Confession, my metabolism now is not what it was when I was in my twenties. However, I hate dieting. I don’t do it and I won’t do it. I am a lover of food and one of my favorite things to do is try out new restaurants and indulge in new dishes. Last year, I realized if I wanted to continue my lifestyle of dining out on the weekends I needed to find a balance of healthy eating day to day.
The catch was this – I needed small changes in order to make this a realistic goal. Truth: I am never going to cut out carbs all together. I don’t have hours to make meals, and I never have been able to stick to anything that is a fad. Small and subtle changes would be easiest to put into my lifestyle. So I found five easy changes that helped me to lose and maintain my weight.
When craving salty – ditch the chips and stick with nuts.
This has been a really quick and easy change for me to make mostly because I really love nuts – especially almonds and cashews. I started doing this a few months ago when I realized it wasn’t exactly a chip I was craving but rather a salty snack. This is actually a double win because the nuts will also provide you with the much needed extra protein to keep you feeling fuller throughout the day.
Make grocery a list and stick to it.
This is not only a good way to avoid buying extra food that might appeal to you in a weak moment, but this is also good for your budget. When you overbuy and have extra snacks readily available in the house temptation can set in. My other tip is to always go to the grocery store after you have eaten. If you go hungry you may end up spending more money on things you might be craving in the moment.
Cut out Soda. Yes, all soda’s – diet included.
Sadly, this is a really hard one for me. My one addiction in life is diet coke. However, this actually works. When I was pregnant with both of my children, I quit drinking soda each time. Within my first month of pregnancy I lost over ten pounds with both children by just making this simple change. Water is the best thing to drink. I struggle with only drinking water so I do crystal light for a little added flavor. Bonus points for those who commit to drinking a glass of water prior to eating.
When you are hungry – eat.
Wait – what? I know this one sounds counter-intuitive. Studies will show that eating smaller meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism boosted and keep you feeling more sustained rather than binging on three large meals per day. The key here is to make sure you portion your snacks and choose the right kinds of snacks. My go to snacks are apples and peanut butter, nuts, and Greek yogurt with fresh berries.
Eat a salad once a day.
I used to be the kind of person who had dressing with a side of salad. I realized I wasn’t making the “right” kind of salad. I was eating for the dressings and not for the vegetables that make up the salad. This year I started to make salads with more items that I enjoy. My daily salad typically consists of spinach, red and orange peppers, crushed walnuts and feta cheese with oil and balsamic vinegar. This is so filling. I love how all of the different flavors come together. Once I started adding ingredients to the salad I loved, I started to look forward to this each and every day.
Throughout this past year, I have seen these small changes make a big difference in my diet. Not only is this helping me to lose weight, but also gives me more energy and makes me feel all around better. I still have a long way to go on my journey to live a healthy lifestyle, but I have been really happy with these changes!