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Getting back on track with weight loss can be quite a challenge. When I go on vacation or during a holiday, I tend to eat a little less healthy and focus more on enjoying myself than on eating healthy. I can definitely tell you from experience that getting back in the habit of losing weight is one of the hardest parts of staying in shape.
When you’ve spent the last few days (or even weeks) eating whatever you want, it can be difficult to tell yourself that you can no longer have five cookies and a piece of cake (ok, maybe that’s just me?). The good news is you don’t have to.
There is a misconception out there that losing weight requires willpower. People who struggle with losing weight believe that they don’t have enough willpower to resist that cookie or that the bacon was calling their name and they just couldn’t refuse. They think that they are weak and just can’t lose weight. I know because those are things that I’ve told myself.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. Weight loss has a lot less to do with willpower and a lot more to do with your environment. If your environment is set up to encourage overeating and unhealthy habits, then that’s what you will do on a regular basis. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, then you should set yourself up for success.
When it comes to getting back on track with weight loss, one of the best things you can do is to set your environment to help rather than prevent you from losing weight. Below are some tips to help you get back on track and be successful in your weight loss goals.
Tip 1: Get back on track with weight loss by clearing your pantry
Go through your pantry and kitchen cabinets and take stock of all of the unhealthy food that you have. If there is anything in there that you just can’t resist on a regular basis, it needs to go. Clean out all of the cookies, chips, cake, ice cream, etc. that you are hoarding or have leftover from the holidays.
If there is something that you know you can eat small amounts of without devouring the entire package, you can leave it. It’s great to have some treats or snacks but they can’t be something that you can’t resist. For me, that’s Nutella. I cannot have Nutella in the house or I will eat the WHOLE.ENTIRE.JAR. Not kidding! If chips or cookies or crackers are your weakness, they need to go. Now.
Everything else can stay but you need to make it as inconvenient as possible for you to get to it. One of the best ways to do that is to put it on the highest shelf of the pantry or a kitchen cabinet, way out of reach. Somewhere that requires you get a step stool to reach it. That way, you’ll really have to think twice before getting it out.
Tip 2: Get back on track with weight loss by prepping some healthy snacks
Another great way to set yourself up for success with getting back on track with weight loss is to plan and prepare healthy snacks. Grab some clear containers and fill them up with chopped up fruits and vegetables in snack-ready sizes. Stock your refrigerator with hummus, baby carrots, plain yogurt, string cheese, boiled eggs and other healthy snacks. Put all of the healthy snacks front and center in clear containers so they are the first thing you see when you open the fridge.
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This way, when you get hungry, you will have a variety of healthy snacks you can have right at your fingertips. Having them front and center in clear containers means that you’ll reach for them by default rather than eat something less healthy, Set yourself up for success by having healthy options already ready to go as soon as hunger strikes.
Tip 3: Get back on track with weight loss by making a plan
If you are trying to get back to losing weight, you need to plan your meals for the week. This means breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus any snacks. Find healthy and tasty recipes that you actually enjoy and pick what you would like to have during the week. Then go ahead and make those meals so you can portion them out in individual containers and have them ready to go for lunch during the week.
The more you can take the guesswork out of what you are eating and how much you are eating, the more likely you’ll be actually successful with getting back on track with weight loss. Bring your own lunch to work on most days so you can control what exactly you eat. If you are planning on going out, go online and look over the menu of the restaurant before you go and make a quick plan on what you’ll order that’s healthy and tasty.
If you leave your meals and snacks up to your mood, you will make bad choices. When you’re hungry, you won’t be able to sit and make a rational decision about how you’ll get the salad instead of the burger. Seeing what everyone else is ordering will also sway your decision, In fact, if you can, make sure you order first so you don’t end up changing your mind at the last minute when you see what everyone else is ordering. If you’ve already decided on what you’ll be eating, you can focus instead of having fun and hanging out with everyone in your group.
Making a plan means that you’ve set yourself up for success. If you know you get hungry mid-morning and usually hit up the vending machine, bring a healthy snack you can have instead. That way you won’t be hangry and making bad decisions such as grabbing that stale donut from the breakroom.
