When it comes to getting active, our minds play just as big a role in our success as our bodies. Make it easy to succeed by making small lifestyle changes that will psychologically prepare you to get active - and stay that way.
Out of sight, out of mind: Have you ever grabbed a candy bar at the checkout of a grocery store just because it was right there and you were feeling a bit hungry? If temptations are in sight, you'll be more likely to indulge yourself. If you must keep high-fat or sugary foods around, stash them somewhere where you can't see them. On the other hand, try to keep healthy items such as fruits and vegetables in plain sight - for example, washed and prepared in clear Tupperware containers at the front of your fridge - so that you are reminded to eat them throughout the day.
Don't multitask your meals: You'll be more likely to eat larger portions - or to make unhealthy choices - if you're doing something else while eating, such as watching TV or talking on the phone. If you want to stick to your healthy eating plan, pay attention to your meal - and nothing else.
Know your body: One piece of advice your mother didn't get right: clean your plate. Instead, nutritionists recommend eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. But knowing your own hunger signals is harder than it sounds! Try rating your hunger from 1 to 10 at the start of the meal, and then pausing halfway through to reassess your fullness. Another trick to break the "clean plate" habit: leave just one thing on your plate at the end of every meal.
Downsize: If you have a large bowl for the ice cream you want to eat, you will likely fill it up. But if you use a smaller bowl you will likely serve yourself less ice cream! Its human nature to do this, so be aware of the psychological trick when it comes to choosing your dinner plate, bowls, and anything else that gives you the visual cue to increase your portion sizes.
De-stress: It is very easy for people to make unhealthy decisions when they are upset or under stress. Before you decide to skip a scheduled activity or make an unhealthy food choice, first try doing something to relieve your stress.
Spend 30 minutes doing something that you like (i.e., take a long bath, listen to your favourite album, walk your dog). Or make stress management a part of your daily activity by trying known stress-buster exercises such as yoga or tai chi.
Slow down: It can take 20 minutes for your brain to register your stomach as 'full.' So take your time and enjoy your meal. You may be full and not even know it yet!
Set goals: Try setting some goals that you would like to achieve. Being reminded of why you started getting active is a great way to stay motivated as you work towards your goal. You can even set some guidelines, or mini-goals (such as eat frequent meals, go for a walk every other day, etc.) that will help you reach your end goal.