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zen habits : breathe

By Leo Babauta

A lot of us have tried various diets over the years, with little success. I remember trying about half a dozen different diets when I was trying to lose weight, and none of them stuck for more than a few weeks.

Why is that? A few reasons:

  1. You’re trying to change a lot of things at once — from learning new recipes to strategies for social situations to what to eat when you go out to what you should do when you’re craving a snack and much more. Making that many changes at once is a sure recipe for failure.
  2. You’re making huge changes all of a sudden. If you shift from unhealthy eating to healthy eating in one day, it will seem like a drastic change, and you won’t be used to it at all. This is very difficult, and if you’re struggling with something difficult, you’re probably not going to last more than a few weeks.
  3. You don’t really like your life with this new diet. You like the idea of being leaner, but you don’t like the diet, and you miss your old food. So it feels like a sacrifice, and you can only sacrifice for so long.

That’s a lot of powerful forces working against you, and that’s just the start. Having a spouse or friends who eat differently is difficult, and so is being surrounded by unhealthy food at home and work. What can we do?

What worked for me is gradual change. Let’s look at the why, then the how.

Why Gradual Change Works

If you understand the reasons that people fail at trying to create a healthy lifestyle, then you can see why gradual is better:

  1. It’s not overwhelming to start if you start small and only do one small change at a time.
  2. With gradual change, you’re not putting too much on your plate, as you are with a huge change, and so you’re less likely to drop it as the weeks progress because you’re too busy and have other things to focus on.
  3. It’s not an abrupt change, so it doesn’t seem so difficult, and it quickly starts to feel normal. You’re pushing out of your comfort zone, but not too much.
  4. You never really feel like you’re sacrificing.

Those are some good reasons. Let’s do this.

How to Transition to Amazingly Healthy

Before we start the gradual process, it’s a good idea to know where we’re going, generally. This won’t be the exact place we end up, because things will change along the way — including your taste buds — but let’s take a big picture look at what we’re doing first.

A less helpful approach is to think of the perfectly healthy diet, and say that’s what you need to do. For example, if for some reason we said you should only eat protein and vegetables, all day every day, then any deviation would feel like failure. And you might think that’s not a very fun life, so you wouldn’t be likely to stick to it.

Instead, try to imagine a life that includes healthy food that you’d really enjoy — but allows for other indulgences too. For some, that might mean you want a bagel and fruit for breakfast, then some healthier stuff for lunch and dinner (protein, veggies, quinoa or brown rice), maybe carrots and hummus for a snack, some green tea later in the afternoon, and finally a martini after dinner. That’s not 100 percent healthy, but it’s pretty great, and it’s a picture you’d enjoy perhaps.

For others, you might want a sweet in the afternoon, or your tall latte in the morning, or French fries at dinner with friends a few times a week. Those are all allowable in a healthy lifestyle, if most of the other things you eat are healthy. You want a picture of a healthy life that seems enjoyable to you.

Next, pick one small healthy change and stick with it for a week. Get some accountability, put a reminder on your fridge, plan ahead of time, do whatever it takes to make that small healthy change happen. If you are successful, pick another small change the next week, and repeat that every week you were successful.

What kind of small healthy changes can you pick each week? The list can be endless, but here are some examples:

  • Eat a vegetable at dinner every day.
  • Eat a vegetable at lunch every day.
  • Eat a fruit for an afternoon snack.
  • Have a fruit with breakfast.
  • Cut back one alcoholic drink at night.
  • Don’t eat after 8 p.m.
  • Cut back on the sugar you add to your coffee to a minimal amount.
  • Have a whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) with dinner instead of a white starch.
  • Have hummus or raw nuts instead of those chips you eat for a snack.
  • Have berries instead of the sweets you eat for a snack.
  • Learn three new recipes this week (cook one night, then eat the leftovers the next, repeat).
  • Eat at home most nights this week.
  • Have yogurt with fruit or a tofu scramble with veggies for breakfast.

You get the picture. If you don’t like these changes, come up with some of your own. If these seem too hard, make them easier.

One small change at a time means a dozen over a few months. That adds up to some amazing change over time, and it’s change that’s likely to last much longer.

Help with the Habit

If you’d like help with the healthy eating habit, join us in my Sea Change Program as we work on this habit in February.

Sea Change is free to try for a week, then $10 a month after that, and includes:

  • One new habit module each month
  • Articles and videos to help with each month’s habit
  • A live webinar with me about that habit
  • A forum for asking questions and getting help
  • Accountability groups you can join to help you stick to the habit

Join Sea Change now to form the healthy eating habit.

9 Small Diet Changes That Help Weight Loss

One of the main reasons that diets generally don’t work—and that people avoid them at all costs—is because they force you to cut out foods you probably love.

The good news: experts agree that that’s the entirely wrong way to achieve healthy and long-term weight loss.

“When people change too much about their diet at once, they tend to give up before they reach their goals,” says Christen Cupples Cooper, Ed.D., R.D.N., assistant professor and founding director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program at the College of Health Professions at Pace University. “We believe that small changes add up to big success—small changes at a time, which eventually become habits, make for lasting weight success.”

So, before you toss out everything in your pantry, give these small diet changes a try.

Don’t fear fat

Sure, there are plenty of fat-laden foods that are terrible for you, such as those that contain saturated and trans fats. But, there are also “good fats,” such as omega-3s, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Foods containing these good fats include avocados, walnuts, olive oil, salmon, tuna, dark chocolate, and flaxseed.

“These good fats have been proven to aid in weight loss,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, registered dietitian and founder of TLB Nutrition in New York City. “Try to incorporate these foods into your diet and you may see some changes to the waistline.”

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Exercise portion control

Unless you take time to peek at the nutrition labels on the foods that you eat, you probably aren’t aware of the recommended portion size for that particular food.

These are important, notes Beckerman, who recommends that her clients never eat straight from the box or bag.

“It is so hard to conceptualize how many servings you are eating if you do not measure it out beforehand,” she says. “This can also be a challenge when dining out because we live in a culture of supersizing.”

Also, remember that you don’t have to eat every last morsel of food on your plate. Ask for half of your meal to be put in a to-go container before it’s even served to you.

Take your leftovers home and enjoy the meal again the next day!

Eat the colors of the rainbow

The hue of a fruit or vegetable is often dictated by which kinds of nutrients it contains, which is why it’s important to incorporate a variety.

