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Set Your Own Rules for Eating

Ask any personal trainer or nutritionist. Losing weight is a numbers game. It's simple math. You have to burn more than you take in. While this is true in the general sense, there are some other important rules to the "weight loss game" that you should know.

Fortunately, the other important rules are your rules. Anyone who consistently watches what they eat will tell you that they have rules that they don't break that help them stay on track. 

Avoid Plates Full of Unhealthiness
One rule may be to stay away from plates full of unhealthy food. Instead, limit yourself to just one unhealthy food on a plate every so often. It may sound funny, but it works for some. 

Let's say that you love breakfast food. Your ideal breakfast may be french toast, an omelet and bacon. According to this rule, you could keep the omelet because the eggs would be good protein. Additionally, if you load it with veggies, then you are getting some vitamins. However, you are going to have to make a decision...pancakes or bacon, not both.

The same rule applies to other meals. If you get a greasy buffalo wings, skip the fries (or vice versa). 

Mentally Prepare 
Another rule is to set up what is on limits and what is off limits for you before you go to dinner parties. This can be simply accomplished by asking the host what he/she will be serving. "I can't wait to get together on Saturday. What are you fixing?" If you are going to a restaurant or event, you can check online to see if a menu is posted.

This will help you go into the evening with a plan as to what you will avoid and what you will eat. If you are scared that you will renege on your plans, ask a friend/date to remind you of your plans.

Appetizer or Dessert
The whole point of appetizers is to give you something to munch on while you wait for your food to come. Therefore, if you aren't starving, don't get the appetizer. They are just unnecessary calories. Rarely are they healthy because the point is to feature something that cooks faster than your main course would cook. If you are going to get an appetizer, make it a rule that you are either getting an appetizer or dessert, not both. 




Don't Drink Calories
Americans love food. In fact, most cultures love food. Might it be helpful to decide that you aren't going to drink your calories? In other words, don't waste the daily calories that you get on alcohol or sugary drinks like sodas and juice. Spend your calories on things that you can chew. 

Believe it or not, there are rules to setting up your eating rules. 

  1. Only set up 2-4 rules. You want to be able to remember these rules and apply them when you are eating. Too many rules will get you confused. 
  2. Make your goals specific, attainable and challenging. Don't make rules that you know aren't a challenge for you to keep. On the other hand, don't make rules that you know you will break regularly. 
  3. Adjust your rules as you get better at maintaining healthy eating habits. Perhaps you start by making a rule that you only drink 200 calories per day (roughly one 16-ounce bottle of soda) and then gradually cut back to 100 calories and then none per day (i.e., your entire liquid intake would be water). 
  4. Don't beat yourself up if you break a rule. Recognize where you went wrong and what factors caused you to break your rules. Then, get back on the horse.

Related Articles:  The Truth About Calories