Leave 2013 Weight in the Past

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The holidays are behind us. We have enjoyed the parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I know I’ve cooked more sweets in the month of December than I have in six months. I enjoyed cooking it and enjoyed giving the sweets out as gifts. Today is a new day; it’s time to get back on track. So, let’s make a decision to leave 2013 weight in the past and move on to making healthier food choices in 2014. Make up in your mind to incorporate healthier snacks and meals in your daily life.

I saw some tips on Web MD and just had to share. Tips like those help me to reach my weight loss goals. So, I added additional comments at the end of each tips (they have ** next to them)
Below are some tips to get you started. Make it a priority to following the tips below ( at least some of the tips). Say them to yourself often or post it on your refrigerator:

1. I want to eat more fruits and veggies
Eat at least one more vegetable or fruit at every meal. Keep cut-up raw veggies in the front of the fridge and fruit on the counter where you’ll see it. Have healthy dips on hand, like hummus, peanut butter, and low-fat yogurt. Load extra veggies into your sandwiches, pizzas, salads, soups, and omelets.
** Eat fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Be careful of the amount of fruit you consume due to the natural sugar. Sugar can slow down your weight loss. Fresh fruit is definitely a healthier option than a candy bar.

2. I want to eat less fast food
Try to reduce fast-food temptations. Take a different route to avoid seeing drive-through restaurants. Keep fruit or nuts with you to tie you over until you get home or to work. If you can’t resist, choose lower-calorie options like grilled chicken or low-fat chili. And look for fruit or veggie options like a salad (watch the dressing) or plain baked potato as a side. Order regular or small sizes, and avoid value meals.
** Keeping healthy snacks and bottled water in your car will help to prevent those fast food stops. Some good options are raisins, nuts, dried cranberries and fresh fruit.

3. I want to snack healthier
Eat one more healthy snack a day. Instead of reaching for cookies or chips, enjoy a small handful of nuts or trail mix, or low-fat yogurt (watch for added sugar). Take advantage of fresh fruit in season. Citrus fruits like oranges are especially good because they take time to peel and eat. Eat pretzels or a few whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese.

4. I want to dine out less
Plan every day so your only option isn’t a restaurant. Use a slow cooker so a hot, healthy meal is ready and waiting for you when you come home at dinner time. Cook more than you need, and freeze half. Then you’ll have frozen meals you can take out whenever you need them. You can even make easy-to-fix healthy breakfasts — like oatmeal with fruit — for lunch or dinner.

5. I want to avoid mindless eating
Eat only when you’re actually hungry. When you feel satisfied — but before you feel full — stop eating, even if there’s still food on your plate. Don’t sit in front of the TV or computer when you eat. Multitasking leads to overeating. Pay attention to your food. When you tune in to your appetite signals, you’re less likely to eat just because you’re bored.

6. I want to snack less at work
Get unhealthy snacks out of your office — or at least out of plain sight. You’ll eat less if you don’t have food within easy reach. If you tend to graze mindlessly at work, don’t keep unhealthy food at your desk.
** Snacking is not necessarily a bad thing. Just choose healthy snacks. Eating every 3 hours keeps your metabolism revved up and prevents overheating at the next meal.

7. I want to eat smart at restaurants
Just like eating at home, planning can help you make smarter choices in restaurants. Find one that serves a children’s menu or smaller portion sizes. Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you overeat. Have a healthy snack beforehand. Or start with a clear (not creamy) soup or salad. Cut your meal in half and take one half home. Or split an entrée with a friend. Ask the waiter not to bring any bread or tortilla chips to your table.

8. I want to eat less sugar
Give up one sugary soda a day. Cutting just one can of regular cola means losing more than 30 grams of sugar — or about 8 teaspoons — from your diet. Replace sodas and other sugary drinks with diet soda, water or unsweetened tea. Other ways to cut sugar: Fresh fruit or fruit canned in water or juice has less sugar than fruit canned in syrup. And choose unsweetened cereals.
** I am not a fan of sodas period. I haven’t had a soda since since March 2013. Regardless if it’s regular or diet, it’s all bad for you. There will be more to come on that topic later. If you are a soda drinker, I recommend you start cutting back on them until you have them completely out of your diet.