This helps ensure that you’re eating a well-rounded diet. “Making sure that your plate has at least three different colors on it will help you focus on creating more balanced meals, not to mention it is also easy on the eyes (or makes that perfect Instagram post!),” says Beckerman.

“Different colored fruits and vegetables also provide nutrients and vitamins, which will not only help with weight loss but overall health.”

Boost your protein intake

Most Americans get more than their fair share of protein, but if you’re constantly dieting, you may not be getting enough to meet your body’s needs, says Cooper.

She recommends adding in small amounts of protein to keep your body chugging along. “Add a palm-sized portion of lean meat, like chicken, fish, or legumes, to salads and swap out carb- and calorie-heavy items like bagels, replacing them with protein-rich eggs, cheese, or nut butter or yogurt to your diet,” she says.

“But, remember: If you add in protein, take out something else. Calories matter!”

Eat breakfast

When you’re rushing out the door in the morning, it can be easy to forget to grab something to eat.

But, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. In fact, experts say that breakfast is the best time to fill up on the most nutrients you’ll likely enjoy all day.

“While counterintuitive, people who eat a good breakfast of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber gain less weight or lose more,” says Robert Herbst, personal trainer, weight loss and wellness coach, and powerlifter.

“Having breakfast gives people needed nutrients and evens out the blood sugar so people are less likely to binge on calorie dense junk later in the day.”

Stay hydrated

Americans aren’t drinking enough water—women especially, according to a U.S. National Health Nutrition Examination Survey. Not only is water obviously vital to surviving, but being properly hydrated helps prevent unnecessary snacking.

“Often people think they are hungry, but they are really thirsty,” says Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., medical advisory board member and member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association.

She recommends drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water a day.

Swap your snack for something healthier

This might sound simple—it is—but small diet changes such as replacing a bag of chips with a piece of fruit or an ounce of cheese—adds up.

“If you’re having 200 calories of a processed, salty, or sugary food, the fruit will be a healthy and tasty substitute,” says Cooper.

“The average piece of fruit runs around 100 calories, so you’ll cut calories and gain nutrients with just that small change.” Additionally, she notes that the high water and fiber content of fruit will also help satisfy your hunger.

Replace emotional snacking with a fun activity

If you tend to turn to food when you’re feeling sad, lonely, or stressed, you may be emotionally eating. This tendency can very quickly lead to weight gain since your body doesn’t need the energy in calories.

It’s your mind and emotion centers craving a boost. Cooper recommends working to identify your “true hunger” and also trying alternatives to eating when you might not be actually craving food.

Going outside for a walk, taking a warm, relaxing bath, or reading a book are all excellent solutions to help ease your stress and sadness, without turning to food.

Don’t drink your calories

You might love your venti white chocolate mocha beverage, but that thing has over 500 calories (aka the equivalent of more than ten Oreo cookies!).

“These calories add up, and if you would not eat ten Oreos once or twice a day, you should scale back on the drinks,” says Herbst. Instead, he recommends having a satisfying lower calorie cup of tea and saving the coffee fraps for once or twice a week.

You don’t have to undergo any massive dietary changes to lose weight. In fact, it’s often much easier than we think to shed unnecessary and unhealthy calories throughout the day with just a few small diet changes.

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FULL WEEK of healthy meal prep for weight loss, ready in just about one hour. All 7 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks – great for weight loss or if you just want to have your healthy meals all prepped for you for the week.

For so many years I’ve been listening to other people, my friends and even family how sticking to a healthy lifestyle is hard and just takes up so much time. Instead of just waving them off (and saying telling them they’re wrong to their faces ;)), I love showing people how it’s actually easier than they might think to eat real food, enjoy what they’re eating, and even be FULL, all while losing weight. . Yes, it’s possible to eat healthy and not hate your food!

Changing your eating habits can be intimidating, I know. It may even feel like you’re leaving everything you love behind. All the midnight snacks, takeouts, sweets… But, although it may seem like that at first, soon enough you realize that eating healthy will not only make you feel and look good but can also taste darn good! The key is finding a lifestyle you love (not one you dread) so that you stick to it.

Once you get a hang of it, making healthier and yet equally, if not even tastier, versions of your favorite dishes will bring you more joy than any unhealthy over-processed options out there. I’ve even made a healthier version of one of my all-time favorites – Mac and cheese, and it’s one of my favorite recipes ever.

With our busy schedules, it’s often hard, impossible even, to cook every single day and, to be honest, sometimes even when I do have the time, I’d rather be spending it doing something else. That’s why is so often rely on meal prep!

Not only is meal prep a great way to save time, as you cook only once or twice a week and have a nutritious meal ready in a matter of minutes every day, but by planning ahead you can keep track of your calorie intake more easily. The idea is to plan to succeed, not wait to fail with eating healthy and, ultimately, with weight loss in general.

In order to help you jump on the meal prep train, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite tips that will help you get started and a full 7 days meal prep for weight loss. This 7 day meal prep for weight loss includes 4 easy meal prep meals per day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to munch on in between and totals to 1500 calories per day.

Ready, set, go! You got this!

WHAT DOES MEAL PREP MEAN?

Meal prep, short for meal preparation, is the process of planning and preparing your meals ahead of time. You can meal prep one day ahead, or take one day to prepare lunch and/or dinner for an entire week. While most meal prep only one or two meals, you can easily meal prep breakfast, lunch and dinner, even snacks for the week ahead. It’s entirely up to you!

In this post today, I’ve shared a 7 day meal prep for weight loss that includes all your meals and snacks to make it as easy as possible to stay on track.

HOW DO I MAKE A MEAL PLAN?

First things first – planning. Before you start to prep your meals, you need a nice, solid plan. Coming up with a meal plan may sound overwhelming at first, but it’s not as bad as it may seem. Just take it one step at a time and start with one, simple meal you love and that you know is healthy, and then work your way up. Soon, you’ll be prepping all your meals! Watch out – it gets addicting!

How To Make a Meal Plan

  1. Write down all the meals you plan on having in the next few days, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Stick to proven recipes and meals you can easily make even in your sleep, to start. No need to try to learn how to cook something when you’re wanting to be as efficient and quick as possible.
  2. List out all the ingredients you’ll need to make them and how much of each you’ll need.
  3. Time to go grocery shopping!
  4. Set aside one or two days to get all your meal prep done – try to keep it to 1 hour or less for each cooking session so you don’t hate these days of actually cooking your meal prep recipes.

That’s it, you’re set.

CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITH MEAL PREP?

