A great big Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a delightful Christmas and New Year and that, however much you did or didn’t indulge, you are back on plan when reading this!
According to the papers, we are fast approaching Blue Monday. That is, the third Monday in January (which is the 16th this year) when we are deemed to be at our lowest given a combination of crappy winter weather, struggling bank accounts after Christmas (and before January payday), Dry January (for those of you who are strong willed enough to get through January without alcohol i.e not me!) and how many of our New Year’s resolutions we have given up on by this date. It all sounds very depressing but I honestly don’t think it has to be!
If you can set yourself up correctly for the year in January, and set yourself manageable and achievable goals, then there is no reason why this date has to be blue and depressing. Sixteen days in, you could be well on your way to shifting that first 5lbs! So without further ado, here are my top tips for getting on track and staying on track in 2017.
- Be Realistic
Whilst there may be lots of faddy ‘quick fix’ ways to lose weight, they are often not very healthy and certainly not maintainable in the long run (who could just drink juice for more than a week!?). Deciding to lose weight and then keeping it off requires lifestyle changes that you can manage for the foreseeable future. This can seem overwhelming at first so it’s important to start in a realistic way making small changes in your everyday life which together accumulate to a wider lifestyle improvement. Setting yourself small weekly goals will allow you to take things one step at a time and allow you to feel like you are always achieving something. So instead of only thinking about how to lose 2 stone in six months, have a think about how many pounds you could lose this week and work towards that. A long journey always starts with a few small steps.
- Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
People often give in on their diet if they can’t decide what to make for tea, if they are eating out or if they have nothing in. This can be easily prevented by sitting down on a Sunday and putting together a weekly meal plan. Setting out what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day will allow you to stay in control of your points and plan in a few treats when you fancy them. You can then go out and buy exactly what you need to cook that week so not only do you have yummy food to eat for every meal, there is also minimal waste.
If you know you have to eat out in the evening, instead of writing the whole day off, see it as a challenge and plan it out. Have yourself a low point but filling breakfast (I love porridge to fill me up for hours), a low point lunch (soup or a salad) and zero points snacks (I love pineapple for that quick sugary fix) and save as many possible points for the evening. Look at the restaurant menu before you leave the house and plan what you are going to eat just after you’ve eaten lunch and you are already full. Choose healthy options such as grilled meat and fish and ask for sauces to be served on the side. This will stop you being tempted when you get to the restaurant to treat yourself just cos everyone else is. Enjoy your healthy meal and you will feel so much better for it afterwards!
- Invest in a good set of scales
I have two sets of scales. One to weigh myself and the other to weigh my portions. One is equally as important as the other.
When weighing yourself, set yourself a weigh in date that suits you. I get weighed on a Monday as I find it keeps me on track and focused through the weekend. If you can help it, only get weighed once a week and keep a record of your progress (if you don’t attend a class – if you do, yay they are sooooo good for keeping you on track!!). If you get weighed more than once a week (there have been times when I’ve wanted a sneaky look), make sure that you don’t see a few pounds loss and think, ‘oooo I might have a little treat’. Let it inspire you to stay on track.
My food scales are the most important thing it my kitchen. They are kept out at all times (and have been since I started my Weight Watchers journey three and half years ago) which makes them quick and easy to use. Get into the habit of weighing out your carbs and protein and that way you can finish a whole meal without feeling guilty that you may have eaten too much. I got a handy gadget from amazon which keeps my carb portion separate from my husbands in the pan so I’m not tempted to put that extra spoonful on my plate. Portion control is key to staying on track.
- (Try to) Love Exercise
Leading a busy life often makes it difficult to do as much exercise as we would like which is why I like to plan this into my weekly schedule at the same time as my food plan. Committing to what you are going to do throughout the week is a great motivation. I just forget in my mind that it is an option and think of it as something I AM doing. If you know you are going to be busy, or struggle to get to the gym, factor in a few home work outs or a short run around the local park. Choose exercise that you enjoy rather than forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do. That way, it will be much easier to head out to a class in the cold weather. I love Zumba and trampolining as they are so much fun, most of the time you forget you are exercising.
- Cook Clever and Colourful
The beauty of Weight Watchers is that most lovely colourful vegetable are 0 smart points (there are some exceptions such as potatoes, peas, sweetcorn etc). This means that instead of having tiny portions, clever swaps can mean you can still fill up while on plan. Try swapping pasta or spaghetti for butternut squash or courgette noodles, rice for cauliflower rice or even some of your meat for handfuls of spinach or mushrooms. Bulking your meals out with colourful veg will not only give you a decent portion but it will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Adding lots of flavour to your meals is also important. Clever use of herbs and spices can make every single mouthful of your meal a taste sensation. You will see from my recipes that I am a big fan of them as for me, a really flavoursome meal leaves me feelin satisfied much more quickly, which in turn, means I eat less!
- Drink Water
Thirst can often be confused for hunger so make sure you drink plenty of water. I find that often, having a glass of water before a meal as well as throughout makes sure that I stop eating when I’m full.
So there you have it. I’m sure there are hundreds more tips which I could add but these 6 should set you on track and provide a bit of a kick start to a healthy 2017!