I’ve met many people who eat pretty well during the daytime, then when they get home for the night the first thing they do is make a bee-line to the junk food cabinet … out come the potato chips, cookies, and so on. Needless to say, that is a fast way to sabotage even the best of weight loss efforts. Here are a few simple solutions to help you stay on track with your eating so that your body will look and feel the way you want it to.
1) Don’t buy junk food
Success starts at the grocery store. If junk food isn’t in your house, you’re much less likely to eat it. This certainly isn’t a novel concept, and is far from complicated, it just takes discipline. Let’s do a quick mental experiment: you go to the store and buy a bag of potato chips as well as a bag of baby carrots. The next day you get home from work and are hungry, which bag do you reach for? We all know it’s the potato chips :) So, the best way to eat less junk food is to make it less accessible.
2) Have healthier alternatives easily available
Since most people want to eat something soon after getting home, find some options that A) you enjoy enough that you’ll actually eat, and B) are healthier than the processed foods mentioned above. For example, if you’re like me and enjoy things that are crunchy, then have some pre-washed salad and croutons ready to rock when you get home. It doesn’t take a PhD in nutrition to know that a salad with a few croutons is much better for you then the entire bag of potato chips (let’s be real, who doesn’t eat the whole bag)? The take away here is to not let “perfect” be the enemy of “good” … don’t worry about eating perfectly (meaning don’t beat yourself up over the croutons) since it is not realistic to eat “perfectly” all the time … whatever that even means. Remember that the salad is a huge level up for you over the chips, so enjoy the victory :)
3) Create a visual reminder for yourself
Consider wearing a wrist band (even if it’s just a simple rubber band) that YOU KNOW is your sign to hold strong and not give in to the cravings. Nobody else even needs to know what this means, but you’ll know it, and that’s all that matters. By wearing it on your wrist, you’ll literally see it as you reach for the cookies (or beer, or wine, or whatever) and will give you that little nudge you need to not give in. Here is a shot of the one I’ve been wearing lately … it’s definitely saved me from adding a pastry to my coffee order on more than one occasion :)
4) The “hack” you’ve been waiting for: keep mouthwash in the kitchen
A lot of snacking / drinking liquid calories happens after dinner too. A simple solution that works amazingly well is to keep a bottle of mouthwash in the kitchen and use it right after you’re done eating dinner. Of course, you could go with a toothbrush & toothpaste too, whatever floats your boat. The point is that you will be WAY less inclined to crack a beer or reach for the cookies if you just made your mouth minty fresh – and the reality is that if you have to walk into another room to do this I promise you it simply won’t happen. So keep some mouthwash and/or a toothbrush handy in the same immediate area as the kitchen / dining room, and you’ll end up with both cleaner teeth and healthier eating habits.