Monday, 9 March 2015

Tips For Sticking To A Healthy Eating Plan

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So I've been back on a healthy eating plan in preparation for my sister's wedding for quite a while now and I have to admit I've been struggling a little, especially getting back into it at the start. I really needed something to give me that push to really kick on with it before I ran out of time, so I had a little think back at all of the things I learned for my last slimming journey and have started putting those back into practice, and I have to say things are going a lot smoother now. If any of you are struggling in the same way I was, here are my top tips.

Plan ahead
About a month ago I bought this meal planner. Every week before we go food shopping, my husband and I sit down for 10 minutes and decide what meals we are going to cook for the following week. It also comes with a little shopping list pad so that I can write down everything I need to buy. That way you're not entering the supermarket with no idea at all, which can lead to picking up unhealthier foods that catch your eye.

Mix it up
Once you start to get into a routine of cooking and eating that same old things each week, it starts to become boring after a while and you start to crave other things. Experimenting with new recipes is a great way of keeping the interest in your healthy eating journey, and also developing your culinary skills. There's plenty of healthy recipes available online. I personally love flicking through the new Slimming World magazines when they come out. If I see a recipe I like the look of I'll tear it out and put it in my recipe folder, which I'll reach for when I'm looking for some inspiration.

Fakeaways help fight cravings
Fakeaways are basically healthier, home cooked versions of your favourite takeaways. If you're a follower of Slimming World, you're probably well aware of the term, and may have seen their brilliant Fakeaways recipe book (there's a few available on Amazon here). Quite often I'll cook up a batch of curry and freeze portions so I have something on hand for whenever those cravings hit.

Batch cooking
Everyone gets those nights when they really can't be bothered to cook, and a microwave meal or takeaway seems like the best option. My husband and I regularly batch cook some of our favourite meals for occasions when we are really tired, or we know we are going to be busy and need a quick and simple meal. All we do is serve up our usual portions after cooking, and leave the rest to cool before storing in portion pots in the freezer. Most recipes will be good for a month if frozen, so all you have to do is get them out a reheat. It also saves money buying bigger packets of ingredients rather than what you need for each individual meal.

Instagram is a great place for inspiration
There are so many accounts in Instagram dedicated to healthy meals, or people sharing their weight loss journeys. Because I follow the Slimming World plan, I have followed a lot of members on Instagram to keep a look out for new recipe ideas or new supermarket product releases. Setting up your own account for your journey can also be a good motivator, and you can look back on the success you've documented online.

Have a bit of what you fancy
I think this is quite similar to the boredom thing - if you constantly deprive yourself of the things you love, eventually you will fall off the wagon and give into temptation, I know I have done so in the past in spectacular fashion! Having one "cheat meal" every so often is not going to do much damage in the long run, but will stop the urge to gorge on bad foods. It will make your healthy eating plan much easier to stick to and more sustainable in the future if it's not all about strict regimes.

Add in exercise too
Yes healthy eating is great for losing the excess pounds, but what really makes a difference to your body shape is exercise. When I first started Slimming World, I was just sticking to the eating plan and not really getting much exercise in. Once I changed that, I noticed my body becoming a lot more toned, and I generally felt much healthier for it too. Exercise can be a great way of distracting yourself from naughty cravings too.

Share your journey
If people really care about you, they will want you to succeed and will do anything to help you along the way. When my sister and I told our dad that we were back on a healthy eating plan, he was really accommodating and adapted the things he cooked for us when we visited to be more Slimming World friendly. He always asks us how we are doing too, and praises us when we are doing well, which is really motivating. Going through a weight loss journey alone can be really difficult, so I think having the support of your loved ones is crucial.

Do you have any more tips to add?

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