I have been on this weight loss journey for a long time, but I finally feel over the last 12 weeks or so that something has changed for me. I am making good food choices 80-90% of the time, when I do make a bad choice is a one time/day deal and not a total diet derailment. You know the kind of derailment I am talking about...it is Wednesday afternoon and you eat a candy bar and a box of macaroni and cheese (not that I have ever done this...wink, wink) and you think "well I messed up the diet, I will start again on Monday" then Thursday through Sunday you eat like it is your last meal because you are starting your diet on Monday! And the cycle continues....but not this time! This time has been different and I am going to share with you the 5 things that have really helped me this time around!
1. Clean out the Fridge
And I don't just mean, clean out the bad for you, foods. I mean a total overhaul of the refrigerator and the freezer while you are at it. I find that by the end of the week when I have thrown things in quickly or there are tons of leftovers around and the fridge gets messy, I don't make the best choices. This may seem silly, but it is so significant. When I open the fridge and I can see all my choices without having to move things around, I can easily make a good choice. When I have to push things around and look for things, I open the fridge and close it and think, we have nothing to eat!
2. Make a Meal Plan
This is huge! It is also the thing I really hate to do, but without it, we eat out more than we should! I have to make a plan, it doesn't have to be a daily plan where I plan, Monday we will have this and Tuesday we will have this...it can just be a simple list of 7 meals that you will make during the week and you can choose the days later. I will even sometimes write down that one day we are eating whatever and this doesn't mean that we don't have a plan, it just means your on your own and we are eating whatever we want. On a whatever night, we might do chicken nuggets a frozen meal, the kids will eat cereal a lot, we can heat up soup, just whatever we have on hand and we feel like making! It is the no plan, plan!
|An Example of one of my meal plans!|
3. Drink Lots of Water
This comes as no surprise to people. Drink water! We hear this everywhere. But it really does help to keep you feeling full and just overall makes your body feel better. My secret to drinking more water has been to drink out of a straw. I buy straws and I use them in my glasses at home and it has increased my water intake so much. When I have a straw in my drink I can drink an entire glass of water in just one sip. Really, I will often drink a glass of water down and then refill and drink that one a little more "leisurely." When I don't use the straw, I fill a glass and I take sips. Go away, come back take another sip. I just don't drink a glass as quickly without a straw. Try it!
|Here I am drinking from a straw while I write this post!|
4. Cut up Fruits and Veggies
This one is big! When I take the time to cut up fruits and veggies to have on hand, I am much more likely to eat them as snacks. Cut up cucumbers and bell peppers are a favorite in our house, dip them in some Ranch or hummus and they are a perfect snack. When I have the bowl in the fridge, cut up and ready to go, I can easily grab them as a snack or put them out as our veggie side for dinner. I don't know about your kids, but mine prefer raw veggies so this works great for us.
Fruit is a great snack especially in the summer! Even if you have to buy it already cut up, it is worth it. When I know I won't have time to cut something up or when I am just feeling lazy, I buy the already cut up fresh fruit. It is a bit more money, but how many times have you bought a cantaloupe and then thrown it out because you never cut it up and it goes bad? I know I have many times.
|I cut up the watermelon but bought the cantaloupe cut up!|
Always have cut up and convenient fruits and vegetables in your neatly organized fridge and see how it makes a difference in your eating!
5. Find Alternatives to your Cravings
This is a biggie and maybe the biggest or at least the biggest at certain times of the month, if you know what I mean! This time around, I have taken notice of my triggers. When during the month do I normally crave foods, what do I crave and how can I fulfill that craving without derailing my diet.
Here are some of my triggers and solutions...
I need some crunch with my lunch! Anyone else feel like this? Sometimes a carrot stick doesn't cut it. I found Special K Cracker chips. You can have 25-28 chips depending on the flavor for 3 points. They are delicious and I can fit a whole serving of them into my lunch points on most days. I get my crunch and some yummy flavor to round our my lunch and I am happy!
Later in the afternoon I will often get hungry and I often want something sweet. The Chocolate Fruit Smoothie has been a lifesaver. It fills me up and has enough sweetness to it, that it holds me over until dinner and calms my sweet tooth!
I LOVE peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate is heaven. I can eat it EVERY day and I would not get sick of it. Most days while dieting, I am eating it, but in a small quantity and that fulfills the craving for me and fits in my points. I found a blog, Drizzle me Skinny and she has mastered the art of drizzling and she has tons of recipes where she melts and then drizzles peanut butter and chocolate over things like apples and bananas and I started to do this and it is perfect. You get a little bit of the peanut butter taste in each bite, so you don't even realize that you only had a 1/2 TBSP! Perfection!
Now that I have figured out how to control my peanut butter and chocolate craving, what about that week in the month that I want to eat anything and everything sweet I can get my hands on? What I have started to do is find alternatives to the things I love. I love Oreo cookies and cookies and cream ice cream so I make Oreo bites...
When I make these low point snacks, even if I were to eat too many of them I would still be better off than if I ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (24-36 points) or sat and ate a row of Oreo cookies (24 points). Right? 10 Oreo bites would be a lot to eat and it would only be 10 points.
I love cupcakes so I make Strawberry Yogurt Cupcakes....
If I made regular cupcakes with frosting, they would be 5-9 points per cupcake. I could eat 5-9 of the mini cupcakes or 4 regular sized yogurt cupcakes for the same amount of points. Would you eat 4 cupcakes probably not, but if you did wouldn't you be more satisfied during that craving than you would eating just one regular cupcake?? You bet!
So try to find the foods you tend to go to and find a healthier alternative to it. Find a way to satisfy your cravings without hurting your diet. This makes the chances of you running to the store for Ben and Jerry's much less likely and that is key to helping you lose weight!
I am by no means perfect, and I am no expert, but these things have been so helpful for me that I had to share! Have a great day :)