Whether you dove into a plate of nachos at a bar, ate one too many burgers at a party, or spent the day repeatedly reaching into a bag of chips in your recliner, odds are you’re ready to eat a little “cleaner” this next week. Rather than opting for something extreme like a diet or cleanse, I recommend following some basic tips that will get you back on track and help you stay there. Here’s how:
- Cut back on sweets, processed snacks, and meat. These items are for the occasional indulgence, not everyday. If you wanted to get serious, you could give these foods up for a week or so, to allow your body to readjust to a new healthy routine, and to reduce cravings.
- Eliminate alcohol for awhile, or reduce to 1-2 drinks per weekend, and no alcohol during the week.
- Drink enough water. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so when you find yourself hungry or craving a snack, have a glass of water first. If you’re really hungry, you’ll still be hungry after the water, but at least you’ll know for sure. Water before a meal might also help you eat less at the meal (some research has shown this).
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. This does not mean add lettuce to your cheeseburger, but rather replace some of what you’re eating now with vegetables. If you normally have meat, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable for dinner, replace the potatoes with another lower calorie vegetable and choose a leaner meat.
- Don’t drink your calories. Stick to water and other calorie-free beverages like sparkling water, herbal tea, iced tea, and the occasional diet soda if you’re craving a treat.
- Avoid doing anything extreme. Like I mentioned above, avoid cleanses, “detoxes,” or any diet that requires you give up foods you love. These types of plans don’t last, so whatever bad habits you eliminate will soon reappear. Instead, make a commitment to reduce your consumption of unhealthy foods.
- Look for pleasure. Vegetable-based dishes can be just as delicious as more high-calorie food, if you venture outside the traditional steamed veggies and boring salads. Get creative (and use the ideas on Eating Made Easy!) so that you look forward to healthy meals instead of dreading them.