- Eat enough during the day: If you don’t eat enough for breakfast and lunch, you run the risk of getting overly hungry and reaching for something high in refined carbohydrates/sugar, like candy, muffins, pretzels, etc. for quick energy. This is your body’s way of responding to a fuel tank that’s below “E”. When that tank is too low, you’re likely to overeat and reach for less healthy options, leading to weight gain and lower energy levels in the long run. Aim for a breakfast of at least 350 calories (400 – 500 calories if you work out intensely every day). Lunch should be around 450 – 600 calories. Plan at least one 150 – 200 calorie snack in between meals. Do this on a daily basis and you’ll find your energy level higher, your waistline slimmer, and your appetite more satisfied!
- Practice positive self-talk: When it comes to making healthy choices, instead of hearing the little voice inside your head say “you HAVE to do this”, practicing saying that you WANT to do it. For example, I GET to hit the gym after class/work; I WANT to pack snacks to keep me going through the afternoon; I’m EXCITED to make time to start my day with a healthy breakfast. Framing choices in a positive way takes them from so-so to so-awesome. Every time you make a healthy choice, give yourself a pat on the back and make a mental note about how great you feel. And it never hurts to place a few sticky notes around your mirror that say “You’re awesome — and you deserve to feel great today.”
- Use your kitchen: Preparing more meals yourself can automatically help you avoid extra calories, fat, and sodium — all things that can leave you carrying extra weight and feeling bloated. Plus, making your own meals saves money… and that means a bigger budget for other things to make you look and feel better like a manicure or pedicure, a great magazine and a latte, new workout gear, or a yoga/pilates class at a fancy studio.
- Eat whole foods more than processed foods: Eating too many processed/refined foods (think anything packaged that contains more than 5 ingredients) can mean you’re getting too much sodium, too many calories, and not enough nutrition. This can leave you feeling and looking less than your best. Focus your diet on getting a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats. If you eat whole foods MOST often, then the occasional fast-food stop or packaged meal isn’t a big deal! Plus, you’ll likely feel like you’re eating more food when you choose unprocessed options most often.
- Get enough sleep: Research shows that when you’re short on sleep, your hunger hormones kick on and tell you you’re hungry even when you’ve had enough to eat. Most people need at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. If you’re not sleeping enough, make it a point to re-work your schedule as much as possible to get to bed at an earlier hour (or sleep later). If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try skipping anything with caffeine after 1pm, shutting off your TV and computer at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and making a to-do list for the next day. Sometimes putting your to-dos onto paper can help clear your mind and allow you to get to sleep faster.