Eat a little healthier. Lose weight. Get in shape. These are a few of the common resolutions that people set for themselves every year. However, there’s a reason that January 17 is unofficially heralded as “Ditch Your Resolution Day.” Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated for a full day, much less an entire year. When it comes to eating healthier, just remember: it’s not about changing up your entire routine right away, it’s about making simple transitions you can stick with. Here are a few simple tips to help make the transition easier.
1. Make Small Changes, but Stick to Them
Making huge, sweeping changes to your lifestyle will only make the transition more difficult. Instead of extreme, lofty goals like, “only drink juice cleanses for two weeks” or “lose 20 pounds in a month,” choose one food resolution – eat fewer sweets, add fish to your weekly diet, buy fresh fruit – and stick to it. Overloading yourself with too many expectations will make it easier to break them. Changing your diet ultimately means making changes to all of your habits – how you shop, where you eat, and when – so start small, but stay firm.
2. Give Your Food Attention
When your brain is focused on other tasks, overeating is easy. You can absentmindedly consume a lot of food if you’re working or watching a movie at the same time because your brain is not paying attention to how full you are or how much you’ve eaten. It’s a good goal to only eat when you’re not distracted (or to only eat discrete quantities of food when you are distracted).
3. Exercise Your Willpower
Just like you can go to the gym and work out, you can exercise your will power too. Self-restraint is a rational desire that can easily be overruled by our more primitive survival impulses; we get joy in the form of dopamine from doing all sorts of things that we know we will ultimately regret. The more you refrain from following those impulses – eating that last donut, indulging in another slice of pizza – the stronger your resolve will get.
4. Leave the Junk at the Store
Making yourself leave the house to enjoy sweet treats is a good way of breaking out of your overeating habits. Instead of buying those foods in bulk at the grocery store, go to your local ice cream shop or bakery instead. That way, those rich fatty foods will be limited to one serving, rather than just being around to indulge in whenever.
5. Live As Stress-Free as Possible
A huge part of successfully transitioning into healthy eating is making sure you’re at your best every day. Get more sleep! Get checked up. Do what you need to unwind and relax. Even if you start small, dieting is a big commitment, so you should stack the odds in your favor as much as possible.
Photo Credits: A Teenager’s Guide To, Polwig, Echorou Online, Country Living