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Don't Quit Yet! - Medically Speaking, Volume Two, Number Seven, 01/22/15

We are into late-January and statistically that means many of us are already starting to push aside our New Years resolutions and pick up our old habits. If one of your goals relates to eating healthier this year, you are not alone! Here are a few tips to help you stay on track.

1. Plan Ahead – "What's for dinner?" If you know ahead that you will be grilling some chicken and serving it with winter squash and a spinach salad it makes the task of preparing a healthful dinner so much easier. Without a plan, you are much more likely to dig in the freezer for that frozen pizza or stop at the nearest fast food restaurant on your way home from work. The same goes for breakfast and lunch. Planning ahead and taking snacks or a healthy sack lunch with you to work will make it much easier to stay on track. Otherwise you are likely to let yourself get hungry and hit the vending machine for a snack and a convenient store for lunch.

2. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind – When you make a food that tempts you to eat the whole batch, do not leave it sitting out. Whether it is a savory nacho dip or a mouth-watering brownie, we all have foods that are hard to resist. If you leave it sitting on the countertop you are likely to snitch a bite every time you walk by. So put it in the cupboard or refrigerator. If you make a batch of cookies and don't want to eat all 5 dozen of them, simply put them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer for another day.

3. Serve From The Stove Top – Dishing your family's meals from the stove top will decrease the temptation to return for extra helpings. (It also makes clean up a little easier!)

4. Snack Often – There isn't a lot of scientific evidence that supports the metabolic health claims associated with eating more frequently. However, some people do just prefer to be grazers more than feasters. Eating more often can help people avoid hunger, especially when following a low Calorie diet. If you are one of these people try eating every 2-3 hours or 5-6 minimeals a day. Just make sure that your food choices remain healthful and that you are not overdoing the calories at the end of the day. Aim to get some protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats at each "mini meal".

5. Don't Bring It Through The Doors – One of the easiest ways to make eating healthy more of a habit is by simply stocking your kitchen with foods that are good for your body. When the night time munchies hit, there are healthy choices to choose from. Few of us are going to make a night run to the store solely for a bag of potato chips or ice cream.

6. Be Accountable – Whether you prefer to report to a close friend, a group, or simply write down your intake in a food journal, accountability matters. Keeping a food journal is one of the top behaviors that support long-term weight loss. With today's technology there are a lot of various food trackers out there. My favorite happens to be myfitnesspal.com

7. Keep Starting Over – If you fall of the wagon, jump right back on. Don't wait until Monday, or even the next day. Start with the next time you eat! Everyone has days of unhealthy eating where our motivation lacks, but don't let it turn into a week or a month. Keep reaching for your goals and you will get there!!

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