What you do in the first few weeks of a new shape-up plan is the key to making sure the numbers on the scale keep heading south. “It’s not uncommon for dieters who start a plan to drop out after the first month because they haven’t learned the skills they need to stay on track,” says dream team psychology expert Judith Beck, PhD.
Ahead, our experts share the five must-do moves that will help youand our Feel Great Weight star, Criminal Minds actress and new mom AJ Cookget to your goal weight.
Secret #1: Make it easy on yourself.
“Do online grocery shopping to buy all of your staples at one time,” says diet expert Alyse Levine, RD. That way you won’t be tempted to browse the aisles weekly and impulse-buy cookies or chips. Then do yourself a big favor and donate your pantry stash of unopened personal binge-trigger foods to a shelter, she says.
Stock up on favorite healthy nibbles like grapes and almonds, and store them at eye level in the fridge and pantry. Also keep on hand practically instant, emergency dinners for when you’re too tired or famished to cook, like Amy’s Organic frozen meals or ingredients for mini pizzas (whole-wheat pitas with shredded mozzarella, frozen veggies, and marinara sauce). Make it convenient, and you’re way more likely to stay on track.
Secret #2: Have a plan for (minor) mess-ups.
Messing up is core to being human. Don’t beat yourself up for it, because then you risk giving up altogetheror having a pity-party food fest.
What to say to yourself after that slipup: “‘If I stop right now, it may not show up on the scale at the end of the week,'” diet-psych expert Beck says. “You’ll keep mistakes in perspective, gain confidence in your ability to get back on track, and keep losing weight.”
How to make up for it: “Eat a smaller next mealsome lean protein with salad or other nonstarchy vegetables,” Levine says. Goofed all day? Simply forgo your evening snack and stick to the plan the next day. “The worst thing you can do is try to starve yourselfyou’ll end up bingeing by the time dinner rolls around,” she says. Missed a workout? Clean the house for an hour to make up for it, fitness pro Keli Roberts says. “Put on some motivating music, and dance as you clean. You’ll torch caloriesand end up with a sparkling house.”