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Better food choices

9 simple tricks for making better food choices

For many people, hitting the treadmill is believed to be their answer for shedding a few pounds. Actually, making the right food choices is just as important – if not more so – than upping your exercise routine.

Since deprivation rarely works and can have the opposite result, commit to small, attainable goals that fit your lifestyle, says Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “‘Resolution’ is defined as the act of analyzing a complex notion and making it into a simpler one,” she says. “So when people resolve to lose weight, I suggest small, attainable goals because this isn’t about a short-term diet. This is a long-term healthy lifestyle.”

1. Be detail-oriented

When setting goals, be specific. “If you say, ‘I’m going to eat salads,’ that’s very broad,” explains Komar. “Try, ‘I’m going to eat one cup of greens every day with my lunch.’ Make it small and obtainable.”

2. Embrace superfoods

Komar finds that people have the most success when they think about what they should eat, rather than items that are off-limits. Embracing superfoods as part of your meal plan is a great way to do this, since they not only give you essential vitamins and nutrients, they also keep you satiated. Start by adding two superfoods to your repertoire each day and build from there.

3. Make it a habit

“Research shows it takes 21 days to change your habits, so give yourself time to establish a routine,” says Komar.

4. Focus on the benefits

“There are instant rewards when you start eating right,” she says. “You’ll sleep better, have regular bowel movements, your energy will increase, your skin will look better and you won’t feel as bloated or fatigued.”

5. Reward yourself – the right way

Komar says it’s important to establish non-food rewards to celebrate your progress. “Get your nails painted, buy a new magazine, go to a movie or download new music,” she suggests.

6. Splurge smartly

To maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term, know that it’s okay to indulge in your favorite foods on occasion. “You can treat yourself a few times a week, but keep the amount small. Don’t deprive yourself, but use smaller plate.”

7. Build your willpower

Komar suggests a small challenge: leave one bite of food on your plate at every meal. “This teaches you willpower, so you’re satisfied, but not stuffed,” she explains. “It’s hard at first, but you’ll overcome it. If you can turn away one bite, eventually you won’t go back for seconds.”

8. Stock up on healthy options

If you are traveling or know you won't have time for a proper meal, plan ahead and bring healthy snacks with you to avoid the temptation to overindulge.

9. Buddy up

Whether it’s a spouse, friend or a coworker, share your healthy plan with someone who can keep you accountable. “Make plans to meet at the gym or have salads for lunch instead of junk food,” says Komar. Encouraging each other can make it easier to stick to your resolution.

For more nutrition tips, click here

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