9. I want to eat breakfast every day
If you’re too rushed in the morning to make breakfast, take it with you to eat at school or work. Portable breakfast items can include granola or breakfast bars, containers of yogurt, instant oatmeal packets, or pieces of fresh fruit. Muffins, bagels, and other baked goods are often larger than a single serving — consider portion sizes carefully. Even if you don’t like typical breakfast foods, it’s important to eat something in the morning to fuel your body.
** Some breakfast options could also be: whole wheat bagel or English muffin with boiled eggs or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a smoothie (homemade), omelets (that you cooked the night before) or bran cereal (with high fiber and high protein).

10. I want to plan to eat right
Don’t give up on healthy eating just because you’re out of time. Have a healthy-eating plan in place for days when you work late or have errands to run. Keep nutritious snacks with you, like trail mix, whole grain cereal, or fruit. Keep healthy foods in your freezer. Learn which restaurants and supermarket delis have salad, soup, or grilled chicken so if you have to eat “to go,” you can make healthy choices.
** Planning is definitely the key when it comes to eating clean. If I know I have a busy week coming up, I utilize the weekend to prep my meals for the upcoming week.

11. I want to eat smart at parties
Eat a healthy snack before you go, so you won’t overeat at the buffet. Fill a small plate with at least half fruit and veggies. Limit your portions of desserts and high-calorie dishes to just a taste — a bite or two. Once you’ve eaten, step away from the food. If you have a conversation around the buffet table, it’s too tempting to just keep snacking.

12. I want to keep track of what I eat
Keep a food journal to pay attention to what you eat and how you feel when you eat it. You may be surprised by your eating habits. You can write down your meals or download an app for your smart phone or tablet. You don’t have to track your meals every day. Just track it one day a week or for a few days to get an idea of what and how you eat.
** A food journal keeps you accountable. Sometimes we may not aware of the amount of food we actually consume until we look back the journal. Also, keep track of the times you are eating.

13. I want to learn to say “No”
Stay strong when it comes to healthy eating. The waiter might tell you that you can’t have sauce on the side. Your coworker might pressure you to try her homemade treats. Remember that every bite adds up, so it’s important not to give in over and over. Explain why you’re saying no if you want to — or just politely decline. You don’t owe people an explanation, but you owe yourself good health.

14. I don’t want to overeat
Think small. Trade your large plates and silverware for small ones. Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating,” says we eat 22% less on a 10-inch than a 12-inch plate. Use a tablespoon, not a serving spoon, to dish out portions. Think about what you put on your plate to make sure you really want it. Serve from the stove instead of the table, so second helpings aren’t right in front of you. Eat slowly so your body has time to tell your brain you’re full.

15. I want to find support to eat healthy
It’s easier to be strong when you have family or friends on your side. Ask a buddy or family member to eat healthy with you. Hold each other accountable. Don’t make healthy meals or snacks just for yourself but let your family eat what they want. Everyone should eat healthy. Then if someone is tempted to slip, the whole team is there for support. Or use technology to download an app or find a web site that will keep you on track.
**For the most part, my husband eats what I prepare. He may complain about the brown rice or pasta or the steamed veggies (which aren’t cooked to a mush), but he still eats it. I owe it to myself and my husband to make sure we eat nutritious meals. I can’t control what he eats away from home but at least I have input on what meals are available at home.

16. I want to be successful
Make one small, specific healthy eating goal at a time and then reward yourself for meeting it. Don’t overwhelm yourself by making many changes at once. Post reminders where you can see them every day or set a reminder on your smart phone. Try not to reward yourself with foods that undo your healthy eating habits. But find some other way to celebrate meeting goals. How about gourmet herbal teas or a massage?

Additional tops which help me reach my goals:
1. I do not go to bed within 2 hours of eating my last meal.
2. I minimize the sodium.
3. I exercise 5 days a week.
4. I minimize fried foods.
5. I increased my water intake; I drink mostly water all of
the time. If water is a challenge for you try adding lemon
or cucumber slices for a clean refreshing taste.
6. I read food labels to ensure (sugar, sodium are minimize
and fiber and protein are on the higher end). Protein and
fiber keeps you satisfied longer; also we need at least
25 grams of fiber daily for good colon health.
7. I minimize processed foods, such as frozen entrees or prepackaged precooked
foods. If you cook it yourself, you know exactly what is in the dish.

Set goals using the SMART system. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). In other words, in the goal setting process make sure you use the SMART system.

You do not have to tackle the entire list initially. If you swap out one or two bad habits for a couple of healthy habits, that is a start. If you stick with it, you may even notice a difference by just making small changes.

It is all about taking that step to change your life so you can live the best possible life and remember that today is a new day.

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