So you splurged over the holidays and resolved to eat right in 2011. You started strong, but now, three weeks in, a crowded calendar is crowding out your best intentions. Donít let your healthy eating resolutions take a detour. To get back on the right track, follow these smart eating tips and tricks from Mary Davis, nutrition coach at the Personal Training Institute in West Caldwell.
Keep a journal. From Davisí experience, the biggest thing that helps is food journaling. Why? "Writing down what youíre putting in the body makes you more conscious ó and accountable," says Davis. It can also help you notice patterns in emotional or mindless eating. To follow it, list everything you eat and drink, what you were doing at the time, and how you were feeling as you ate.
Create goals. But, start small, urges Davis. If you go after a big goal, you may fall off the wagon because itís unattainable. What you want to do is choose small, weekly goals, such as shedding one to two pounds per week. (Which is the key to lasting weight loss.) "When you lose weight too quickly, you lose muscle mass ówhich lowers metabolism ó and chances are, the weight is going to come back and then some," explains Davis. Go slow and steady ó youíll be more successful in the long run.
Drink more water. "Waterís crucial," says Davis. "It helps metabolize fat in the body and cleanse our system." The rule of thumb: take your weight and divide by two ó thatís the minimum ounces you should be drinking. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need to drink at least 80 ounces of water. And Davis advises adding another glass of water for every soda (diet or regular) that you drink. If youíre not a water drinker, just increase the amount a little bit each day (remember, keep your goals small!) to make it a healthy habit.
Eat every three hours. Eating five to six times per day will keep your metabolism humming along. Davis recommends three meals and two to three healthy snacks, such as fruits, veggies and nuts ó and choose whole foods over processed. And be sure to start with breakfast. Your metabolism is a little sluggish in the morning, so you want to fuel it when you wake up so your body can start burning calories. "People who donít eat breakfast are behind the 8 ball," says Davis. "By the time they eat, any calories they take in are not going to burn off because they havenít jumpstarted their metabolism." A balanced breakfast is preferred, but even a banana will do ó something to get the metabolism going. And then, eat a few hours after that. Itís like driving a car with very little fuel. The carís going to be chugging away all day long and itís never going to catch up. But fuel it properly, and it performs like a dream."