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8 Things to Do Right Now for a Healthier Week

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It’s a vicious cycle. You vow to cut back on carbs or commit to a juice cleanse and exercise plan for a week. By day three, though, you find yourself giving up before you’ve even gotten off to a good start. Is it a lack willpower? Not quite. But you could be suffering from an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to setting goals and weight loss. If you tend to give up easily, try making a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle habits first. Get back on track to a healthier week with small changes you can make right here, right now that yield big results.

“I was doing so well on my diet, and then life got in the way.”

I’ve certainly said those words. You’ve probably said those words. Can you handle some tough love, though? Stop the excuses, already. Truth: Life is hard, unpredictable, and comes with its own set of challenges. But honestly, we often get in our own way before life even gets the chance to throw us a curveball. The good news, however, is that you can start developing healthy habits right now to incorporate in your everyday routine.

It doesn’t require a major diet and lifestyle overhaul—just some small baby steps that are totally doable. Why small steps? For most of us, when we succeed in accomplishing a small goal, we’re motivated to keep going. On the other hand, failing at bigger goals may cause you to be less motivated and disappointed. Of course there’s no one-size-fits-all diet solution for everyone, but just by committing to making one of these easy tweaks to your diet and lifestyle, you're already off to a great start. If you’re feeling inspired to get back to a healthier, leaner you ASAP, read on for tips to get your week going strong.

1. Clean Up After Indulgences with Probiotics

Photo: Alison Miksch Styling: Lindsey Lower

Have you had a weekend of full-on indulgence, or are you coming off of a sugar bender? Instead of seeking relief in a detox or juice cleanse, try some gut-healthy probiotics like Kombucha tea or kefir to help with the stomach’s natural digestion. Unlike some fruit juices or smoothies, probiotic-rich foods are relatively low in calories and sugar, making it perfectly okay to really indulge throughout the week with none of the guilt.

2. Stay Hydrated

Photo: Teresa Sabga

Similar to the apple allowance, drinking eight glasses of water a day can also help keep the doctor away, or at the very least keep you full and energized to tackle on another week. Need another hydrating incentive? Drinking more water may also lead to weight loss, according to this study. To remind yourself to get plenty of H2O, try these easy tips.

3. Skip the Chips and Calorie-Dense Dips for Healthier Snacks

Photo: Katherine Flynn

Schedules get hectic, workloads become overwhelming, and then there's lunch somewhere lost in the shuffle. For those days when you just can't find the time to eat lunch, having an emergency snack stash is a must. Munching on healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you from overeating later on at dinner or grabbing something quick and unhealthy from the drive-thru. Our go-to favorites are: homemade granola, apple energy bites, and DIY no-bake snack bars

4. Prep Ahead to Make Weeknights Easier and Quicker

Photo: Caitlin Bensel

It’s exhausting just thinking about washing, mixing, cutting, and chopping. And none of that prep work actually involves the cooking yet. It doesn't come as a surprise that some people would rather have fast food or a bag of chips instead of doing all that prepping each night for one meal. Save yourself the time and stress by prepping on the weekend. This means chopping all of your vegetables ahead of time and storing them in the fridge in individual containers, pre-cooking grains like quinoa or bulgur, and making a large portion of homemade dressings and vinaigrettes to use all week for side salads. Three and five-ingredient healthy meals aren’t so bad either for busy weeknights. Minimal grocery shopping + low-key preparation = maximum results for the week ahead. Now, start planning.

5. Put Vegetables in Everything...And We Mean Everything

Photo: Rebecca Longshore

You already know you can add beets and spinach to your smoothies, but have you tried using sweet potatoes as zoodles or an alternative crust option? What about the ever-so-versatile cauliflower as mash, biscuits, or cheesy tots? And we can’t forget about sneaking veggies into low-calorie casseroles or morning muffins. You’ll get your week off to a healthy start with fruits and vegetables that pull double duty.

6. Engage in Daily "Deskercise"

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Making healthier diet swaps is a surefire way to jump-start your week, but for faster results, you’ve got to get active. The problem, though, is that some days aren’t meant for the gym or sweating. You can undo the damage of sitting all day or mindlessly snacking at work by sneaking in some simple exercises at your desk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’ve never heard of “stapler curls,” you and your biceps are truly missing out.

7. Make Freezer Smoothie Packs

Photo: Sara Tane

Another DIY moment: Prepare pre-packed smoothie bags by putting your favorite blended goodies, pre-cut frozen produce, and non-liquid ingredients (protein, veggies, or whey powder) into Ziploc 2-Gallon Freezer Bags. That way, all you have to do when the alarm sounds is dump the bagged ingredients in the blender, and you’re off! You can thank us later for making your mornings much easier.

8. Cook at Home Instead of Going Out

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Not only do you save calories by ditching take-out or avoiding restaurants during the week, but you also have more control in what goes into your meals. Cooking soups or slow-cooker classics at home also lends itself to healthy leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. If you’re looking to get a head start on home-cooked meals to mix in your weekly lineup, our customizable meal planner, the Cooking Light Diet, could also be a help.