Why do we love these ideas? Because they're easy to work into everyday life.* Have a look — they're in no particular order. You can start with one or two — and go for all 10 over time.
*Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.
1. Plan to succeed
Take the time to plot out — and shop for — healthy meals. When hunger strikes, it’s easier to make good decisions when you have a solid plan in place.
2. Master the munchies
Be ready with healthy snacks too — such as low-fat yogurt, whole-grain crackers and air-popped popcorn. Keep chopped vegetables handy in the fridge. Buy grab-and-go fruits like apples, oranges and bananas.
3. Give labels some love
As you shop for foods, look at the nutrition facts. Among other things, you can compare calories, fat and fiber to make smarter picks. Why fiber? Foods high in it, such as veggies, fruit, whole grains and beans, can help you feel fuller.
4. Find the fun in fitness
It’s a simple truth: You’re more likely to stay active if you like what you’re doing. Think about what you might truly enjoy — maybe that’s dancing to hip-hop, cycling to and from work or trying a boot camp class. Another great way to combine fun and fitness: Make regular exercise dates with friends.
5. Give portion sizes a trim
This is an easy way to cut calories. You may be surprised that you’re perfectly satisfied with less. More portion-control pointers: Leave large serving bowls off the table. Use smaller plates and bowls. Ask for half your restaurant meal to go — before it’s served.
6. Lock it down
Schedule your exercise time — and treat it like unbreakable appointments. This can take time and practice. So don’t get discouraged if you miss a workout. Just reschedule and recommit.
7. Sneak around to burn calories
Add short bursts of activity to your day whenever you can. Set your coffee break or tea time in motion — with a travel mug and a quick walk around the block. Pace while you’re on hold or waiting for someone. Do jumping jacks while your laundry fluffs. Think of your own sneaky ways to move more. Every little bit helps.
8. Track your food and fitness
Whether you use a digital app or a simple notebook, you may find this helps you stay on track. Even doing this for a week or two could help you see patterns you want to celebrate or change.
9. Give meals an easy-freezy boost
Keep frozen veggies on hand to add flavor and substance without many calories. For example, turn a small serving of plain pasta into a plentiful primavera with a medley of peas, green beans and carrots.
10. Go the distance
Remind yourself: This is about the long haul, not a sprint to the finish. So set realistic goals — and celebrate each success. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a setback. Just plan how you’ll get back on track. Finally, spend time with people who support your new healthy habits.