Four Weeks to Fitness
The problem with diets is that over the long term, it's tough to stay on them. If you approach getting in shape as a temporary program, you'll get a temporary result. The trick is to change the way you live. To help you with that, we've put together a number of things you can do every day that, over time, can dramatically change your life. You don't have to do everything at once; that can be overwhelming. Just do one new thing a day and watch the fat start to melt away.
Day One - Throw it Out
Clean out your cabinets. If you have junk food like potato chips, candy bars and cookies, get rid of them. If you get hungry at night, you're more likely to eat what's in the house. If you don't have junk food around, you'll eat the healthy options that are on hand.
Then replace your regular pans with non-stick ones and buy some fat-free cooking sprays. If you"re cooking chicken on the stove, and you use a tablespoon of low-sodium chicken broth instead of a tablespoon of oil, you've just avoided putting 14 grams of fat in your body.
Learn more about Non-Stick Pans by Clicking Here.
Day Two - Buy More Vegetables and Fiber
Your mother was right; you should eat vegetables at every opportunity. If you're out for lunch, substitute vegetables for the fries. If you want a snack, grab some mini carrots, chopped broccoli or slice up a cucumber.
If you're in an office, put the vegetables in a bowl with about ½ an inch of water in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it for the steam to escape. Now cook it at 50% power for 3-5 minutes. Voila! Fresh steamed vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-dense. They pack a large nutritional value into low-calorie packages, so you get fuller on less.
Also, make sure to get plenty of fiber in your diet. Not only does it help your bowel movements stay "regular," it helps to keep you feeling full without increasing your daily caloric intake.
Day Three - Keep Score
Carry a logbook or use a calorie tracking app like MyFitnessPal to track what you're eating and drinking. People who lose the weight and keep it off tend to keep track of the food they're eating and how much exercise they're getting. By writing it down and tallying it up, you can see when you overeat and adjust your future meals accordingly. It's also important to see that every day is a blank slate. If you did something yesterday that threw you off track, you could go right back to the plan today.
Day Four - Prepare in Advance
Put your snacks into single-serving bags. Brian Wansink and his colleagues at the University of Illinois showed that people eat 20% to 23% more from large bags of food than from single-serving bags. That doesn't mean you have to spend tons of money on high priced snack packs though. Buy the large bag of pretzels, but as soon as you get home, divide it up into individual serving bags.
Schedule time to try cooking two healthy recipes a month. IF YOU FEAR THE KITCHEN, don't worry. Magazines like Cooking Light specialize in healthier recipes that taste good, with detailed instructions, so they turn out well.
We've been cooking and testing healthier recipes for over three years now and we've put more than 150 of them online. (As of 2021 we've been testing recipes for 16 years and posted over 900!) Chefs put them together; then WE cook them all personally so the pictures you see are how they turned out for us. These recipes were designed by professionals, checked for nutritional value, cooked (some dozens of different ways until we found what works) and then only put online if they actually tasted good. Click Here to browse our recipes.
Day Five - Invite Your Friends
Choose one day a month when you have friends over to cook with you. Select a couple of recipes you can freeze, go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, bring them home and cook them up. Once you're finished, divide the food into freezer-friendly containers and split the cost.
Whenever you think you can't do it anymore, remember that changing habits always causes some anxiety and discomfort. If you're having a moment, stand up, take a deep breath in and slowly let the air out. Grab a glass, fill it full of ice water and take a drink. You'll feel better in no time.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.