Meal prep is a simple and easy way to track your food intake. Whether you just want to stay away from over-processed foods and eat healthy to build muscle, lose weight, or simply feel better, meal prep is a great idea. Prepping all, or at least most your meals, ahead of time makes cooking and eating healthy, nutritious food easier and quicker than ordering take out or grabbing some fast food on the go.

Meal prep is one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating healthy all day long and prevent the vicious cycle of skipping meals during the day and binging on unhealthy foods once you’re finally home in the evening, one of the problems many people who are struggling with losing weight are facing with every day. Plus, it’s so much easier to grab and eat food you’ve already prepared than to struggle with also cooking and/or prepping it when you’re hungry.

HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD YOU EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT

There’s no hard rule on how many times a day you should eat in order to lose weight. But, when it comes to weight loss, the first change you need to be making is your eating habits. They don’t say that abs are made in the kitchen for nothing!

If you want to lose weight and feel better, you need to eat nutritious food that will keep you full for longer. Protein and fiber take longer to digest and therefore keep you feeling full for longer than simple carbohydrates and sugars. Whether you eat three bigger meals or five or six smaller ones throughout the day is entirely up to you, as long as you keep in mind the number of calories you consume. Typically, a woman should eat approximately 1400-1700 calories each day to lose weight, depending on their specific bodies and nutritional needs.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MEAL PREP CONTAINERS?

I heart meal prep containers. <3

When meal prepping, you definitely want a meal prep container that will keep your food fresh. Whether you’re prepping meals for an entire week or just a few days ahead, the way you store your meals is just as important as cooking the food. You want to make sure you always store your food in airtight containers to prevent spoilage.

Food containers come in all shapes, sizes and equally important – materials. Depending on your lifestyle, you can pick the ones that fit into your lifestyle (and your bag!) best. If you’ll be taking a lot of your meals with you on the go, the slimmer and lighter the container is, the better. Also, make sure the container is suitable for keeping in the freezer and/or microwave use, depending on what you’ll be using it most – that’s why I love these glass meal prep containers. There are plenty of options and after you’ve done your planning, it will be much easier for you to determine what kind of container is the best option.

My Favorite Meal Prep Containers

Personally, I love these glass meal prep containers for all my meals that will be microwaved. Then, I use these 1 quart mason jars for my salads and these 16-oz. mason jars for make-ahead smoothies and overnight oats prep.

HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP MEAL PREP IN THE FRIDGE

Once you’re done with your meal prep, make sure you let your meals cool down before transferring them to airtight containers and storing them in the fridge, but make sure you don’t keep your food in room temperature for more than two hours. If you are using meal prep containers and have stored your cooked meal prep well, it can last in the fridge for up to 7 days. Some foods will keep longer than others, which is something to consider when prepping 7 days at a time.

To make sure your veggies stay fresh in the fridge up to twice as long, a great tip is to soak them in ice cold water for 15 minutes and them store them in the fridge with a wet cloth or a damp paper towel.

If you prep your meals twice a week, that will help keep your food as fresh as possible.

CAN YOU FREEZE MEAL PREP FOOD

Freezer meals are a great option, especially when you have extra food you know you won’t get to in time before it spoils. Before you freeze any cooked food, make sure to let it cool down completely. You may need to transfer your meal to a larger bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.

For easy thawing and storage, freeze your meal prep either in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. If using a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before placing your meal prep in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat it, you can either let your meal prep thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave for around 2 minutes or reheat it in the microwave while frozen for 4-5 minutes. Easy peasy!

More Healthy Meal Prep For Weight Loss

Alright, now that I have you hooked on healthy meal prep for weight loss and al its glory, check out these other great meal plans to help you to keep eating healthy!

  • How To Meal Prep – Korean Beef Bowl (6 Meals/Under $4)
  • $75 Whole Foods Meal Plan Challenge
  • How to Meal Prep – Chicken (7 Meals/Under $5)
  • How to Meal Prep – Salmon
  • Healthy Egg Muffin Cups (Great for Meal Prep!)

I hope you like the recipes I’ve shared in this meal plan. The meals are recipes I like to eat and meals I ate when I have tried to lose weight.

Remember that every person is different and requires slightly different calorie intakes to lose weight at a healthy rate. If you’re combining this with a workout routine, you can increase the amount of calories easily by adding in another 200 calorie snack to find what best suits you and your needs.

The idea of this meal plan is for you to focus on enjoying your food and having meals prepped for you that you know are well-balanced so you don’t have to worry about counting calories. I find calorie counting to be tedious and I get overly obsessive so I like to choose meals that are naturally healthy and nutritious to add into my meal preps like the recipes I’ve chosen for you today.

You don’t have to think about the calories you’re going to eat, what you’re gonna eat, it’s just so much easier to plan and prep ahead.

7-Day Meal Prep For Weight Loss

4.7 from 23 votes 7 Day Meal Plan For Weight Loss Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 1 hr Total Time 1 hr 20 mins FULL WEEK of healthy meal prep for weight loss, ready in just about one hour. All 7 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks – great for weight loss or if you just want to have your healthy meals all prepped for you for the week. Categories: Healthy Eating, Mason Jar, meal planning, Meal Prep Difficulty: Easy Servings: 1 week meal plan Calories: 1500 kcal Author: Lacey Baier Ingredients Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats (Breakfast for 4 Days)

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups rolled oats, uncooked

Quinoa and Kale Salad (Lunch for 4 Days)

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup lentils, uncooked
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale, packed
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus 1/2 tsp for making quinoa
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp. to massage kale

Veggies + Hummus (Snack for 4 Days)

  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup hummus, divided (store-bought or homemade)

Beef With Broccoli and Brown Rice (Dinner for 4 Days)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets about 2 small crowns
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Mango Green Smoothie (Breakfast for 3 Days)

  • 3 cups mango chunks fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 bananas
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 scoops vanilla protein powder, optional

Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice (Lunch for 3 Days)

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen edamame
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups raw snap peas

Strawberries + Almonds (Snack for 3 Days)

  • 32 strawberries
  • 1 cup raw almonds

Lemon Roasted Salmon With Asparagus (Dinner for 3 Days)

  • 3 6-oz salmon fillets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced (2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, grated (omit if non-dairy)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • quinoa, optional, for additional calories

Instructions To Prep the Grains and Beans:

  1. In a deep pot, combine the brown rice, sea salt, and low sodium chicken broth. Heat this over high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the rice is tender.

