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How to stick to your healthy eating goals

It’s not what you do or promise on January first that matters. It’s the rest of the year that really counts. So if you kicked off 2015 by vowing to eat cleaner and healthier, how can you make that stick?

The first step sounds obvious, but you have to want the change, say Sunnybrook experts. The next is making sure the change is realistic and sustainable. For example, rather than vaguely promising to eat better, start adding one fruit or vegetable to every meal. It’s a small shift but one you can see and do pretty easily. It’s also something you can track and build on over time.

Like anything lasting, build you diet plan on a solid foundation. Get your information from reputable sources, like certified websites, your doctor or a registered dietitian. While people have varying reasons for changing their diets, experts say you’ll have more success by focusing on your overall goals rather than your weight. Maybe that extra serving of veggies will help you feel fuller, meaning you may skip dessert and reap the rewards later. Call it a healthy domino effect.

Being accountable to yourself and others also boosts success. So tell a loved one or friend about your plan and check in with them regularly on your progress. Also, write everything down. It’s amazing how small things can add up – like those extra few bites — when you do you end-of-day tally.

It may also help to look to outward for some inspiration. The quotes and tips below are ones I’ve read from others along the way. While I can’t remember all the sources, the message from each point resonates with me and helps keep me on track. Hopefully you’ll find some truth in a few to help feed your inner voice.

• You can’t outrun your fork.

• Suck up the water now so you won’t have to suck it in later.

• Live by the 80/20 rule: eat well 80% of the time and give yourself 20% to cheat.

• Are you really hungry? In trying to distinguish between real hunger and a craving, ask yourself if you would be happy to eat something healthy. If you are craving chips but not that bag of veggies, you have your answer.

• If you are craving something, choose a high quality treat. Make it worth the calories.

• Hide your fruit and veggies. Load them into omelets, sandwiches, pasta and soups.

• Never go grocery shopping hungry. Or to a dinner party for that matter!

• You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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