When it comes to making a lifestyle change, every day brings new challenges to staying on track, along with new opportunities to succeed. How do you increase your chances for success beyond the 1st couple of months of 2018?
We asked our staff Registered Dietitian, Samantha Budwit, to develop a weekly healthy plan that will help to set you on the path for success.
Monday is viewed as a fresh start where everything is a new, making Monday a great day to start or restart a health focused regimen. To begin set SMART simple goals for the week, be specific and put your goals in writing. Rather than saying I want to lose 3 pounds this week, write down what you will do this week toward your ultimate goal. A simple list could be something like this:
- Bring my lunch 3 or more times
- Walk for 30-45 minutes 4 times a week, 2 days before and 1 day after work and once on the weekend.
- Add a garden salad before your dinner 4 nights a week.
- Supplement a bag of chips with veggies and hummus 2 times a week
Starting slow is OK, remember, these are SMART goals and they are designed to help you build a platform for success. Making changes takes time and effort. A focus on small, achievable goals will yield the long-term results you’re looking for.
Watch out, many surveys have said Tuesday is the most stressful day of the week, specifically between 10:30 and 12:30. Why you ask, well it’s because most of us “coast” through Monday catching up with co-workers about the weekend, and clearing the cluttered inbox.
When stress hits, most people do what is called stress eating. You’ll need to develop a plan to combat this emotional response to stress. To start avoid the vending machine, and office birthday parties. Planning ahead for stress eating can be as simple as, have nourishing, satisfying and pre-portion snacks at the ready. Some examples could be high fiber dry cereal, fruit, or a handful of unsalted nuts.
Tuesday is also the best day to shop for those healthy snacks, as it is the least busy day at the grocery store giving you more time to explore for healthy options. Not a fan of the grocery store, take a look at delivery services like Graze, and Daily Harvest for snacks or Home Chef and Hello Fresh for meal kit delivery.
It’s not only mid-week; it’s a great day to check in with your SMART goals. Have you been focused on portion control, food groups, and activity level? If your resolve is weakening, try these tips to control your food consumption:
- Remove distractions from meals and snacks, put down your phone and savor each bite.
- Eat with your eyes closed; notice the taste, temperature, and texture of your meal. It will help you east less and appreciate the meal more.
- Find a workout buddy to walk with at lunch.
Wednesday is also an excellent day to measure progress, like stepping on a scale, or taking your blood pressure. There are many simple solutions for tracking weight, BMI and blood pressure overtime, and some with rewards tied to the measurement like Higi.
Did you know gyms and fitness centers are less crowded on Thursdays, making it the perfect day to get a workout in? You’ll have the run of all the machines without competing for space, making the gym experience more enjoyable.
If you’re planning to go out on the weekend, a less crowded gym will allow you to extend your workout, burning a couple hundred extra calories before a night out on the town.
You’ve made it to the end of the workweek, take time to review your progress against your SMART goals, you’ve only got two more days this week to meet them. Celebrate your success thus far by treating yourself to a non-food reward, like downloading a book to your Kindle or getting a massage.
The weekend is probably the most difficult time of the week to keep up with your healthy lifestyle commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. Plan for misstep when getting together with friends. If you’re heading to a restaurant, check out the menu first and settle on your meal early www.healthydiningfinder.com . This way descriptions or pictures won’t tempt you. If you’re heading to a house party or family gathering, stick to the veggie platters and lean protein options, avoiding the chips, dips and birthday cake. Life happens though, so even a treat in moderation is okay.
Make time for something active, a walk, hike or bike ride are the most simple and cost effective, and will boost your calorie burn in case the dinner out didn’t go as planned.
Reflect on the previous week and what you’ve accomplished. Were there pitfalls like stress eating or missing a workout? It’s OK! Make sure you analyze the cause of the pitfall and plan a solution if it should arise again…it will.
Most important, repeat the cycle; planning your week with SMART goals like menu and activity plans make the most sense. If the goals were too easy make them harder, if they were too hard make them easier. Don’t be to hard on yourself if you slip up, your goal is to make change not to be perfect at the change.