Like natbug, I give myself gold stars on the calendar for every day I eat right and exercise. Seeing my calendar fill up with stars makes it that much more enticing to be good. I aim for at least four a week; any less than that and the grid starts looking sparse, so when I start seeing too many blank spaces it’s a reminder to get my butt back into gear.
Other rules I live by:
1. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. So avoid impulse buys, and remove anything unhealthy from your cupboards that gives you that “but I’m so tasty” come-hither look between meals.
2. Portion control. Measuring is a pain, but it really helps you take stock of what you’re putting in your body. Learn what “1 serving” of a given product really means. More often than not, it will surprise you.
Avoid any and all mindless eating. Don’t sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips. Measure out a single serving into a small bowl, put the bag away, and eat your portion slowly and deliberately. If you’re not going to savor and consciously enjoy the food, then what’s the point of putting those unnecessary calories into your body?
3. Smaller meals more often. Not only will this help your metabolism learn to be more efficient, you will fool yourself into thinking you’re eating more than you are because of the frequency of your meals.
4. Don’t feel bad about allowing yourself the occasional treat. Total deprivation results in yo-yo dieting. If you’re really, really craving that chocolate bar, then have it, BUT make yourself work for it. Take an extra-long route walking to the store to buy it, or make it a reward for several days of good behavior.
5. Get your friends/SO/family on board. The last thing you need is people tempting you with lots of dinners out or anything else that will get you off-track.
I told Darling Husband to give me a hard time if I tried to weasel out of going to the gym, and he was great about it. I’d get home from work and whine about how I was tired and maybe I could just skip that day, and he’d tell me, “Sure, you could, but are you going to feel disappointed about it later? Don’t you want that star on the calendar?”
Figure out activities to do with your friends that involve getting outside and moving around. Buy a ball, a frisbee or a badminton set and have some fun. Take walks with your SO in the evenings. Every little bit helps.
Best of luck to you, keep at it and be strong!