As the summer comes to a close, routines set back into our daily lives. It’s routine that is most effective in helping people lose weight. Fall is often a time when rhythms shift, days get shorter and people resort to comfort foods. Plan ahead to not give into these habits and create new patterns that are sustainable for your waistline as well as your budget. Whether your goal is to take off the 15 lbs. brought on by leisurely summer living or lose that 50 lbs. you’ve wanted to take off for the past few years, it comes down to first making the decision to commit to your goals and then setting into a routine that will support your decision.
Here are some easy steps to settle into a healthy sustainable routine.
Step 1: Reset on Sunday morning
A dedicated day to plan your meals can make all the difference. Sunday grocery shopping can reset your attitude and make you more mindful of the things you need to do to align with your goals for the week. Sunday is a day to center yourself and take stock. Take stock of the pantry, what you have run out of, what you can clean out and what items in the fridge you can throw away. Then go grocery shopping. Plan out your meals for the week ahead of time, making the time to be mindful not only of your own goals and health but your family's as well. Children today are more often obese and diabetic than ever before in our history. This is not only a reflection of what they eat at school or out in restaurants, but good habits start with what you feed them at home. Plan the meals for the week in a way that is easy and feasible. A simple dinner of meat and steamed veggies or sautéed stir fry can make all the difference. Menu planning of “soup nights” and “lettuce wrap nights” with healthy alternatives makes dinner planning fun and budget friendly.
Step 2: Limit the impromptu dinners out
Eating out and social events are a normal part of life. If you examine your patterns carefully chances are you can identify how often you end up eating out and plan your week and even month in a way that makes you feel less deprived. This is the key to long-term weight-loss success. Limiting social events to once or twice a week will allow you to have control of your time and energy levels as well as give you the opportunity to replenish your social life. If you find yourself in a place where there are no suitable options available that allow you to stay on track with your food goals, look a little closer. Chances are you will find that there are always ways to combat your cravings even on the go. Eating a small healthy snack before you get to the event will leave you less vulnerable to last-minute offerings. Learn to use your eyes to gauge portion sizes. In general 3 to 4 ounces of a protein (the size of a deck of cards) and 1 to 2 ounces of a fat like cheese (a pair of dice) is all you need in a meal out. Fill yourself up on a clear tea or water with lemon while you converse with friends. You will find that as you focus more on the relationships, you will snack less.
Step 3: Become a fancy drinker
Drinking can often limit your weight-loss success substantially even if you are doing everything else right. However making the right choices with the drinks you chose can really make a big difference. Beer is one of the worst choices that you can make when picking your drink of choice. Pick vodka with lime or a dry Grey Goose martini with an olive for a fancier option. You are better off opting for the scotch on rocks and hard liquors than the beer or wine options if weight loss is your goal. Limit to 1 drink per event and notice that your waist will not be hijacked by the social events.
Step 4: Pack your lunch and snacks to save dollars and shed pounds
Having access to foods you need when you need them along with a mental prowess to reach for them rather than succumb to your surroundings can make a big difference. Easy snacks like nuts and cheese sticks travel well in your bag. Being on a weight-loss plan does not need to break the bank and in fact does the opposite. Some healthy snack options include 10 almonds with half an avocado, peppers with a sour cream dip or almond butter with celery. Breakfast can start with a Greek yogurt with some chia seeds and raspberries or two boiled eggs. Lunch can be a large bowl of salad greens with a 4 oz. piece of salmon or chicken or lox. Dinner can be a small steak with steamed veggies. There are easy ways to create meals that you can use throughout the week and repurpose ingredients to stretch your dollar further while you shed pounds.
Take some time to rethink your weight goals as fall approaches and the school routine starts again. Reset your mind to plan out your week and fall into a familiar rhythm to meet both work and personal goals.