Keeping Diet and Exercise on Track

Caucasian family playing basketball together. Happy family spending free time together.

What causes a “break” in good food habits? Why get tempted by candy or chips, when you could reach for grapes, or whole-grain crackers? Why is it that you can work out for a few weeks, then end up in front of the TV for days later? These questions can haunt even the most dedicated of those trying to follow a healthy lifestyle. (No one’s perfect!)

It’s not easy to make healthy choices, all of the time, but when we do, we feel and look better, and have more energy. If the week’s been busy, you’ve had awful weather, or cash is low, there are some ways to get back on track:

Make a list of tempting “bad” foods (like candy, soda, chips, and dip). Then, write down what’s healthy to eat instead (like fruit, water, unsalted whole-grain pretzels, and hummus or salsa). Share orange slices with some almonds, or an apple with some low-fat string cheese or peanut butter. You may find that these healthier snacks, too, are affordable alternatives to salty or sugary ones with empty calories! (You’ll also reach for those healthier options more, once you start habitually “swapping out” the bad for the good. (Try water with pineapple or lime with mint, instead of that cola.)

Mark down times when you’re tempted to “cheat”: Is it when you go to a party with friends? Eat a light salad or fruit before you go to fill up a bit. Is it when home, watching TV? Have a cupful of crunchy veggies to control how much you snack. Or, run in place for a part of the movie or show!

Add a “family workout day” on a fridge calendar. Have a basketball dribble contest. Walk the dog together. Use soup cans for weights. Whether it’s an indoor dance-off, or a race around the block, have fun as a group — and keep moving!

Reward each other. Celebrate reaching a goal with a bike ride, or a movie night (just hold the butter on the popcorn).

Eating right and moving more doesn’t have to cost a lot. It can help to clear your mind, have a healthy blood pressure and weight, and stop boredom, too. Remember: It’s always time for a fresh start!

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

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