Tip 4: Get back on track with weight loss by knowing your limits
If someone in your office brings cookies or donuts and puts them out for everyone, don’t count on your willpower to resist. You may resist or you may not but the best thing you can do is simply to avoid having to make the decision. Avoid walking by tempting food so you don’t have to spend time arguing and bargaining with yourself about how you can have a cookie if you do an extra ten minutes on the treadmill at the gym.
Think about common situations that usually result in bad food choices and make a plan as to how you’ll handle them. If, for example, you tend to be starving by the time you get home from work, then plan a healthy snack you can have right before you leave work or first thing when you walk in the door. Have it ready to go front and center in your fridge so you can grab it when you get home. The same goes for parties, hanging out with friends, etc. Make a plan for the most common situations that result in you eating unhealthy and figure out how to make better decisions so when the time comes, you can make the healthy choice on autopilot.
Tip 5: Get back on track with weight loss by downsizing your plates and cups
One of the quickest and easiest ways to get back on track with weight loss is to start eating out of a salad plate for all of your meals. This forces automatic portion control since you can’t pile on as much on a smaller plate. In addition, we mostly eat with our eyes so chances are you’ll still feel full after eating out of a much smaller plate since it’ll be full of food. The trick is to fill your plate with veggies in addition to starches and proteins. In fact, fill half of your plate with salad or healthy veggies such as broccoli and carrots.
Another trick is to have all of the food in the kitchen rather than on the table and have everyone serve themselves before sitting down. That way you’re not tempted to serve yourself just a little more of this or that just because it’s in front of you. If you see food in front of you within easy reach, chances are that you’ll reach for it even if you’re not hungry. That’s why you should move the bread basket or chips out of reach when you’re at a restaurant. The more you have to work each time you want to grab something, the less chance that you’ll eat too much.
Which leads me to my next point:
Tip 6: Get back on track with weight loss by watching your portions
One of the main reasons we have such a hard time getting back on track with losing weight is that we get used to overeating regularly, Or maybe that’s just me? For example, during Thanksgiving, I stuff my face with food and two or three different desserts. If that’s not enough, a couple of hours later I go back for more food even though I know I’m not technically hungry. The siren song of tasty (and often unhealthy food) is hard to ignore even when we’re not hungry.
This is one of the reasons why you try to get back on track with eating healthy and losing weight, you are constantly hungry. You’ve stretched your stomach and taught yourself that eating too much and eating when you’re not hungry is desirable. Now that you are ready to get back on track with weight loss, your stomach is still telling you that you’re hungry even when you’re already full since you’re used to overeating.
If that’s the case with you, make sure to measure your food for the next couple of weeks so you can get a better idea of how much you should actually be eating. To prevent being constantly hungry, add a cup of fruits and a cup of veggies to every meal to help fill you up. You can also try other tricks such as drinking unsweetened tea between meals to keep your tastebuds occupied and snacking on air-popped popcorn.
Tip 7: Get back on track with weight loss by weighing yourself
If you want to get back on track with weight loss, you have to weigh yourself regularly. In my experience, weighing myself regularly is a great way to stay on track with my weight loss since it gives me a way to gauge how well I’m sticking to my healthy eating plan. I’d suggest weighing yourself (almost) every day but at least 2-3 times a week will be enough to help you stay on track.
Some of my favorite tools for getting back on track with weight loss include:
- Kitchen scale – this is the one I have and love. It has a “Tare” function that lets me zero out the weight of a container before adding food to it.
- Clear containers – I love these clear glass containers because they let me store already washed and cut up fruits and veggies. They also stack really well in the fridge and they are easy to clean.
- Measuring spoons – I love having a couple of measuring spoon sets handy for various sauces and dressings.
- Measuring cups – the same goes for my measuring cups. I use them every day to measure out things such as oatmeal when I’m making my breakfast.
- Divided containers – these are very handy when doing meal prep. You can just fill them up with proteins, starches, and veggies so your lunch is ready to go.
- Bathroom scale – having a reliable bathroom scale is important so you can stay on top of your weight and know if what you’re doing is working or if you need to make an adjustment.
These are my top tips for getting back on track with losing weight. What are some of the ways you’ve found to get back on track after a setback?