The New Year has commenced. It's time to move forward and start eating smarter in 2019. So while your good intentions are at their peak, we’re giving you a quick look at some common diet saboteurs, along with strategies to overcome them!
Having an All-or-Nothing Attitude Being a perfectionist is a good thing. Not if it causes you to give up the second you have a slip! And that happens frequently when you set unreasonable expectations for yourself. You’re not perfect. No one is. Don’t let the inevitable break from perfection cause you to back out, or dictate you to start making smart food choices again next week, next month, and maybe the next year.
The Fix: There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and guidelines. But have a little grace for yourself when things don’t go according to plan. Just get right back on the healthy-eating bandwagon next time you get a chance. And take a minute to evaluate your goals. Are they truly attainable? Or are you setting yourself up for failure? Aim for improvement rather than perfection. If it’s been a while since you’ve routinely exercised, start with two days a week, not six. If a full diet overhaul sounds daunting, start by eating more fruits & veggies and limiting starchy carbs and sugary snacks.
Not Planning Ahead The greasy takeout dinner, the unhygienic fast foods we feast on so often. The list is long. So many poor eating choices can be prevented by doing some planning. It’s pretty much impossible to make smart food decisions when our options are limited and our stomach is talking louder than the sensible voice in our brain.
The Fix: Outsmart impulse eating by being prepared. Before your next supermarket trip, think about your weekly food needs and your schedule. If mornings at home are typically rushed, stock up on speedy breakfast staples, like Greek yogurt and ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs. Think about packing lunches and snacks, so busy afternoon eating becomes a breeze. Have some time over the weekend? Whip up a bunch of make-ahead recipes like these...
Falling Victim to Trigger Foods
Trigger foods aren’t foods you just really enjoy. Trigger foods are things that make you hungrier and unable to control your insatiable desire to eat more. For some of us, trigger foods can be salty, starchy snacks, like pretzels and chips. For others, they're sugary treats or carby comfort foods. Knowing your triggers is half the battle. And the best offense is a good defense.
You’ve got to avoid your trigger foods completely. This really comes down to knowing yourself. But if the lighter versions of your trigger foods set you on your way to an eating frenzy, do yourself a favor and avoid them altogether. By the way, if you find yourself in the middle of a trigger food binge, pop a mint or a stick of sugar-free gum in your mouth -- it’ll help!
Stress & Boredom
These things may seem like total opposites, but BOTH can drive us to mindlessly eat. If we need something to take the edge off a tense mood, we eat. If we have nothing going on at the moment and nothing else to do, we eat. For emotional eaters, any emotion we don’t want to feel can make food seem like a comforting solution.
Plan ahead with smart snacks: things like baby carrots, hard candy, and dessert-flavored tea. This way, if you mindlessly munch (or sip), you won’t do too much damage. Another solution: Look for non-food ways to get relief. Go for a walk, peruse your favorite online retailer’s website, or read a magazine (like the Hungry Girl magazine!). Also, don’t be afraid to face stress head-on! Whip up a to-do list so things seem less overwhelming and more manageable.