Diet — Nutrition
- We often eat when we're not hungry. Before you eat, determine if you are really hungry.
- Am I hungry? If you're not sure, wait 20 minutes and ask again.
- When was the last time I ate? If it was less than two hours ago, it may not be real hunger.
- Could a small snack tide me over until the next meal? Have ready-to-eat fruit or vegetables on hand.
- Your mother was right; breakfast is important! Don't skip it. It jump starts your metabolism and may prevent you from binging later in the day.
- Need a tasty snack? Freeze a handful of grapes. They are refreshing and satisfying, yet more nutritious and lower in calories than many snacks.
- It's easy to be tempted by higher calorie, less nutritious food when you are hungry. Avoid going to the grocery store when you are hungry. Also try to prevent extreme hunger by having low calorie snacks readily available wherever you are — such as a piece of fruit or a baggie of carrots.
- Buy or make your own single-serving snack bags; read the label to determine a "single serving" size, usually 80–100 calories for a snack. Pre-packaged snacks will reduce your chance of overeating while snacking. Many snack foods now come in 100-calorie packs.
- If you feel about ready to give into an off-limits treat, try this. Chew a piece of gum and drink a glass of water.
- Try not to go more than four hours between eating a meal or snack; smaller, more frequent meals will help control hunger. Bring a healthy snack or plan where you can stop for a healthy bite when you know you'll be away from food for more than four hours.
- Make access to fruits and vegetables easy and convenient. After you grocery shop, take care of any necessary preparation work, like washing and cutting, before you put your fruits and vegetables in the fridge. You'll be more likely to reach for a healthy snack when it's ready to eat.
- When eating out, request that all condiments, dressings, and sauces come on the side and then use them sparingly. Also, ask how the meal is prepared and choose something that is baked, broiled, poached, steamed or grilled.
- Stay hydrated. Aim to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger. Keep a large bottle of water with you to drink throughout the day.
Exercise — Fitness
- Begin each workout with a warm-up. Warming up prior to exercise helps warm the body and gradually increases the blood volume needed to meet the body's demands during exercise.
- Stretch thoroughly after every workout. Stretching helps lengthen the muscles, reduce soreness and prevent injury.
- Plan ahead for exercise. Schedule time on your calendar, and treat it like an appointment.
- If you plan to exercise after work, keep your workout clothes in your car, or change into them before you leave work. It’s a lot harder to make an excuse to skip the gym when you’re already dressed and ready to go.
- If you are watching TV, make an effort to exercise during commercials. Also, put your remote control away and get up from your chair to change the channel.
- Make exercise enjoyable. Use headphones to listen to music, inspirational or motivational CDs or books on CD while walking. It is amazing how fast the time goes by when you are engaged in something you enjoy.
- Say "no" to blisters. Cotton socks can cause blisters, especially during activities like walking. Instead, purchase synthetic socks that wick moisture away from the skin. Also, make sure your shoes are comfortable and not too tight. There should be a thumbs width between your toes and the front of your shoes.
- Cool down. A good five minute cool-down is just as important as a warm-up. When your heart is pumping along with your workout and then you suddenly stop, it puts added stress on your cardiovascular system.
- Sleep. When you sleep, your body heals and gets stronger. Make sure you are getting enough sleep so you can make it through your exercise routine and stay focused on a healthy meal plan.
- Inform your friends and family of the goals that you're trying to reach and ask for their support. Having some accountability through others can be helpful.