Diet is a daunting word. You may have experienced shame or guilt after saying it when describing your current food choices. Or maybe you haven’t, but still, just the thought of limiting your food choices is scary and doesn’t seem realistic. The reality of it is, while we may be intimidated by the big scary word, there are ways to make it a little easier to achieve. It’s a matter of finding out tips, tricks, and realistic lifestyle changes that work for you.
Moreover, choosing a new diet doesn’t have to be about weight loss — you may just want to up your veggie intake. Whatever your reason, here are 5 realistic tips to improve your eating habits:
1. Create a New Menu
Eliminating certain foods is the largest challenge I had when changing my overall eating habits. Thankfully, Pinterest has a ton of great options for your new cookbook. And if you want to keep some of your favorite household recipes, you can! Just measure out how much you are serving and don’t over-do it. For example, only have one cup of pasta, not a huge bowl equivalent to 3 cups.
2. Find Snacks That Are Right For You
Healthy snacks are surprisingly hard to find but are hugely important to keep you going throughout the day — especially at work. Things you thought were healthy (like chewy granola bars) might not actually be as good for you as you’d think. Instead, look for simple snacks that have a short ingredient list. Some of my go-to snacks have been Crispy Minis (since there are a number of different flavors), Special K Cracker Chips (since they taste like regular chips and have different flavors), Veggie Straws, and popcorn (just don’t choose the extra buttery stuff).
3. Combat Distractions
It’s hard enough when you’re trying to change an ingrained habit — you really don’t need judgement or comments on your choices. One of the biggest distractions is when friends or family mock you for trying to stick to your routine while out at a restaurant or bar. Don’t let those people make you feel bad for making the choices that are right for you — it’s your life, not theirs. Moreover, until you find a comfortable balance, try to avoid going out to a restaurant (or with judgey friends) so you can avoid unneeded pressures..
4. Find A Balance That Works For You
You should avoid labeling food as “good” or “bad” — there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a steak, just like there’s nothing wrong with enjoying zucchini pasta with parmesan cheese. After all, changing your diet should not be about cutting your favorite foods out because they’re “not healthy.” For example, if you only ate broccoli, you would not be healthy — you need some grains, protein, and other nutrients. So don’t get hung up on whether a meal is “good” or “bad” — just listen to the hunger cues your body is telling you.
5. Treat Yo’self
It’s unrealistic to only eat only certain foods all the time. After all, you shouldn’t ever deprive your body of any one thing — balance is key! You deserve a mini celebration for your accomplishments, so don’t be afraid to indulge in a treat every now and then.
No change in diet should leave you feeling starved and defeated — even if your goal is to get to a different weight. If you find yourself obsessed with the scale, try to remind yourself that food is fuel, and your body deserves to be nourished with what it needs. There’s nothing wrong with making some changes to try to better your health. Follow these realistic tips and you’ll be on your way to new eating habits you’re proud of!
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