  2. To cook the quinoa, combine uncooked quinoa with sea salt and water, in a deep pot, and then bring to boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool as well.

  3. Next, let’s get our lentils started. Add the dry lentils to a pot, followed by water. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the lentils are tender. For whole lentils, it should take about 15-20 minutes. Then, drain the lentils and set aside for later.

For the Healthy Beef with Broccoli:

  1. To make the Beef with Broccoli, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced flank steak and cook until it’s well-browned, about 6-8 minutes. Once it’s well-browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. In the same pan, add minced garlic, chopped shallot, and green onions. Cook one minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Then, add the broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes until the broccoli turns bright green and becomes mostly tender. Since we’ll be storing this meal, we don’t want to cook the vegetables completely through or they’ll be super mushy when we reheat them later.

  4. To make the sauce, in a mixing bowl, combine low sodium soy sauce, coconut sugar, fresh minced ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add arrowroot starch and water and stir until no longer lumpy.

  5. Add this sauce to the pan and cook until it starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Return the beef and stir to combine, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes. Then, set this aside to slightly cool.

For the Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice:

  1. To make the cauliflower fried rice, heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add some sesame oil.

  2. Season the boneless, skinless chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper, then place into the hot oil.
  3. Cook for 4-6 minutes per side, turning occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Once it’s cooked through, remove from the pan, dice into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
  5. Add the diced carrots into the empty pan and cook until they’re mostly tender, followed by the low sodium soy sauce, peanut butter, and chili paste and stir to combine.
  6. Add the frozen edamame, minced garlic, and sliced green onions, and cook until heated through.
  7. To make the cauliflower rice, grate a head of cauliflower using a kitchen grater (or you can also use a food processor or buy pre-riced cauliflower).

  8. Once you’ve grated all the cauliflower, add to the pan.
  9. Add the rice and cook the cauliflower rice over med-high heat until tender.
  10. Return the diced chicken back to the pan, and stir to incorporate.
  11. Push the fried chicken cauliflower rice mixture to one side of the skillet and add a couple eggs into the empty side of the pan and then scramble. Once the eggs are mostly scrambled, break up with a spatula and combine with the rice mixture. This is now done and can be removed from the heat and set aside.

For the Lemon Roasted Salmon with Asparagus:

  1. To make the roasted salmon recipe, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  2. Arrange the pre-cut salmon portions in the center of the making sheet and then arrange the asparagus around the sides.
  3. Add thinly cut lemon slices around the edges of the salmon and over the asparagus.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture over the salmon and asparagus.

  5. Then sprinkle parmesan over salmon and asparagus.
  6. Place this in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and broil another 5-7 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside. This salmon is so easy and so flavorful.

For the Quinoa and Kale Salad:

  1. To make the dressing for the kale and quinoa salad, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, raw honey, dijon mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl, and whisk together until well combined.

  2. To prep the kale for the salad, we’re going to add it to a large bowl with a little olive oil and rub all over the kale, massaging it until the kale reduces in volume and becomes less stiff. (This makes a huge difference in the texture of the kale and makes it much easier to eat. I like to buy pre-cut kale when I meal prep because it’s just easier and takes one less step out of the process.)
  3. To assemble the salad, combine 3/4 cup of the cooked quinoa, 3/4 cup of the cooked lentils, the kale, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, diced carrot, grape tomatoes, finely diced red onion, and raw sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

  4. Then, drizzle over a few tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette, and toss once more. This is so dang good.

For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats:

  1. To make the chocolate peanut butter overnight oats, add the bananas, dark cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and unsweetened almond milk to a kitchen blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Add the rolled oats and stir to combine. Do not blend. (You could also do this in a separate bowl, but this makes less dirty dishes.)
  3. Divide this into four mason jars because we will be using it for breakfast four of the days. Then, close, and then place into the fridge overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. (You can heat them up each morning or just eat them cold right out of the mason jar. When the oats are ready, I like to top them with some dark chocolate chunks.)

For the Mango Green Smoothie:

  1. To prep our mango green smoothie, divide fresh or frozen mango chunks, banana, and baby spinach into either ziplock freezer bags or mason jars. When it’s time to blend this all together, you’ll add in flaxseed meal, protein powder, and unsweetened almond milk for a tasty smoothie.

For the Strawberries and Almonds:

  1. Our snacks for four of the days will be raw almond with fresh strawberries. This can be prepped in a mason jar or a reusable bag. (This snack is roughly 200 calories. If you don’t like almonds, you can replace wit cashews or walnuts. Fruits can be switched out as well.)

For the Veggies and Hummus:

  1. Our other snack for the other three days is carrots and cucumber with hummus. You can make your own hummus or buy it from the store, depending on your preference.
  2. To pack this snack, add the hummus to the bottom of a mason jar – we’re looking to do about 2 tbsp in the bottom. Then add carrot and cucumber sticks for dipping right into the hummus. This makes a tasty, crunchy snack that is savory.
  3. To store the salad, you can either use a meal prep container or mason jars.

  4. To pack our beef with broccoli, add it to one side of the meal prep container and then add in the steamed brown rice on the side. Top with sliced green onions. This meal is roughly 500 calories and will make a tasty dinner for four of the nights.
  5. To pack up the chicken cauliflower fried rice, add it to one end of the meal prep container, and next to it add some fresh snap peas. I like to have a crisp veggie along with the fried rice for a little texture. This will serve as a lunch for three of the days and is roughy 400 calories.
  6. Now for our salmon meal, make a layer on the bottom of the container with the asparagus and then top it with one of the salmon fillets. If you wanted to add some quinoa to this meal, that would be a good option if you find you’re still somewhat hungry.

Recipe Notes

– Remember that every person is different and requires slightly different calorie intakes to lose weight at a healthy rate. If you’re combining this with a workout routine, you can increase the amount of calories easily by adding in another 200 calorie snack to find what best suits you and your needs.

– Nutrition facts are for 1 day of the meal plan, including breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner

Nutrition Facts 7 Day Meal Plan For Weight Loss Amount Per Serving (1 day) Calories 1500 Calories from Fat 344 % Daily Value* Fat 38.2g59% Saturated Fat 8.5g43% Sodium 491.2mg20% Carbohydrates 323.3g108% Fiber 45.9g184% Sugar 61.2g68% Protein 80.2g160% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

I can’t stick to a diet for more than a few weeks. Here’s why and what to do about it.

