Can you believe it’s February already? If you’re anything like me, it may be time for a New Year’s resolution check-in. (My biggest resolution was to stop cursing so much...definitely a work in progress.) The key to keeping committed to your goal—whether it’s to lose 10 pounds by summer, or to cook lower-calorie recipes at home more often (EatingWell’s easy, delicious 500-Calorie Dinners can help you do both)—is to renew your vows. Then troubleshoot the obstacles that are getting in your way. Here’s some help:
The problem: You’re too busy to plan and cook healthy meals.
The solution: Simplify. Don’t try to prepare gourmet meals every night of the week; stick to speedy dinners that require few ingredients and are ready in 30 minutes. (Find ideas for fast, low-cal dinners here.) If your schedule tends to be unpredictable, skew toward recipes with ingredients that aren’t super perishable. Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans is a stand-by at my house.
The problem: You miss your favorite foods.
The solution: Eat them. If you’re giving up all the foods you love, your “I will eat healthier” resolution needs tweaking. If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off forever, it’s actually essential to make sure that the changes you’re making are ones you can live with. Budget desserts into your eating plan. Make room for a glass of wine if you want one. Try these 100-calorie chocolate desserts to have a treat but keep calories in check.
The problem: You blew it.
The solution: Get over it. For lots of people, going overboard on, say, brownies or pizza, sets off a downward spiral of eating that can last for days. (Oh, well, this week is shot... I’ll start again on Monday.) Learn to see little lapses for what they are: little lapses. Acknowledge, forgive and forget. Get right back on track—by planning a delicious, light next meal—like Mache & Chicken Salad with Honey-Tahini Dressing—that will remind you just how yummy low-calorie nutritious meals can be!
The problem: You working hard to cut back on calories but you’re not losing weight.
The solution: Give yourself a refresher on portion sizes. Three ounces of meat (or other protein) looks like a deck of cards, a medium potato should be the size of a computer mouse and a quarter cup of anything should be about as big as a golf bowl. Measure out the recommended portion of cereal before you dump it in your bowl and see how far it fills to the top. Find out how much your soup ladle holds: If it’s 3/4 of a cup, you’ll forever know that two scoops equals a satisfying 1 1/2 cup serving. (Fill ‘er up with Chicken Mulligatawny. Mmmm...)
What are your tricks for overcoming diet challenges? Tell us what you think below.