Nutrition Articles

Help Yourself Over Diet Hurdles

Make Options Instead of Excuses

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It’s the time of year when those New Year’s Resolutions are getting more difficult to keep, and the winter weather isn’t making it any easier. You probably had a lot of enthusiasm for the first few weeks—you learned some healthy recipes, bought more fruits and veggies, probably even turned down your boss’s famous chocolate cake. But as the weeks go by, more obstacles start to creep in. Don’t be dismayed! The good news is that there are plenty of helpers to get you over those diet hurdles. 

Hurdle #1: "I don’t have time to cook." 

  • In anticipation of busy times, prepare batches of food on the weekends and freeze them until needed.
  • When preparing food, purposely make extra for leftovers.
  • Plan your meals for the upcoming week and make one weekend trip to the grocery store.
  • Buy foods that are pre-prepped: bags of chopped vegetables, pre-cut fruits from the produce section, canned beans instead of dried.
  • Throw all your ingredients into a Crockpot and voila! A healthy, home cooked meal awaits your return from work.
  • Buy healthy frozen entrees, and meals that take only a few minutes to cook. Examples include: stir fry (look for pre-cut veggies), soup, instant brown rice, oatmeal, and sandwiches on whole wheat bread.
  • The night before, set-up your breakfast (dishes, utensils, etc), pack your lunch, and plan what you’ll do for dinner.
  • For more time-saving tips, read "Fitting Healthy Habits into Your Hectic Life."
Hurdle #2: I’m suffering from a case of "Portion Distortion." 

  • Order smaller-sized or lunch-sized portions when eating out.
  • Know serving sizes and be accurate in tracking food choices.
  • Ask the server to box up half of your entrée before it arrives.
  • If you are thinking about going for seconds, wait at least 20 minutes to decide if you are truly still hungry.
  • Avoid buffets and all-you-can-eat dining options.
  • Educate yourself! When you learn what proper portions really look like, you won’t have trouble knowing when to stop. Check out The Portion Distortion Guide.

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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • # 3 Emotional Eating. That was a big one for me. There was always an undercurrent of anxiety that made me want to eat comfort foods like pasta. But once I released my negative emotions, it became much easier to lose the weight and keep it off. I'm down 30 lbs now and still dropping. I'm finally in control of what I put in my mouth and not the other way around. I feel like a different person : ) - 8/3/2012 1:15:35 PM
    great article, great ideas, great inspiration - 7/13/2012 7:14:05 AM
  • CAROLE012
    While I don't ask a restaurant to pack half my food before it is served I do separate my food in half and only eat half and then pack is up as leftovers. I have also started walking at least 3 times a week or more in our shopping mall before the stores open. Everyone walking waves to each other and smiles. It just makes me feel better about myself and forget any problems for a while. - 8/18/2011 12:58:20 PM
  • This is a very nice article, with a myriad of useful tips, which are highly encouraging no matter who you are. - 2/10/2011 10:16:21 AM
    Thanks for the tips about eating out. Restaurants are my #1 diet downfall. Does anyone ask the waiter to wrap half of their meal before it's brought to the table? Do you get strange looks? - 8/26/2009 10:58:08 PM
  • KV711LAW
    Awesome Ideas! Though most of us have been in this diet game for so long we think we have been there done that with everything. Only, seeing these ideas all together- like Cliff Notes- inspired me to print them out to take with me and read daily- until it becomes a natural part of my thought process! Thanks for a great article! - 7/24/2009 11:56:52 AM
  • I can relate to the emotional eater. I see now that I eat more of the unhealthy foods when I am stressed out. Maybe I can push myself to drink more water when I think about putting something in my mouth. - 11/19/2008 4:05:05 PM
  • Jibbie, that is cute. Reminds me of my baby brother (many years ago) who stood up in his crib and yelled, "Eat, Doey, eat!" (Doey was our big sister.)
    Many good ideas in this article but today it is not the most economical to buy instant and many prepared foods. Just lately, I discovered steel cut oats and found I could put them in small crockpot at night and they are ready for my husband and me in the morning. Adapted a good recipe from SP recipes. Leftovers heat up just fine for several more days. - 9/26/2008 7:25:04 PM
  • Thanks for the breakfast idea to "pack the food" and have it about 9 A.M. That is SO good, because I have NEVER cared to eat first thing in the morning. My niece would make all of us laugh, because she'd get out of bed at 6 A.M. and come down the stairs at age 2, yelling "I want EGG, NOW, EGG, EGG." Then she'd climb up into her high chair and wait. - 8/9/2008 3:00:17 AM
  • One good way to help with portion size, is eat protein the size of your palm (this helps account for people who are larger and might need a slightly bigger portion) and carbs the size of your fist. - 6/26/2008 3:42:50 PM

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