Most goals are a work-in-progress. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back and re-evaluate your promises to yourself.
The key to staying committed to a health goal – whether it’s to fit in exercise three times a week or to cook lower-calorie, low-carb recipes at home more often – is to renew your vows. Then troubleshoot the obstacles that are getting in your way. Here’s some help:
The problem: You’re too busy to plan and cook healthy meals.
The solution: Simplify. Don’t try to prepare gourmet meals every night of the week; stick to speedy dinners that require few ingredients and are ready in 30 minutes. If your schedule tends to be unpredictable, skew toward recipes with ingredients that aren’t super-perishable.
The problem: You miss your favorite foods.
The solution: Eat them. If you’re giving up all the foods you love, your “I will eat healthier” resolution needs tweaking. If your goal is to eat healthier forever, it’s actually essential to make sure that the changes you’re making are ones you can live with. Budget your favorite desserts – small, reasonable portions, of course – into your eating plan. Make room for a slice of pizza occasionally.
The problem: You blew it.
The solution: Get over it. For lots of people, going overboard on, say, brownies or pizza sets off a downward spiral of eating that can last for days. (Oh, well, this week is shot. … I’ll start again Monday.) Learn to see little lapses for what they are: little lapses. Acknowledge, forgive and forget. Get right back on track by planning a delicious, light next meal that will remind you just how yummy low-calorie, nutritious meals can be!
The problem: You’re working hard to eat healthier, but the scale isn’t budging.
The solution: Give yourself a refresher on portion sizes. It could be you’re eating more than you think you are. Three ounces of meat (or other protein) looks like a deck of cards, a medium potato should be the size of a computer mouse and a quarter cup of anything should be about as big as a golf ball.
Measure out the recommended portion of cereal before you dump it in your bowl and see how far it fills the bowl. Find out how much your soup ladle holds: If it’s ¾ of a cup, you’ll forever know that two scoops equal a satisfying 1½-cup serving.