If you can’t stick to a diet for more than a few weeks, this post is for you.

Another year is over and…

-I lost no weight

-I look the same

-My energy is non-existent

-I don’t like the way I look in pictures

-I don’t feel in control around food

Why do we always start the year off raring to go only to quickly fizzle out?

I don’t want this year to be another year that comes and goes for you without anything changing…yet again.

Your health and fitness is too important.

**

It drives me crazy when people say, “I know how to lose weight!”

We’ve all heard it: “Just eat right and exercise consistently!”

UGHHH! IF ONLY IT WAS SO EASY!!! Knowing what to do and actually doing it are very different.

That’s like saying why doesn’t every aspiring musician just make a song with a catchy chorus along with a great beat and melody?

BECAUSE IT’S EASIER SAID THAN DONE!!!

If everyone knows “what to do” why are so many people overweight, out of shape and unhappy with how they look and feel?

If it was as simple as “just sticking with it” don’t you think you would have “just” done it already?

The secret to weight loss is about three things:

1. Eating well

2. Exercising

3. Doing #1 and #2 consistently

It’s the consistency part that’s so hard.

This is why I’ve made it my life’s work to help people stay consistent.

In order to fully understand what it takes to help people stay consistent, it’s important to understand why so many people have a hard time staying consistent.

In other words: Why is sticking with it and following through so hard?

I’ve boiled it down to three things. No matter what you’re planning on doing this year, it’s worth reading. Otherwise, it’s going to be very hard to succeed.

Let’s get to it.

1) The plan you’re trying to follow isn’t sustainable.

Forget about fad diets. We can only follow a cookie, shake or grapefruit diet for so long. We can only a follow a no fat, no carb, no sugar, no fun, no anything diet for so long.

The plan has to be practical, sustainable and healthy.

Before you start any diet ask yourself, “Can I see myself eating like this in five years from now?” If the answer is no — then the diet you’re thinking about starting isn’t sustainable.

When you have the right diet and exercise plan, it’s a lot easier to stick with it.

This might sound like common sense but it’s not common practice. You can’t expect to stick with a plan that isn’t sustainable…yet people keep attempting these crazy diets.

—-> If the diet or exercise plan you’re trying to follow isn’t sustainable, you’re doomed from the start. Failure is inevitable.

**This is why we’ll give you a customized diet that’s easy to follow with flexible options. Unlike other programs that encourage strict and limited regimens, you’ll have plenty of freedom with MBT.

This isn’t about never eating your favorite foods again. That’s not sustainable! In fact, we’ll teach you how you can indulge — while still losing weight. The goal is to be fit and happy, not fit and miserable.

We’ll also give you an exercise plan that is sustainable. Going crazy at the gym isn’t necessary. Besides, 80% of weight loss is about diet. It’s about what, why and how we eat.

2) You never change your relationship with food

This is critically important.

Here’s the problem:

Most people go on what I call a “food diet.” One month they’re only eating X. The next month they’re only eating Y. The following month they’re only eating Z. We all know people like this. They go from one “food diet” to the next.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. We’ve all done it. We pick a diet and follow the rules for as long as we can using willpower.

However, if the only thing you’re changing is the food you’re eating, you’re not going to change for the long term.

It’s critical that you change your relationship with food. It’s critical that you change the way you think and react to food. It’s critical that you learn the right mindset along with developing the healthy habits and behaviors necessary to lose weight and keep it off…

Otherwise, you’ll keep going from one diet to the next. You’ll never be able to stick with anything.

We follow X plan by willing ourselves to stay strong for as long as we can…until we can’t take it anymore. We eventually lose steam, and revert back to our old ways.

Like motivation, willpower is not sustainable.

This is why people gain weight back. They never learn the right mindset along with the habits and behaviors necessary to keep it off.

They just buckle down and try hard for a few months until they can’t take it anymore.

Most diets get more difficult to follow as time goes on. This is not a sustainable strategy.

**Changing our clients’ relationship with food is a big part of what we do. Helping them develop the right mindset along with the habits/behaviors to lose weight and keep it off is a big part of what we do too.

Simple example: Most diets/programs and “experts” out there only focus on what you’re eating. Sure, we care about what you eat. But we also focus on why you’re eating. When we understand why you’re eating, it’s a lot easier to change what you’re eating.

This is why our clients find that it gets easier and easier to stick to the plan. That’s why they’re able to lose the weight, and keep it off effortlessly.

—-> Unless you change your relationship with food, and the way you think and react to food, you’re not going to lose weight for the long term.

3) Daily and personal accountability + Daily Support

It’s too easy to make promises to yourself and break them. No one knows if you keep them or not…so you hardly ever do. We all know this feeling. The feeling of having been lied to. By ourselves. It’s an awful feeling.

Unless you’re being held accountable and being supported daily, it’s very hard to stick with it. It’s too easy to rationalize to ourselves. It’s also very hard to sustain the effort required to lose weight.

**Enter MBT. This is where daily accountability and support comes into play. It’s also what makes us different from the billion and one other programs out there.

Not only do we tell you exactly what to do in order to reach your goal, but your very own Body Tutor will make sure you actually do it day in and day out.

It’s very hard to accomplish any goal without accountability so that’s why it’s the cornerstone of MBT. No one offers accountability like us, and it’s how we ensure you reach your goal.

Because we work so closely with you we know when you’re off track. Whether it’s a mental block (for example: fear of failure, fear of success — this is a lot more common than you might think) or a tactical challenge (how to navigate an upcoming party, travel, etc.,), your Body Tutor will be guiding and supporting you on a daily basis. This makes all the difference, and it’s why we get the results we do, guaranteed.

What does accountability really mean? It’s hard to explain the power of accountability unless you’ve experienced it.

Imagine…

It’s your first day of school.

The bell rings, and in walks your new physics professor.

He’s carrying a giant red physics textbook. He looks straight at the class, and slams the book down on the table with a big thud…….

He looks at the class and yells, “YOU HAVE 6 MONTHS TO STUDY. AT THE END OF THE 6 MONTHS YOU WILL HAVE A TEST. GOOD LUCK!”

He then walks out of the room.

Now let me ask you…who do you think will actually pass a class like this??

This physics professor has set the class up for failure.

INSTEAD, what if the same professor:

  • ….holds class everyday.
  • ….has office hours.
  • ….lets you ask questions.
  • ….corrects you when you are wrong.
  • ….supports/guides you every step of the way.

What do you think the success rate will be? Very high obviously.

