As summer approaches at full throttle, so do the endless magazine articles–“Bikini Body In 4 Weeks!,” “Hotter by Summer,” or “Flat Abs! Toned Butt! Sleek Arms!” While the alternately beloved and dreaded season of beaches, popsicles, and bathing suits offers a great motivation for some to start a new health regimen, usually, that is most often prohibitively (or unsustainably) restrictive. In these circumstances, how long lasting are these results, anyway?
Something much easier and more likely to stick is to add something to the menu rather than take it away. Instead of swearing off ice cream, forgoing chocolate (I certainly won’t), and breaking off your 3:00 pm appointment with your favorite snack food, add an apple. Or a banana. Or a cup of fresh berries. Or–well, the list is endless and it totally depends on what you like to eat. By adding a fruit (a healthy habit, don’t you agree?) instead of restricting yourself, you’ll feel better about yourself without the cravings. As time goes on, you might even find that you like an apple better as a snack or as an addition to lunch, than say, potato chips.
For those of you who are up for a challenge or those who have already started this lovely habit, I suggest adding a vegetable. Love your scrambled eggs? Try sauteing in some spinach. Bring a little bit of fancy to your dinner by making a salad course first–there is no reason not to treat meals as a special occasion, and the added dish won’t take much longer to clean (not only that, but eating meals in courses tends to take longer, which leads to satiety cues coming earlier in the meal). Go seasonal and try some fresh favas (delicious when boiled and then sauteed in olive oil, with a little onion and tomato).
I have personally found this very effective. At the beginning of this year, one of my goals was to eat a vegetable with (nearly) every meal. Sometimes I have pancakes for breakfast, or muesli, but I have found that I appreciate a little sauteed spinach and mushroom scramble in the mornings. Once you find that you like a healthy habit you have developed, it makes it that much easier to start another, because, hey, you might like this new one, too. Ultimately, it’s through these little changes that you achieve the healthy lifestyle of your dreams.