Take charge of your food environmentYour weight loss efforts will succeed or fail based largely on your food environment. Set yourself up for success by taking charge of your food environment: when you eat, how much you eat, and what foods are available.
- Start the day with breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to be thinner than those who don’t. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will jump start your metabolism, plus, it will help keep you from binge eating later in the day.
- Serve yourself smaller portions. One easy way to control portion size is by using small plates, bowls, and cups. This will make your portions appear larger. Don’t eat out of large bowls or directly from the food container or package, which makes it difficult to assess how much you’ve eaten.
- Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. You will be more inclined to eat in moderation if you have thought out healthy meals and snacks in advance. You can buy or create your own small portion snacks in plastic bags or containers. Eating on a schedule will also help you avoid eating when you aren’t truly hungry.
- Cook your own meals. Cooking meals at home allows you to control both portion size and what goes in to the food. Restaurant and packaged foods generally contain a lot more sodium, fat, and calories than food cooked at home—plus the portions sizes tend to be larger.
- Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Create a shopping list and stick to it. Be especially careful to avoid foods at the ends of the aisles and along the perimeter, where grocers tend to sell high-calorie snack and convenience foods.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Limit the amount of tempting foods you have at home. If you share a kitchen with non-dieters, store snack foods and other high-calorie indulgences in cabinets or drawers out of your sight.
Soda: The Secret Diet SaboteurSoft drinks are a huge source of calories in many people’s diets. One can of soda contains between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and around 150 calories, so a few soft drinks can quickly add up to a good portion of your daily calorie intake.
Switching to diet soda isn’t the answer either, as studies suggest that it triggers sugar cravings and contributes to weight gain. Instead, try switching to water with lemon, unsweetened iced tea, or carbonated water with a splash of juice.