The first and most important step to getting healthy is to understand and accept that you have to make a change to your lifestyle and eating habits. Once you realize you are ready to make changes to your lifestyle, the next step is to create a plan to follow. This plan should be based on your personal fitness goals.
Creating a plan is an important step in your journey towards fitness and health, and will allow you to be aware of how much sugar and fat you are consuming. Also by making your goals concrete, it will help you be more motivated to stick to the plan. This article gives you some tips to create a personal eating plan.
Tip #1 — Set realistic goals
It a common mistake to set unreasonable goals for yourself, possibly while you are in a moment of inspiration and motivation, or perhaps after hearing about others people's success stories. Doing this can be a huge mistake, as once you find yourself unable to reach the goals you set, you will feel discouraged and might even give up on your diet.
Be realistic when setting your goals. If you have very long working hours, for example, you cannot expect to cook healthy meals all the time. When setting your goals, think about the specifics. Decide exactly how much weight and how many inches of fat you want to lose. Make them reasonable — neither too simple to achieve nor too demanding.
Because it's very difficult to accurately determine your body fat percentage without expensive medical equipment, it may be better to monitor your change in body fat or muscle with measurements. Record your measurements for your waist, hips, thigh, upper arm right before you begin your healthy eating and exercising plan, and then check in every two weeks or so to monitor your progress.
Accurately determining your caloric needs is also very difficult without medical equipment. If you are unsure about how much you should be consuming, you can consult a professional or personal trainer.
Tip #2 — Make gradual changes
Once you have decided your goals, implement the changes gradually. For example, if your eventual goal is to replace your chocolate-eating habit with munching on carrots, do not cut chocolate out completely from the first day of the new diet. Instead, gradually reduce the amount of chocolates you eat.
This will help prevent irresistible cravings. To aid you in following your plan, also ensure that you are eating foods that are both healthy and yummy.
Take your time when you eat, and enjoy every bite. This prevents mindless eating and helps you realize when you are full.
Tip #3 — Be honest with yourself
Whenever you give in to cravings, be honest to yourself about it. Admit that you ate something you were trying to avoid, and try to make up for that at your next meal. Practicing integrity can help you to make up for times when you indulge in foods you had decided you were not going to eat.
It might also help to report what you eat everyday to a friend or fellow dieter. By being accountable to each other, it can help you stay on track with your diet.
Tip #4 — Snack on healthy foods
Contrary to popular belief, snacking between meals can help increase your metabolism, thus helping you burn more calories and keeps you from overeating. It also gives you a constant supply of energy throughout the day. Ensure the snacks you incorporate into your plan are healthy though!
Creating an eating plan can take some time, but once you have it perfected and can stick to it, you will find yourself reaping the benefits that come with a healthy diet.
What are some of your ideas to help people stick to the plans they create? Discuss them in the comments section below!
Edited by Registered Dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide "Eat Your Way to Health — Secrets of a Healthy Diet".