Be Well by Maureen Shortt

10 Easy Ways to Eat Better in 2016

You know what it's like-on January 1st you make that grandiose New Year's resolution to buck up and eat better this year. By about January 7th you're sitting on the couch with a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream and wondering what went wrong.

You can't do too much too quickly. Your body and your mind simply cannot adapt. You function through habits and so you need to create new habits, slowly, and then they will stick.

So here are 10 easy and small ways to eat better in 2016. If you do just 1 a month you will accumulate enough change in your habits and therefore in your body, to support your body in better burning body fat and sparing muscle; stronger immunity; better sleep; and more balanced hormones.

Remember just do one a month to give yourself time to plan for the change, shop for the change, get support for the change, implement the change, and have the change become its own habit.

1.  Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with what you want to eat that's good for you. Then you'll be satisfied and not miss the not-good-for-you junk that you wished wasn't there.

2.  Label read.  Read the serving size. Read the sugar content-every 12 grams is 1 tablespoons worth. Would you go to the sugar bowl and eat a tablespoon of it?

3.  Have either alcohol or sugar but not both. If you have a drink before dinner, don't have dessert. If you are planning on dessert, don't drink. That many processed carbs can only get stored as fat.

4.  Eat breakfast! It's called break-fast because you used up your glycogen (carbs stored in your liver) overnight and now you need to replenish it to keep your blood sugar balanced, which means to burn fat instead of muscle. Have a protein and a carb combination ... eggs and toast, cereal and milk, a waffle with peanut butter.

5.  If you must have caffeine-which is dehydrating and blood sugar imbalancing- then put a protein with it. Have a latte made half milk, half coffee, or have a piece of toast with cheese with it.

6.  Talk a 10 minute walk after dinner. Studies show this can spark your metabolism so that your dinner is digested by the time you go to bed, rather than being laid down as fat.

7.   Plan your feedings. In the morning, think where you are going to be at mealtimes-and between meal times if you need to eat more than 3 times a day. Plan what food you will buy-or bring-so that you are not surprised and desperate when it's time to eat.

8.   Don't wait until you are desperate before eating. By then your blood sugar has dropped and you will just want to keep feeding your face, all the while storing fat and burning muscle.

9.  Build sweets into your food plan. If you know you want it and you're going to have it, then put it out WITH YOUR NEXT FEEDING, AND EAT IT BEFORE THE REST OF YOUR FEEDING. This will satisfy the #1 taste-which is for sweets-and still leave you wanting the other 5 tastes.

10.  Don't diet.  Dieting has a reluctant beginning, a horrible middle when you can't wait for it to be over, and a relief at the end that you can go back to eating what you ate before, or what you were deprived of. Never think of dieting again. Think of finding foods and ways to eat that are satisfying day by day, and that will add up to success.

Maureen Shortt, MA, is the club nutritionist. She works with individuals and families to educate and implement eating habits that are effective for each unique individual.  Click here to learn more about Maureen Shortt

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