By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
You’re set up on your 5 day juice plan or your 3 day overhaul, and everything seems great because you have a “plan”. The challenge arrives when the plan ends, how do you proceed? What comes next?
When your plan ends, your health goals don’t have to. Try incorporating these 9 key tips to continue a healthy lifestyle plan. Remember that we’re all different and making a plan that works for you is essential.
1. Stick to a Plan:
It’s key to stick to a plan. Plans are what help us formulate a menu, a method for staying on track, and most of all, they give us framework from which to move forward. Most “diet plans” have a plan, so why can’t we have a regular healthy eating plan? The answer is, we can, and we should. Before finishing whatever short term plan you’re on, make sure you come up with some sort of framework for which to move forward, so that when day 1 of “normal eating” hits, you have something to work off of.
To make this plan, start with one or two goals — eat 3 meals per day, moderate portion sizes, drink juice every day, etc. Once you’ve accomplished these first few goals, continue incorporating them and start to add a few more, and determine which ones make you feel best.
2. Don’t Go Overboard:
Once the first few goals have been accomplished, then it’s safe to move forward. When we try to accomplish everything at once it usually ends up in mass-chaos and leads to more disappointment than anything else. It’s key to remember that baby steps usually lead to longer term accomplishments, so it’s ok to start slowly, and try to pick goals that aren’t too far out of reach to get you going. Even after you have accomplished what you initially hoped to accomplish, keep making goals.
3. Make the Most of Your Weekend:
Find time during your weekend to plan for the week; this means don’t wait until the night before to think of what you’ll have the following day for your meals away from home. Although this can sometimes be challenging, planning for as much as you can really does make a difference. Remember that when you prepare foods in your own home you’re choosing what goes in them, therefore controlling the ingredients is simpler.
Take advantage of the refrigerator and freezer when it comes to prepping ahead. When it comes to juices, you can store in the fridge for 24-72 hours and freezer for 5 days, and likewise with entrees, soups, etc. Make a big batch of simple foods that can be made for the week; for example a big batch of sautéed vegetables, a quinoa/vegetable salad and a few juices (remember to tailor this to your needs). That way you have prepared even beyond what you thought you needed, so it’s always ready and on-hand.
4. Stay Excited:
Don’t get bored with your plan! It can be modified with new ways to spice it up. If you have planned out that you’re going to have an 8-10 oz. juice every mid-afternoon, try different juice recipes so your taste buds don’t get bored. There are a ton of fabulous recipes for juices, smoothies, entrees, and even desserts (and much more!) on www.rebootwithjoe.com— check them out for great recipe ideas!
5. Keep the Right Tools in Your Toolbox:
Now that you’ve identified some great recipes and have a plan for continued healthful eating, it’s important that you have the right kitchen tools to sustain your plan. Kitchen tools come in all sorts of shapes and with a variety of different price tags — and it’s important to remember that the most expensive option isn’t always the best one; great kitchen tools can be affordable so do your research. Here are a few of my must-have kitchen tools and storage containers.
6. Don’t Stop Eating:
Okay, only eat when you’re hungry, but don’t cut out meals. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is reducing the number of times per day that they eat to only one or two in an effort to cut back on total calories consumed. This simply doesn’t work when it comes to overall healthful lifestyle and particularly for weight management and continued weight loss.
One of the most important reasons to eat small and frequent balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is to maintain balanced blood glucose levels. Larger meals can cause peaks in blood sugar levels that the body manages by releasing insulin to help shuttle the sugar out of the blood stream and into the tissues. Insulin is very effective at two major processes: getting sugar in to the tissues and muscles, and causing the body to store extra fat, and particularly in the most dangerous area; the abdomen. Abdominal fat has been found to be significantly more dangerous than gluteal fat (think apple vs pear-shaped) given that it has a greater effect on heart health and on risk for diabetes.
Sticking to a plan (similar to what we offer on the Reboot for those of you who have ever participated in a DIY, “do it yourself,” or Guided Reboot) that includes 5-6 small and frequent meals and snacks tends to be much more effective at maintaining healthy blood glucose levels that correlates to satiety, energy, mood, and with promoting healthful choices and continued healthful lifestyle.
7. Move No Matter What:
Not only because it’ll help you burn a few hundred calories (depending on its intensity), but because it’ll also help you to clear your mind. A jog, a walk, or even a quick down-dog can be helpful in clearing the mind. After all, a clearer mind means better decision-making, so this can be particularly important when it comes to continuing to make good decisions and with helping you to stay on track. The Reboot Movement Method has an exercise plan for all levels.
8. Seek Support:
Support from friends, family, pets, siblings, coworkers, etc. is key to keeping you on track. Ask a friend or family member to take a walk with you, or try engaging your children in the juice-making process (kids love it!), or even tell your coworkers of your healthy behavior modification and get them involved. All these things count, so lean on those around you because it really makes a difference. You can also join our incredible community.
9. Falling off is Not Failure:
Let’s be honest, no one is perfect, and it’s more than likely that you’re going to experience a bump in the road; so when it happens, tighten your seat belt and keep moving along. It’s okay to fall off, just make sure you get back on and don’t look back. We cannot control what happened yesterday, but we certainly are in control of what happens tomorrow so be kind to yourself. A more forgiving mindset lends itself to continued success moving forward and generally allows for increased adherence to healthy eating and more movement.