Forget deprivation; turn your calorie counting and fat busting into a rare opportunity to pamper yourself. If you’ve made the decision to get back into those skinny jeans, why not make the process something that nurtures you rather than leaves you craving what you can’t have? Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Put yourself first. Losing weight and taking care of yourself takes more time and energy than you’re probably used to spending on yourself. If someone you love needed help moving toward a healthier life wouldn’t you make that your top priority? Love yourself that much. If you still have a hard time justifying the self-devotion it takes to eat right and exercise, make a list of all the things you do for everyone around you. Next, jot down the things you regularly do for yourself. Chances are, you have earned the right to exert a little of your energy in your direction.
2. Pamper yourself. Why is it that when someone else serves you food it always tastes much better than when you make it yourself? Slice up some lemons for your water, put on your favorite dinner music or get out the special china to eat from. Better yet, do all three. The main thing you want to avoid is feeling deprived. Instead, make sure that you feel special about what you’re doing for yourself.
3. Go on a weekly shopping spree (at the supermarket). Okay, so a produce section isn’t exactly the mall; but try to stop treating grocery shopping like a meaningless task. Don’t burden yourself with planning a week’s meals in advance, just make sure that you load your cart with the kinds of healthful choices that lead to low-calorie, low-fat meals. Never let yourself run out of boneless chicken breasts, fresh vegetables and brown rice, for example. Yogurt and granola, seasonal fruit and whole grain munchies should always be on hand as well. Forget brownies, but you can whip up a fiber-rich fruit cobbler when you have a sweet tooth if your pantry is packed with the right items.
4. If you fall back on bad habits, nip it in the bud quickly. Everyone has a weak moment here and there, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. The one thing you do need to do is recognize it and snap yourself out of it right away. If you eat too much of a bad thing at one meal, lighten up all the more the next time. It’s also a good idea to get up and start moving to burn those extra calories before day’s end. If you mess up an entire day, just don’t let it turn into two days. Every new day brings a new opportunity to do better.
Try to string together several good days in a row and before you know it you’ll be on your way. Set little goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to celebrate as you reach them. After all, you celebrate other people’s accomplishments, right?