Defeat Your Cravings!
It is inevitable for anyone to start feeling sluggish and/or crummy after the holidays are over for a number of reasons, including paying off those credit cards, but to also start looking towards the new year and possible "New Year's Resolutions!"
Two of the big issues with eating junk food for an extended period of time is that not only do you begin to feel crummy (from sugar-crashing), but you also tend to get terrible cravings in the wake of your new healthy eating plan. Not to fear, however, as I am here with a few tips to help you shut your cravings up and help you start the year off on the right foot!
One of the main reasons many diets and lifestyle changes fail for so many individuals is because they set their goals too high, or too far into the future. For example, someone may say, "I am not going to eat any junk food for 6 months!" When they suddenly come across that piece of chocolate cake for dessert, one little "slip-up" seems like such a small ripple over a 6-month period.
Instead, try and set short little goals for yourself to start out with and plan on expanding them later as you accomplish them. For example, say, "I plan on giving up all sweets for the rest of this week." Once you get to the end of the week and realize that you are still alive, you can then start formulating your next goal.
Keep a Food Journal
Start writing down how you feel each day once you start changing your diet, such as your mood, body aches/pains, etc. You may soon realize how much better you feel just from changing what you eat. You will also realize that the saying, "you are what you eat" really does carry some meaning.
I remember when I used to eat junk all the time, I used to get canker sores in my mouth and heartburn quite regularly. Now that I have cut a lot of the junk out of my diet, I can't remember the last time I got a canker sore, and heartburn only arises on very rare occasions!
One Little slip-up...
So your friend just had their 20th/30th/40th/etc. birthday party and you had a few pieces of cake and a few too many cocktails, so what, move on! One bad meal/snack is not going to totally derail your results. Having said that, do not for a second think that you are fooling anyone (yourself included) if you think you can "reward" yourself every few days for eating healthy.
If you have a cheat meal/snack, make sure you follow that up with at least 9 healthy meals/snacks to counteract your bad behavior. Tony Horton uses an system that I really like called the 90/10 plan. He says that 90% of the time he eats healthy, the other 10% of the time, he allows a little cheat. If you are eating wholesome, healthy foods 90% of time, trust me, that 10% will hardly even seem like a blip on the radar.
Find Your Motivation
If you plan on dieting and exercising so that you can look good in a bathing suit on the beach, guess what? That is never going to last! You need to discover a true motivation inside of yourself that allows you to push through and stick with your goals no matter what.
If you are married and have kids, use them as your motivation. Maybe you want to stay youthful and healthy so you can play with your kids and spend many active years together with them. If you are still young and single, remember that what you do now lays a healthy foundation for the rest of your life. Either way, find something that has actual meaning to you, and use that to keep you going!
You have probably heard of this one before, but I will say it again. When you roll out of bed in the morning, your body is essentially running on an empty tank. If you skip breakfast, by the time you reach mid-morning or lunch time, your brain and body are absolutely screaming for something to eat which usually clogs your judgement as you reach for something calorie-dense.
I know a lot of nutritionists advocate breakfast, which works for a lot of people to help start the day off right, but I know that it is not for everyone (myself included). If you are absolutely dead-set against breakfast, at least do me a favor and try and make sure you are eating something every couple of hours throughout the day. The more you stay on top of your own hunger, the less-likely you are to reach for something unhealthy. Have healthy snacks nearby all day such as fruit, nuts, etc.
Clean Out Your Cupboards
I like to live by the adage that if something isn't in my house, I am not going to eat it. Quite often I get cravings for things late at night. At that point, I have a few options (assuming the stores are still open), I can either drive to go and get something unhealthy to cram into my stomach, or I can just make due and find something healthier to eat in my fridge. 99% of the time, I end up staying home because that is much more appealing to me than to head out.
When you are at the grocery store, stay away from the junk. That way, if its not in the house when you are craving it, chances are, you won't go out at that time to get it!
Here's to a healthy and happy 2012!