You can’t just jump on the diet bandwagon without a little foresight. And by foresight I don’t mean saying “I’ll start my diet tomorrow, let me just eat this big bowl of…” What I mean is, you’ve got to prepare yourself and your kitchen for your diet journey.
How can you prepare yourself for dieting? For starters, you’ve got to make the conscious decision that you are ready to take the plunge. You have to realize that it won’t come easy and be prepared to work hard. It takes serious resoluteness to control your cravings, but once you do, you will feel empowered and determined to reach your goal.
Here are some tips to help prepare yourself:
– There will always be a reason to binge/eat/cheat. Whether it’s a wedding, party, holiday, or even a Shabbos meal – there is always good food beckoning at you to “just start tomorrow”. But if you realize that the food will always be there, you can help yourself avoid this trap. When you feel like giving in to a craving, remind yourself that the food will still be there when you are done dieting, and you can have it then. In fact, if it helps you, promise yourself the food that you’re craving once you’ve lost 10 lbs.
– So many of us eat simply because we are bored. We get into the habit of grazing, and without realizing it, the pounds start creeping up on us. To get yourself out of the grazing mode, I recommend switching gears. Distract yourself with anything else but food. If you like books, go to the library and stack up on a bunch. If you enjoy magazines, get yourself a subscription to some favorites. If you enjoy crocheting, pick up your long-forgotten hooks and start a fun project. I once watched a segment about a lady who lost a lot of weight by painting pictures of the foods she was craving. It really helps get your mind off of food, and gets your creative juices flowing.
– Reward yourself! It really helps to set small goals and reward yourself once you’ve reached them. Instead of telling yourself, “I need to lose 50 lbs. by April” say, “I need to lose 5 lbs. by the end of the month”. For each goal you reach, buy yourself a little treat. A nice spa pedicure, that dress you’ve been eyeing, some costume jewelry – are all good ideas.
– Eat well. Dieting is hard enough, the last thing you want is to feel deprived. Take the time to make yourself delicious, healthy foods that will keep you satisfied. Eating bowl after bowl of salad will make you feel bored and hungry, which leads to cravings and binging. You can substitute ingredients in almost all recipes to come up with a lighter variation. Try and get creative to make yourself healthy versions of the foods you love. If you need helps changing up a recipe, email me and I’ll do my best to help you. Here are some examples:
Pizza – portobello pizza (phase 1) or thin-crust pizza on a low-carb wrap (phase 2).
French fries – kohlrabi fries (phase 1) or butternut squash fries (phase 2).
Burgers – extra lean ground beef patties in a lettuce cup (phase 1) or on an Ezekiel bun (phase 2).
Pasta – spaghetti squash (phase 1) or Dreamfields pasta (phase 2).
Chips – soy chips (phase 1) or home-made pita chips (phase 2).
Preparing your Kitchen:
One of the most important steps in being able to keep to such a strict diet is making sure your house is fully stocked with permissable foods so that you never go hungry. On the flip side, it also means that you have to rid your kitchen of the forbidden foods. Having cookies and sweets around only serves to tease you and will require steel determination to avoid.
Ridding your pantry/fridge:
I know many of you have husbands and children who don’t need to diet and it would be unfair to completely rid your pantry. The key is to rid your pantry of the things that you like. If you buy corn chips for your kids, but you’re the one noshing on them in the middle of the night – then those are the things you want to get rid of. If you’re not a fan of peanut butter, then load up on bamba and other peanut snacks. On the other hand, if you love bubble gum or candy, and you want to have it around to bribe your kids to clean up their room, go ahead and stock up on the sugar-free version so you won’t feel deprived.
Stocking your pantry/fridge:
Stocking your pantry is probably the single most important tip that anyone can give you when dieting. If you don’t want to resort to cheating, you have to make sure you have lots of healthy, delicious options available to you. But having ingredients on hand is not enough. They’ve also got to be ready to eat.
Case in point: Say you come home from an appointment and you’re starving. You’ve got canned beans, tuna, nuts and seeds in the pantry, and a fridge full of fresh veggies. But you’re so hungry you’re almost ready to eat that bamba on the shelf (even though you hate peanut butter). That’s why you’ve got to have food that’s prepared and ready to eat. When you’re ready to take the diet plunge, spend one day preparing lots of healthy options that you can keep in the fridge. Make some hard-boiled eggs, vegetable soup (you can freeze in single-serve portions), roasted vegetables, and cut up some raw vegetables so that they be eaten right out of the fridge.