You see:

The big difference between everyone failing and everyone passing is the amount of support/guidance they got.

Same with a diet.

Traditionally you’re basically told, “Here’s a diet to follow. Go do it. Good luck.”

This is assuming a lack of knowledge is the big issue. (The real issue is a lack of consistent action aka compliance.)

This is a huge reason why people on traditional programs don’t lose weight.

We’re set up for failure from the beginning. (Just like that bad professor set up his class for failure.)

Okay, so how do we set ourselves up for long term weight loss success?

We’ve figured this out at MBT: We follow the same principles of supporting and guiding our clients every step of the way.

This is why our success rate is so high.

….We provide you daily support / guidance.

….We give you a plan that is actually sustainable.

….We set you up with a coach who is an expert.

….We support you whenever you fall off track.

….We set you up with clear and defined goals.

….Your very own tutor will know the answers to all of your questions.

….We teach in bite-sized-chunks over time, not a fire-hose of information on the first day.

….We teach you the right mindset along with the healthy habits and behaviors necessary to lose weight and keep it off.

….You get relentless support and accountability…..from a real human being…every single day.

….You get an expert who knows how to get you the results you want and they understand how to get you through anything and everything that will get in the way.

I can go on and on. But I think you get the point.

—-> Unless you’re being held accountable and supported daily, it’s very hard to stick with it. It’s too easy to rationalize to ourselves. It’s also very hard to sustain the effort required to lose weight.

**

So, there you have it: The three reasons why consistency is so hard.

No matter what you do, keep these in mind for your weight loss journey. I sincerely want to see you succeed because when you improve your health and fitness, you improve everything else in your life. How you feel about yourself spills over into every aspect of your life.

Would I love for you to try MBT?

Of course! I’ve seen how many people MBT has helped since 2007. My belief and confidence is a direct result of how many people we’ve helped. It’s why I offer a guarantee. You can try my program for a full month. If you don’t feel or see results / aren’t happy with the path we’re on, we’ll give you your money back. It’s as simple as that.

Many people claim they want to improve their lives but they just whine, make excuses and hope things will get better. Year after year, nothing changes. Sadly, some people are happiest when you just let them be unhappy.

I don’t want this year to be another year that comes and goes.

I’ve made it a no-brainer for you to give us a shot. I know it’ll be the last program you ever do. You’ll not only lose the weight and get the body you want, but you’ll learn the skills / mindset and develop the habits/behaviors that you’ll be able to use forever — so you don’t have to deal with losing weight over and over again.

What are you waiting for? Together, we’ll make it happen.

If you have any questions about my program message me here. I read and reply to all my emails. (Try me.)

To a healthier, happier and fitter you,

-Adam

P.S. I get it. You’ve become skeptical after trying so many things. You’ve lost trust in companies. And, perhaps, what’s holding you back most is, you’ve lost trust in yourself. It’s why I’ve made it a no-brainer for you to try us by offering a guarantee. I know what we offer works.

My confidence in what we do is a result of how many people we’ve helped since 2007. I sincerely believe MBT is the best program out there. And it’s not just because I say it is.

It’s because of the incredible results we’ve been able to get for our clients. It’s based on what our clients have tried before MBT, and what they’re telling us.

It’s because of success stories like Joe, Lynda, Jeremy, Tammi, Laurie, Sharmin, Mitch, Stephanie and countless others. People who were seriously skeptical but saw something different in our program and gave us a chance.

That chance is all I ask for from you. I know you’ll love what we’re about.

More Stories For You


  • Gratitude: The Secret of Happiness (And Weight Loss Success)


  • How To Change Eating Habits (Permanently)


  • I don’t have time to go to the gym. What can I do?

Healthy weight

To find out if you’re a healthy weight for your height, work out your body mass index (BMI).

You can easily check your BMI by using this BMI calculator. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy.

The BMI calculator can also be used to check if your child is a healthy weight.

If you or your child are overweight

Weight gain occurs when you regularly eat and drink more calories than you burn through normal bodily functions and physical activity. Read about the hidden causes of weight gain.

To lose weight, you should try to cut down on how much you eat and drink and be more active.

Find out more about calories and your weight.

Next steps

Take action now and start losing weight.

You can:

  • start the NHS weight loss plan
  • sign up for weight loss email support
  • start running with Couch to 5K
  • try our 12-week fitness plan
  • get fit with Strength and Flex
  • try our tips to help you lose weight
  • learn how to achieve a healthy, balanced diet
  • read about walking for health

If you or your child are underweight

Being underweight isn’t good for your health either. If you’re concerned about yourself or someone else, read our pages on:

  • underweight adults
  • underweight teen boys
  • underweight teen girls
  • underweight children aged 6 to 12
  • underweight children aged 2 to 5

30 Ways to Stick to Your New Diet

Over 26 percent of people admit that they give up on their diets before seeing the results they wanted. How can you be among the percentage of people who stick to their diet and are actually successful at losing weight? Sticking to a diet comes naturally if you (1) start it properly in the first place and (2) stay attuned to the common roadblocks that may sabotage your efforts—and know exactly how to overcome them.

We asked nutritionists to reveal some of the best ways for how to stick to your diet, whether you’ve decided to embrace a vegan, paleo, keto, or virtually any other eating ethos.

1

Start now.

Many say they’ll start going to the gym when work calms down or start eating healthier after the weekend, but there’s no better day than this one. “It’s natural to consider taking time to regroup and then resume (or start over) when life feels easier—take New Year’s for instance. At the same time, this impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage your plans for improved nutrition, health, and fitness. We call this the ‘pause-button mentality,'” explains Brian St.Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS, Precision Nutrition’s Director of Performance.”This pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing. This is compounded by the illusion that if we start fresh later we can find the magical right time to begin.”

2

Don’t fall victim to the ‘fast and feast’ cycle.

“The main stumbling block I find among those trying to lose weight is what I call the ‘fast and feast cycle,'” says Bonnie Balk, RD, Registered Dietitian and Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics. “Dieters usually decide they need to shed their weight pronto, so they start by barely eating (or skipping meals entirely) throughout the day, only to come home and devour whatever is in sight. When the surge of fatigue, dizziness, and hunger kicks in at night, they lose their self-control. Research suggests that skipping breakfast increases both waist circumference and BMI, resulting in obesity. Plus, studies of individuals with strict diet restraints show they binge eat later on. Beyond what and how much we’re eating, when we eat is a key player in losing weight.”

