Try to get some exercise. Experts say that exercising three times a week for ten minutes is just as effective as exercising thirty minutes all at once. That means you don’t have to go to the gym to get exercise. Help out in the garden, go for a fun run, bike around the neighborhood, walk your dog or take the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall. All those little steps add up!
Make plans that don’t focus on food. If you’re like me, you love getting together with your friends for pizza, ice cream, or burgers. But if you find that you’re spending most of your friend-time sitting across a table from your buddies, it might be time to mix things up. Go bowling, take a yoga class or just hang out at home and play Xbox Kinect games. Lunch and dinner don’t have to be the only plans!
A little of this, a little of that. Don’t let a cupcake psych you out. It’s okay to have a treat once in a while, as long as you’re eating in a healthy way most of the time. Of course, a Big Mac Diet isn’t the healthiest. But a side of fries now and ten – just not every day! – won’t kill you.
Talk to your parents. If your kitchen cupboards are filled with sugary treats and high-fat snacks, you may want to say something to your parents. Sit down with them and tell them that you’re interested in healthy eating – not just for yourself, but for the rest of the family too. Then you can all go through the kitchen together and find ways to substitute healthy foods for unhealthy ones.
Don’t use food as a reward. You’ve aced your test, you’ve won your game – it’s cookie time! If this is your thinking, it’s time for a mental adjustment. Same thing if you find yourself raiding the fridge at the end of a yucky day, thinking, I deserve to eat this half-gallon ice cream. Realize that food won’t make you feel better. Call a friend, do your nails, redecorate your room, engage in an activity you enjoy, lose yourself in a hobby or craft project.
Don’t be too hard on yourself! Hey, nobody’s perfect! It’s better to eat well most of the time than to try to eat “perfectly” all the time and beat yourself up when you don’t. Realize that there will be times – holidays, birthdays – when you eat a little more. Just go back to your normal eating habits when the special event is over. That way, it’s always easy to get back on track!