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5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet

5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Are you working toward a nutrition or weight loss goal and struggling to stay motivated? Changing or maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging, but the benefits far outweigh the struggles. Eating healthy helps you to maintain a healthy weight and have more energy. It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of certain diseases like heart disease and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

Frederick Health Nutrition & Weight Management dietitians work with a variety of health conditions and lifestyles to help patients with meal planning and weight management. Here are some basic tips they recommend for sticking to a healthy, nutritious diet:

  1. Keep a food journal. One of the first steps at creating healthier eating patterns is looking at your food history. By writing down what you eat and drink and the time of day, or logging these through an app on your phone or tablet, you can look back and see where you need to improve. If you noticed last week that you ate more carbs and fewer vegetables, set a goal to eat more veggies and fewer carbs next week. Tracking your food not only shows you trends and allows you to really think about what you eat, but it also keeps you motivated and holds you accountable.
  2. Talk to a Primary Care doctor, especially if you have health conditions like heart disease or diabetes impacted heavily by what you eat. Your doctor can help you set realistic expectations for what your body needs and the best plan for weight loss if needed. Talk to your doctor about what’s motivating you to make healthier choices. What are your goals for your new diet? How do you want to feel? Are there any foods you should avoid based on your medications? Primary Care focuses on all parts of your health. If you don’t have a physician, request an appointment with Frederick Health Primary Care.
  3. Eat every 3-4 hours. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels and prevents overindulging at mealtime. Just think of any time you skipped lunch knowing you were going out to dinner that night. Did you eat more than you should have when you finally did eat?

    Start the day with a high-protein breakfast. Think eggs, oatmeal, or protein pancakes with fruit. Aim for a balanced, heart-healthy plate at every meal with lean protein, veggies, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy (optional). Practice mindful eating, or taking the time to slow down and enjoy your food. Adopting a mindful approach to eating can help you have a better relationship with food and reduce binge eating.
  4. Shop smarter—and keep unhealthy foods out of the house. If those cookies or potato chips are not in the kitchen, they can’t tempt you; out of sight, out of mind. Without junk food around, you’re more likely to eat the healthy food you bought and stay on track. If you think you’ll get hungry, carry healthy snacks with you instead. If you know you’re dining out later, look at the menu ahead of time and select healthier options.

    Our partners at LiveWell Frederick have plenty of nutrition resources. You’ll find everything you need, from tips for storing fruits and veggies or supermarket scavenger hunts for kids, to recipe ideas, grocery meal plan calendars, and more.
  5. Avoid “all or nothing” thinking. We all slip up sometimes. Judging your diet as all good or all bad can lead to overeating and poor choices (ex: “I blew my diet by having a dessert at lunch. I might as well keep eating sweets today.”) It takes time to change your habits, so don’t get discouraged if you make mistakes or it takes longer than you expected to adapt your healthier lifestyle. Studies show it takes, on average, 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Cut yourself some slack. Accept when mistakes happen, then pick yourself up and carry on.

Breaking old habits and replacing them with healthier ones may be hard, but you’re not alone. Frederick Health Nutrition & Weight Management can help create a plan that works for you and your health needs, long-term. Contact us today.