3

Don’t make rules; make choices.

When you approach a diet with a restrictive mindset, you’re more likely to give up on that diet. When it comes to how to stick to a diet, Rachel Fine, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition recommends an inclusive approach. “An inclusive approach is key to long-term success. Instead of rules, make choices. Add more minimally processed, nutrient-dense, plant-based foods like fresh produce, nuts, seeds, and legumes to your meals,” says Fine. “An ‘eat less’ calorie-counted mindset can set us up for a cycle of guilt when we don’t meet unfair expectations. On the other hand, an inclusive approach allows for enjoyment of all foods.”

4

Refocus social gatherings away from food.

“Other reasons diets fail is that our culture is one of convenience and social interaction. When it comes to convenience, following a restrictive diet can be incredibly difficult. Either the person gravitates toward fast food options or they starve themselves until they get to a place where they can eat again,” explains Mary-Catherine Stockman, MPH, RD, LDN of BusyBabesNutrition. “When it comes to socializing, Americans tend to center socialization around food—a holiday party, a baby shower, grabbing drinks after work. These environmental factors make it difficult to stick to restrictions and can actually increase stress.” Instead of meeting up around food or booze, ask if a friend wants to go for a walk, take a yoga class together, or check out a museum exhibit.

5

Stop counting calories.

Don’t let the endless array of calorie-counting apps fool you. In the long-term, counting calories is likely doing more harm than good. “Calorie counting is not sustainable, because no one can keep up with it forever. When people eventually quit, they may feel like a failure or become so frustrated that they give up on their diet altogether,” says Joanna Foley, RD, CLT, who runs a holistic nutrition coaching business. “Instead of focusing on calories, I recommend focusing on nutrients. Make sure your meals are balanced with a proper ratio of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.” For better alternatives, there are always these counting calories alternatives.

6

Stop obsessing over what you ‘can’t have.’

Because the truth is, you can eat virtually anything, as long as it’s a healthy portion and you keep “indulgent, caloric treats” in the “rare treats” category. But beyond that, this narrowing mindframe can set you up for failure. “Diets are overly restrictive and unrealistic for long-term use. It may be possible to avoid carbs for a month or so, or to reduce portion sizes for a week, but what happens after that? If your body has been accustomed to eating certain things in a certain way, deviating from that in a significant way is going to backfire,” says Foley. “Instead of removing entire food groups, significantly cutting portion sizes, and focusing on what you ‘can’t have,’ focus on making small, realistic changes that focus on what you CAN have.” This mentality will help you stick to your diet so you can happily maintain it long-term.

7

Eat the rainbow.

“Eat the rainbow” may sound cliché, but it’s true. “I often get asked by my clients why they aren’t losing weight when they’re counting all their calories, eating salads for every meal, and eating fewer calories than their calculated needs. The weight will not come off when your body is lacking essential nutrients,” says Amy Chow, RD, a registered dietitian and co-founder of the BC Dietitians Directory. “It’s always a good idea to have your diet assessed by a registered dietitian to see if you need supplements and how you can maximize your metabolism.” Worth noting: In general, it’s better to get nutrients from a food source rather than supplements.

RELATED: Learn how to fire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way.

8

Determine if ‘cheat days’ are working for or against you.

“When and how people decide to ‘give up’ on their diet varies from person-to-person. For some, the idea of having a ‘cheat day’ may help them stick with the diet longer because they know they will allow themselves foods they enjoy on certain days,” offers Foley. “For others, though, ‘cheat meals’ and ‘cheat days’ can quickly get out of hand and can end up being cheat weeks, months, etc.” If including a “cheat day” or “cheat meal” in your routine spills beyond the allotted period, rethink this strategy. In Foley’s opinion, “For a diet to be sustainable, there should be no such thing as ‘cheat days,’ because the eating plan should be set up in a way that is realistic and enjoyable to the person following it.” If you know this concept works for you, check out our guidelines for making a cheat meal worthwhile.

9

Focus on a few small changes.

“Focus on one-to-two simple changes, stick to them for a month and then add on other changes the next month. Soon enough, these small changes will become second-nature and you won’t be so overwhelmed when you add on other changes,” suggests Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living. A few of Kostro Miller’s examples of simple changes include “I will go to the gym two times per week every week” and “I will eat three vegetarian-style dinners each week.”

10

Set SMART goals.

“One reason diets fail is due to setting unrealistic goals and losing motivation. It took a long time to put the weight on and it will take time for it to come off,” says Terrie Jorgenson, RD, LD. “Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals to increase your chance for success.” As Jorgenson quoted to us, perhaps it is Mark Twain who said it best: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.”

11

Incorporate plenty of filling foods into all your meals.

“Diets rarely consider a person’s satiety and satisfaction. They push the idea of limiting one’s food and calories, and they aren’t sustainable for most people. To overcome it, people need to
find satiating foods (such as protein and healthy fat) that promote weight loss,” advises Sofia Norton, RD, health and nutrition writer, and ketogenic diet expert at Kiss My Keto.

12

Use your hands to measure portions.

Not to eat, but as a free portioning tool. “Your hand is proportionate to your body size, its size never changes, and it’s always with you, making it the perfect tool for measuring food and nutrients—no detailed tracking or calorie-counting required,” says St.Pierre.

“These specific hand-sized portions (palms for protein, fists for vegetables, cupped handfuls for carbs, and thumbs for fats) essentially track macros and count calories for you. This lets you simply and easily build out your meals, with minimal counting or tracking required.”

13

Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues.

“If people are dieting, they may ignore their natural hunger cues and try to rely on ‘willpower’ instead. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to make sure you’re eating enough, and having a sufficient amount of protein, fiber, and good quality fats in every meal to keep you satisfied and your blood sugar balanced which will keep low energy and cravings at bay,” suggests Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, Daily Harvest’s nutritionist and the founder and director of Real Nutrition.

14

Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep.

“People often are not prepared. Meal prep really helps you to stay on-point. If you don’t cook, then you should menu stalk or order a meal delivery service that focuses on health,” says Shapiro, who is a big fan of the convenience and ease of Daily Harvest, which includes plenty of veggies in each dish. “If you get to meal-time and you are hungry and don’t have anything healthy to eat, chances of eating unhealthy food increases.”

15

Upgrade your favorite foods to make them healthier.

“Figure out healthier ways to eat the foods you love,” says nutritionist Brocha Soloff, RD, of iHeart Health. She suggests tweaks like making a healthy pizza on high-fiber tortillas.

