are.”
and even if sometimes I don’t feel them or believe them, they help to improve my mood every time I look at them. They also make me smile, and that’s never a bad thing.
Also: be prepared to have some explaining to do when company comes over to use your bathroom…but stick to your guns. You never know who you’ll positively impact with your good behaviors. :)
4. Write down what you will eat the day before – and cross them off as you go!
This is similar to the technique above but creates an active type of achievement. You’re actually taking a step towards your success the next day.
You’re taking care of Future You, who is a super important person. Almost even more important than Today You.
So what I do for this one is a mini-goal-sheet, which is pretty much the same as a To Do list with important priorities, but it encompasses all the goals I have for the day, not just work-related. So I’ll take a regular square Post-It note and write down activities and goals from waking to sleep, all the things I mean to get done. It generally looks a little something like this:
And then all throughout the day, I’ll have a field day with crossing things off the list. And I’ll do that for work things too. It takes only 3-4 minutes per evening to plan out what I’m going to do and eat for the next day, since it’s usually pretty fresh on my mind…but with this habit, I’ve been able to go 162 days in a row with practicing my Spanish (learning quickly!) and staying on task with work goals.
And when I make myself do it with food, I almost always succeed as well. I just have to get myself to do it and commit! (Lately, I haven’t been so disciplined, but soon!…)
I have found that all the times I’ve been super successful at whatever goal it is, it’s because I get disciplined like this.
5. Visualize 5-10 minutes per day achieving your health goals.
A friend of mine and I were talking about weight loss once, having a big “Tell-Each-Other-All-Our-Food-Issues” conversation, and he explained to me about a study he read where a researcher studied basketball players either practicing physically to make a free throw or mentally picturing themselves making free throws. After a period of time, the group who visualized themselves succeeding actually did much better than those who actually practiced the shot.
So he started to use this technique on himself, where for 20 minutes each night before bedtime, he would lay in bed and visualize himself losing weight. What it would be like to pick out smaller clothes from the closet and put them on and have them fit. What it’s like to be a person with strong resolve and will power towards food. Visualize getting on the scale and seeing the number drop. Visualize what different parts of your body will look like as you lose weight.
And using this technique, he actually was successful on his own diet. I’m not sure if it worked for me, but it probably did. It’s worth a shot at least, I say, as it will at least put you in a good frame of mind to visualize what you want.
6. Begin drinking 8 glasses of water per day.
I use this technique not as a method for weight-loss, but actually as a necessary method for preventing my kidney stones. From experience, I have found that actually drinking the recommended amount of water every day has allowed me to feel more satisfied with a smaller amount of food, and the hydration has done wonders for my skin and digestion.
These are all good things. Once you get used to going to the restroom a bit more, it slows down and you are more able to tolerate the larger amount of water. And your body loves it!
7. Eat 3 meals only.
This is an important concept for me, and one that I never followed before as a consummate “grazer”. I would pretty much always be eating during the day as a response to those articles that always say it improves your metabolism.
Well, from personal experience, I can say that it most definitely does not work for me. I find greater peace actually when I force myself to stick to just 3 meals a day — and to make them count. I try to eat as many high fiber foods as I can, so I can feel full for a long time. And it works.
And I’ve read from Dr Furhman, and a lot of other sources, that giving your body time to digest and become hungry again is an important method to improve your digestion and the way your body handles food.
8. Make a plan to eat 3 fruits and 3 vegetables per day.
This is a bare minimum amount, especially on the vegetable side. But you can plan this out just as you would any other meal of the day. And it is much easier to get this done when you have smoothies every day. I know some people aren’t smoothie type people, but I argue that it’s so easy, that you should try to do them every day anyway — as you would take a multi-vitamin or heart medication…you can very easily get 3 cups of spinach in a smoothie and not even taste it.
One of my favorites for a quick burst of amazing fruits and veggies is Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie. You might not be into the taste or texture at first, but it’s sooooo easy to just gulp down and be done with the vegetable part of most of your day.
My go-to favorite smoothie every day is my Chocolate Peanut Butter smoothie, which is the same as my Chocolate Orange smoothie, but with peanut butter instead of oranges and orange extract. (I’ll post the regular recipe soon) It’s the best weapon I use for cravings and bursts of veggies and amazing fruits.
9. Replace high-calorie, low-nutrient foods with lower calorie, nutrient- and fiber-dense foods.
This is my mantra pretty much. I find that whenever I eat higher fiber foods, I always feel fuller longer than if I were to eat regular animal-based foods. Of course, that means that you have to eat a LOT of them at one sitting, but it’s pretty easy to do when you find salad, smoothie and soup recipes that you really love.
I will be posting many more to come, but there are a lot on here already. As long as they are Nutritarian, or super close to it, you can rest assured that you can eat literally as MUCH of them as you want, unlimited, to your absolute fill..and you won’t be hungry until the next meal time (if that) and you will get low calories to slim down plus high nutrients to protect your body and health.
I can’t even tell you how many times I ate a huge Nutritarian meal for lunch and easily went the entire rest of the day without needing to eat again — or even desire to!
Once you “get it,” it’s hard to justify eating low-nutrient foods.
10. Replace refined grain foods with whole grain foods.
This is just an easy one for logic purposes, though I know it can be hard to do at first. I am a total pasta monster, but I find myself able to be much more satisfied when I eat foods with more fiber in them (as explained above).
When you eat foods that are lower in fiber (like white pasta or rice), it’s easier to overeat on them, because you don’t get the nutrient or fiber density that are imperative to creating food satisfaction. So instead of choosing short grain rice, try wild rice blends. Instead of rolled oats, try steel cut. And instead of white pasta, try wheat berries instead.
Your metabolism and ability to resist cravings will be much easier over time.
11. Cut out soda.
C’mon, this is an easy one. You already know about this one, but of course, it extends to any sugary drinks, including lemonade, that bottled tea at the store, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks. Cutting out these high-calorie sugary drinks will do wonders for your waistline and your blood sugar levels.
12. Try a new recipe every week.
When I was doing my 42 day challenge, I found it so super important to try a new recipe every week. It ensures you that you’ll always have something new, even if you don’t like it really, to experiment with and hopefully figure out new, interesting combinations that you hadn’t tried before.
You’ll learn new techniques and ingredients and methods of cooking, and it will always keep you on your toes. Instead of getting stuck in a rut, which can lead to falling off the wagon. Not that I know from experience or anything…
Ok! So I know there’s a lot here. And I would never expect someone to take on every single one of these things at once. But I know from experience, that these are the keys to keeping me on track. And when I can actually stick to all of them at once (lots of practice!), I feel my absolute best and my body really thanks me for it — physically and emotionally.
Give some of them a try starting in January (or right now!) and let me know how they work for you. I hope you find at least one in here that really makes a difference for you.
To Our Health!