One thing I am learning to do more successfully is making better food choices. When dealing with a food addiction such as mine, the difficulty comes in the fact that I still have to eat; I can’t quit consuming what’s been destroying me physically and emotionally. When I first started working toward weight loss and improved health I was using a product to help de-tox my body. The Advocare 24 day challenge provided me with all of the tools to achieve success. I merely had to follow the program with the directions provided and success was mine. It was up to me to stay focused and not deviate from the program; no cheating.I have to learn to stick to my healthy eating diet plans.
When the 25th day came, however, I was petrified. I was fearful that I would somehow backslide. Somehow without my little paper chart I would not know what to do. That morning I said a prayer, packed my lunch, grabbed my water and headed out to face my day. What I realized was that in the 24 days prior I had created a habit. Statistics show that one can either make or break a habit in 21 days, therefore, by following the 24 day challenge I had created a new habit for myself. While nothing is ever easy, I began to feel confident that I would be able to stay on track and make the right choices when it came to food.
Throughout the days that have followed since my 24 day challenge ended (it’s now been 72 days) I have been able to stay completely on track and have lost a total of 40 pounds! Not only has the weight come off, I feel incredible and am excited to lose the next 40 (or more). This is not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s hard. Every once in a while I find myself filled with a craving and trying to figure out what I can do to squash the craving while satisfying it at the same time. I’ve come up with a few tips that help me stick to my healthy lifestyle while not feeling deprived or unsatisfied.
1. I love mashed potatoes. You know the kind with butter and cream whipped up to fluffy perfection? Believe it or not I still eat mashed potatoes once in a while and do so without regret. Instead of using mounds of butter and milk or cream I used low sodium chicken broth. Homemade chicken broth has a better flavor, but the canned kind works well. By eliminating the added fat/calories I can still enjoy the potatoes without all of the guilt.
2. Friday night pizza night has changed a bit at my house. Instead of ordering out for greasy, overloaded pizza I make my own. I make a whole wheat crust from scratch (it’s easy). I prebake the crusts in smaller (personal pizza) sizes so that each person can top their own. For me, I used turkey sausage, turkey bacon, lots of veggies and a homemade sauce I created from tomato sauce and spices. Topping it off with low-fat cheese makes the perfect pizza. I’ve cut the calories but not the taste.
3. Salads are so boring to me but I know I need to eat them in order to get the benefits from the fresh greens. To make the salad more appealing I bake skinless boneless chicken breasts seasoned with Italian spices and add it to the salad. Individual portions of fish can be substituted for the chicken. Adding a few walnuts, raspberries and vinaigrette dressing turns a boring salad into a delicious meal.
4. When I first started the program I made a conscious decision not to go out to eat. I even packed a lunch if I were going out to run errands. Normally errand running was the perfect excuse to eat out which led to overeating and poor food choices. By packing my lunch I had everything I needed to stay on track; and it saves me a lot of money.
5. Eating out takes a lot of discipline and pre-planning when you’re under healthy eating diet plans. If I know I am going out I try to find the restaurant’s menu online and make my decision beforehand. This allows me to register my food choices in my brain; the fewer distractions the better. When I do eat out without pre-planning my menu selection I always check for the healthy options. Most restaurants have a heart smart/weight wise section on their menu. Always ask for sauces, dressings, gravies and condiments on the side. This will allow you to use an appropriate amount or none at all. I’ve discovered that I can do without the extra stuff; and I save a lot of calories to boot!
6. When eating out ask to substitute the heavy sides such as mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese with vegetables. It is also a good idea to ask to have half of your order placed in a carry out container so that you only have half of the meal brought to you on your plate. Most restaurant portions are too large and by dividing it ahead of time you are less likely to over eat. Plus, you will have lunch for the next day.
7. When under healthy eating diet plans, make sure to always keep water with you. I have several water bottles filled and ready to go at all times. I even keep a few bottles of water in my car. Having water handy will prevent you from having to stop at a convenience store for a drink which could pose a problem with so many choices available.
The key to making healthy food choices is being prepared. Pre-planning can take a little more time and effort but at the end of the day you will find that you are completely satisfied and you have made great strides toward achieving success. Healthy food choices are essential to a healthy happy body. If I can do it you can do it.
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