16

Try a food journal—at least in the short-term until you’re settled into your new lifestyle.

“People tend to underestimate their intake, and the best way to keep track is to keep a detailed food journal in real time three-to-four days per week instead of counting calories every day,” offers Chow. “Food is more than just calories, a detailed food journal can teach you to be more mindful about your portion sizes, timing of your meals, your stress level and feelings and other things you could improve on.” Also, the actual act of having to write things down by hand or type it out in a document may inspire you to think twice before grabbing that extra double chocolate chunk cookie.

17

Treat your body with some TLC.

Your body does so much for you, each and every day. Go gentle on yourself, especially if you stray from your diet a bit.”If you get a dent in your car, do you smash it with a hammer afterward? Although this sounds ridiculous, this is the reality of what people do when they ‘cheat’ from their diet and then give up entirely,” cautions Balk. “By shifting our mindset to viewing our body as our vehicle for surviving this world, we would be more forgiving and do our utmost to treat it with ultimate care.”

18

Celebrate the little victories.

“Once a client achieves that specific and measurable goal, they get a deposit of confidence and can move onto another area of a healthy dietary pattern,” says Stockman. “By setting clients up for small successes, they realize that nutrition does not need to be restrictive and that it can be sustainable long-term.” You can even celebrate with a little non-food reward like a spa day, manicure, or new workout shorts! While this is top of mind, jot down a few small daily healthy eating goals that you think can work for you.

19

Don’t let one slip up throw you off course.

Gone overboard on vacation, at a holiday party, or because your mood got the best of you? “When you mess up, my best advice is to pick up right where you left off. Don’t even try to compensate by skipping the next meal because that will just get you into this vicious cycle,” suggest Soloff. Be kind to yourself, reinforce your dedication to eating healthy, and remember nobody is perfect. Just because you didn’t stick to your diet for one day or one week doesn’t mean you can’t hop right back on the bandwagon.

20

Be committed for the long-haul.

The power is in your hands, seize it. “We’ve done over a decade of research with thousands of our clients, men and women from all walks of life, from multiple Olympic gold medalists to people who have never once set foot in a gym (and don’t intend to). And in that research, we discovered the answer: to get in shape once and for all, you have to do things that are simpler than people expect, but for longer than people expect,” says St.Pierre.

21

Continue to eat (or drink) your favorite foods.

A life without cookies is a sad one indeed. “One way to still control your overall calorie intake while enjoying your favorite foods: Allow yourself one serving of a ‘special food item’ per day (i.e. candy, chocolate, alcohol, chips),” shares Kostro Miller. “If you count calories, this may equate to 100-200 calories per day of a ‘special food item.’ If you can limit special foods even more (i.e. limit to 2x per week), then go for it, but if you’re like me, I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t have chocolate every single day!” On that note, did somebody say popcorn?

22

Eat with intention.

We’re not talking about table manners. “Focus on not only what to eat, but also on how to eat; this is a key piece missing for most people, and from most coaching programs,” says St. Pierre. “The two main ways to improve how you eat, are to 1) eat slowly, and 2) stop at satisfied, instead of stuffed. This is surprisingly difficult for most people. It’s also surprisingly rewarding, as it begins to build the skill of self-regulating their intake.” So if that means you have to leave food on your plate, so be it. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell your mom.)

23

Don’t villainize food.

No food is inherently evil or amazing. “To restrict a certain food group, or only focus on for a week, you are not learning about proper nutrition, and when you slip, you smack the floor hard, since you’re not aware of how to get back up,” says Balk. Instead, focus on selecting meal plans that strike you as delicious, sustainable, and realistic for your lifestyle.

24

Don’t yo-yo diet.

Why kick your 2020 off in this detrimental manner? “Yo-yo dieting can result in sharp decreases in the body’s fat stores, which further results in hormonal deficiencies that control appetite, such as leptin,” explains Fine. “As a result, we often see yo-yo dieters chronically hungry and generally out-of-tune with their intuitive feelings of hunger and fullness. To overcome this hurdle, it’s imperative to reconsider the use of calorie- and fat-restricted diets, and rather consider an inclusive approach.” To keep yourself on track and stop yo-yo dieting, keep a calendar. Cross off every day you stick to your diet. You’ll notice you naturally keep it going as you see the streak build!

25

Free yourself of the diet = deprivation mindset.

People automatically associate being on a diet with eating less or depriving themselves of something, and research shows that deprivation alters the mental state and often leads to eventual overeating,” says Foley. “This can lead to guilt and an inevitable restrict-binge-guilt pattern that can be so hard to break free from.”

26

Don’t feel guilty about eating certain foods.

Kostro Miller put it best: “Those who have the best relationship with food do not feel guilty when they have a high-fat/high-sugar food item or meal every once in a while. know they will always revert back to their healthy diet.”

27

Prioritize produce over processed foods.

“Fill half your plate with vegetables and/or fruits,” says Megan Wong, RD, who is the registered dietitian for AlgaeCal. “Fill yourself up with healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals instead of unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates.” Yes, fruits, veggies, and fiber is the key to eating more and weighing less.

28

Use the ‘eyeball method’ to set up your plate.

“The plate method (half your plate veggies, a quarter carbohydrate, and a quarter protein) is an easier and effective ‘eyeball’ method . It helps to keep your portion control in check, preventing overeating and weight gain,” notes Balk. Challenge yourself to stick to these guidelines as much as possible and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to stick to your diet.

29

Think beyond protein, carbs, and fat to your body’s micronutrient needs.

“People fail with their diets because they ignore their micronutrient needs. Being deficient in vitamins and minerals leads to metabolic problems that affect your body’s ability to manage its weight,” advises Norton. “One 2010 study showed that those who consumed vitamin and mineral supplements were leaner and had lower body fat. The key to avoiding this diet hurdle is to make sure that you meet your daily micronutrient requirements through whole foods or supplementation.”

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Realize that what works for others might not be what works for you.

“Instead of pressing pause, or feeling like you blew it, adjust the dial for the day,” says St.Pierre on rebounding after you stray from your healthy eating plan and feel tempted to beat yourself up. “You can achieve your goals; just know that your path will look different than everyone else, including your own expectations.” Your vegan-when-sober friend’s diet may be very different than your friend who dropped 20 pounds on Whole 30, and that’s a-ok, they’re not you, and maintaining a healthy diet is about what finding what works best for you—for this new year, and every year thereafter.

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Diet for losing weight

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