"It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle." We've all heard those words but fail to believe them. But it is true. Dieting in the traditional sense doesn't work. Limiting your caloric intake for a period of time will help you lose weight, but once you return to your old habits the weight comes back. So it can be tricky to lose weight and still enjoy family meals, especially when your children love pizza, chicken nuggets and corndogs.
One of the most important things to remember in your lifestyle change is that you have to exercise while making healthy food choices. Whether it be walking, swimming, roller blading, or exercise videos -- it needs to be part of who you are, not just what you do. It's easy to say you want to achieve a goal, but saying you want to have something rarely ever helps you make changes. It's all about what you do -- not what you say.
All right, lets talk about food! First, start by serving your family healthy choices (at least one per meal). If your kids love chicken nuggets, that's great. It gives you an opportunity to use fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts and other healthy ingredients. Bake them or broil them for extra crunch, and serve with a side salad, tasty vegetable, and brown rice. Let the children have as many chicken nuggets as they like, but you can stick to two or three, filling up on the healthy sides. Now, look at your children's portions and mimic them.
This lesson applies to nearly every meal, except maybe pizza night. This is when I have to have a leafy salad and limit myself to one piece of pizza while my 7-year old scarfs down four. Typically, though, children are very good guides to stopping when they are full, and not going overboard simply because a food tastes good.
In the morning, chop up a variety of fruits and vegetables so they are easily accessible to snack on. And make yourself a deal: "If I eat all my fruits and vegetables today, I can have any dessert I want!" And guess what happens: First, you are motivated to eat your fruits and vegetable, but your body also becomes satisfied and nourished, so your cravings for junk food actually decreases naturally. And if you still want a yummy snack, go for it!
Cook with more fresh foods and less processed ones. I heard it said before "Food does not come in a box," and it's true. Truly nutritious food is prepared, not processed. Fresher means less preservatives, additives, fats and salts. The more you control in your kitchen the better your weight loss will be. So, don't diet and let your mouth water with envy when your family sits down to a delicious meal. Make a committed lifestyle change, use your exercise videos and incorporate healthy cooking habits. These will help you lose weight and still enjoy family meals.