Grabbing a bagel on your way to work might be as routine as brushing your teeth. Changing eating habits you’ve developed over the years — even unconsciously — can feel as tough as trying to move a mountain. Yes, learned behaviors are hard to undo, but if you take it step-by-step, it’s certainly possible. Try these behavior-changing approaches, and focus on the ones that speak to you.
Heading off problems before they develop is the crux of this approach. “A” stands for antecedent, “B” stands for behavior and “C” stands for consequence. Most behaviors have an antecedent — or cause. And causes lead to consequences. By addressing antecedents first, you can prevent unwanted consequences. For example, you might decide not to buy ice cream, because keeping it in the freezer leads to the behavior of eating most or all of it in one sitting, which has the consequence of disrupting your weight program.
This is a way to change unhealthy eating habits by focusing your attention on something else when food cravings start. To use this approach, when you feel a craving coming on, remind yourself that it will last for 20 minutes at most. Then do something — call a friend, read a book, revisit your goals, take a walk — anything that will distract you until the feeling passes.
This approach to behavior change requires that you confront yourself mentally about the negative impact of your behavior. For example: If you’re craving cookies, think about the unnecessary calories and fat you’ll be consuming — and how tired and sluggish you’ll feel afterward. Remind yourself that this isn’t what you want to do with your life.
Try changing your behavior gradually, one step at a time. Instead of eliminating evening snacks altogether, start with a rule of no snack one night a week. Increase that to two nights a week. Eventually you might be able to scale back to a snack one evening a week. As you succeed with step-by-step changes, you’ll build confidence that will start fueling even more successes.
Big lifestyle changes take time but keep at it. The mini successes you’ll achieve along the way will be enough to keep you going, and the new habits that were challenging at first will start feeling more natural before you know it.
Has the same number on the scale been popping up week after week? That’s common. Being stuck at a weight-loss plateau eventually happens to most people trying to lose weight, despite continuing with the same exercise routine and healthy-eating habits.
Protect your health by including these nutrients in your regular diet:
Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. After all, physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight, and even boost your self-esteem. And you can reap these benefits regardless of your age, sex or physical ability.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults include aerobic exercise and strength training in their fitness plans, specifically:
Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.
When you’re designing your personal fitness program, consider your fitness goals. Think about your fitness likes and dislikes, and note your personal barriers to fitness. Then consider practical strategies for keeping your fitness program on track.
Starting a fitness program is an important decision, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make fitness a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
If you’re like most people, convenience is a factor when choosing what to eat — but grab-and-go foods aren’t always the best choices. The next time you need a quick and easy meal idea, try one of these healthy meals that you can whip up in minutes:
|Prewashed salad greens||Shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced tomatoes, and a splash of your favorite reduced-fat dressing or a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar||Chicken salad|
|Whole-wheat pasta, cooked according to the manufacturer’s directions||Microwaved in-the-bag mixed vegetables, topped with prepared marinara sauce and sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese||Quick pasta primavera|
|Whole-grain tortillas||Fat-free refried beans and reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, microwaved to melt the cheese, topped with salsa and folded||Bean burritos|
|Baked large baking potatoes||Heated canned vegetarian chili and a sprinkle of reduced-fat cheese||Baked chili potatoes|
|Microwaved prepackaged brown rice||Frozen stir-fry vegetables and strips of chicken, stir-fried in a small amount of oil||Stir-fried chicken and vegetables over rice|
|Toasted whole-wheat buns||Heated lean roast beef slices from the deli, reduced-fat cheese and veggies||Roast beef sandwich|
|Toasted whole-wheat hoagie buns||Lettuce leaves, tuna salad made with a small amount of mayonnaise and your favorite veggie toppings||Tuna sub sandwich|
No parent likes to see their child deal with respiratory allergy symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, or sneezing. But the scenario is all too common: Ten percent of children have respiratory allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). If your child is one of them, you can take action to avoid his or her exposure to allergy triggers, like pollen, dust, or animal dander. First, make sure that you determine what your child is truly allergic to. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is known as an allergen. Try these allergen-avoidance tips to keep your youngster free of allergy symptoms.