Here are a few more great tips for building a healthier future. Which will you try first?
Don’t set up scenarios that force you to make healthful decisions again and again throughout the day. Instead, choose to be healthy once, then set up your environment to make it easier for your future self to stick with that decision. For example, plan what healthful meals you're going to have for the week, then shop for groceries. Steer clear of foods that aren't healthful but which tempt you, picking out 1 or 2 treats instead of filling your cart with things that you'll regret eating later. If it's not in the house, it's harder to give in to the temptation to eat too many empty calories.
Another way that you can put this plan into action includes snack preparation. Slice up fruits and vegetables and store them in the fridge so that you have a healthful snack when you want one. Measure out single servings of your favorite snack foods and package them individually -- this will make it easier to stick to the portions you want to eat.
When it comes to being active, wear exercise clothes for a bit before your workout so that you don’t have to scramble to make it out the door on time. When you scramble, its easier to rationalize not going at all, or to tell yourself you’re too busy. Already being in the clothes actually helps you commit.
Seriously. Tracking your progress helps you stay motivated. Plus, once you're on a streak of success, you can build momentum that will help you stay on track. It's also fun to look back on your achievements. There are lots of ways to keep track of your progress. I'm a fan of this reward chart, and it also makes a good template. Hang your reward chart somewhere where you can see it regularly, to keep your goals and progress at the front of your mind.
You can also track your progress with SuperTracker, MyPlate's amazing goal achievement resource. With SuperTracker, you can easily track what you eat, record your physical activity, set goals, calculate what to eat and how much you should eat, and even look up calorie information. There are also lots of health and fitness apps that can help you track your progress. Use the resource that works best for you.
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.