2. Jot down everything you eat and drink for two weeks. Learn from this food journal what you can reduce and eliminate. Drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables.
3. From the food journal, identify trigger foods that are overeaten or are not healthy. Start reducing or eliminate one or two from your diet. Make sure that unhealthy foods like candy or salty chips are not in the house or easy to get. When eliminating or reducing certain foods from your diet, pick one or two to start. Work on these for two weeks before adding more,” Roper says. “It may seem like a slow process, but remember, it’s more a lifestyle change. Doing it slowly will help you stick with it and make you feel like you’re not giving up everything all at once.
4. Find another activity like exercise, reading a book or riding a bike to replace the urge to eat when not hungry. Learn to recognize the difference between “hunger” (need to eat) and “appetite” (desire to eat). Exercising 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week, is recommended. Try breaking up the 30 minutes into small 5-10 minute segments throughout the day. Maybe it’s doing leg lifts or arm curls while at a computer desk, walking a hallway or stairway or doing sit-ups or crunches while watching TV. Any exercise will get your metabolism revved up and into gear.
5. Reward yourself for accomplishments. Maybe it’s buying a new pair of shoes for achieving a weight loss or for eliminating fried foods. However, don’t reward yourself with food.
To increase your odds of success even more, recruit a family member or friend for support. “Sometimes if you have to answer to someone else, you are more likely to follow the plan that you have set for yourself,” Roper says. “If you have to meet someone at the gym, you are more likely to show up and exercise.”
For more mini-goals that will arm you with healthier habits for 2014, check out 21 New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep.