Here are 18 health rules that have helped me out IMMENSELY and that I need to be reminded of. Many of them I’ve always lived by, but some were also adapted from 25 Lazy Ways to Stay Skinny.
1. Stay active even when you’re eating poorly. Making the effort to stay active and keep up with your fitness level will make you feel better, improve your mood and lower your stress levels.
2. Keep a water bottle in your sights at all times. If it’s in front of you, you’re going to remember to drink it. You should be drinking water all day, every day. I am trying to get 80-100 oz down every day but realize it can take a while to work up to it without having to bathroom every 5 minutes. Most of the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re probably just thirsty.
3. Make sure you eat enough throughout the day instead of saving all your calories or caving at night. Night time cravings will be less so as you get used to eating more during the day.
4. Stay away from mindless eating. Avoid eating in front of the TV or getting snacks at the movies. Take time to enjoy your food and let your brain process when you are satisfied.
5. Keep snacks on hand, in your purse, and in your car. Having a protein bar or almonds on hand lets you feel in control of your cravings and can help prevent you from making that stop at the drive thru.
6. You don’t need calories to help you sleep. Stop eating after dinner.
7. You don’t have to be perfect when it comes to food. Let yourself indulge when you have a super crazy craving, just watch your portions. No one food makes you gain weight, it’s about portion control and moderation.
8. Portion out pickable foods such as crackers, chips, grapes, etc. Ever reach the bottom of a bag of chips and think “how the hell did that happen!?” Mindless eating is easy to do. When you are going to have a snack, portion it out onto a small plate or bowl. The other day I made my boyfriend and I cheese and crackers but took a minute to slice the cheese into portions and put the crackers on a plate. Not only was he impressed with the presentation, but then we both had a good idea of how much we were eating.
9. Order small, stay small. Always order a small (or a tall). There’s no need to grab a venti coffee when a tall is just as good. Going to get froyo? Grab the smallest container. You’ll be surprised at how satisfied you are on less. Keep your wallet bigger and your tummy smaller.
10. Say no to artificial sweetners. Fake sugars only increase your sugar cravings and lead to bloating and fatigue. Remember that article I wrote about sugar-free candy?
11. Stick to the 2 day rule. Never go more than 2 days without working out or doing some sort of activity. It’s important to take a break and let your body rest at least once a week but the longer you go without working out, the harder it can be to start back up and stay motivated.
12. Stop going back for seconds. It takes 20-30 minutes for that fullness feeling to kick in. Instead of hurrying back for a second plate, let your brain catch up with your stomach.
13. Always choose whole grains – they keep you fuller longer and help stabilize your blood sugar. Say YES to brown rice, whole wheat pastas, and breads instead of white flour.
14. Eat until you’re satisfied, not full or stuffed. Often times we think we have to keep eating until we feel uncomfortable to know that we got enough food, not true. Take your time when you eat, put your fork down between bites and get in tune with how you feel instead of waiting for stomach pains.
15. Don’t let yourself get ravenous. Have a small snack before going out or hitting up a party instead of showing up super hungry and filling up on beer and chips.
16. Don’t drink your calories. Your body needs water, stick to it. Empty soda, alcohol, and juice calories are full of sugar, slow your metabolism, and won’t help you feel full.
17. Use smaller plates. A bowl of cereal can be a whole different event depending on the size of your dishes. 1 cup of cereal is all you really need and it will be a lot more appealing if it comes to the brim of a small bowl instead of barely resting at the bottom of a large one.
18. Eat more color and keep your plate full of veggies! It’s nice to sit down to dinner and see a lot of food in front of you. Fill up half your plate with steamed and seasoned veggies and dig in!