As sure as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, each year millions of Americans make big, lofty New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. But without specific, attainable goals in mind, those ambitious resolutions tend to quickly fall by the wayside.

Experts say that focusing on smaller changes instead can make a bigger difference in the long run.

“Instead of resolutions, make accessible, realistic goals that lead to long-term lifestyle changes,” Keri Glassman, a registered dietician and author of “The New You (and Improved!) Diet,” told CBS News.

To get started, try implementing these simple changes in your daily life to make 2018 your healthiest year yet.

1. Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast

You’ve heard the advice “Don’t skip breakfast!” over and over, and with good reason. Packing the most important meal of the day with protein is even better. In fact, studies have shown that eating a breakfast high in protein helps people eat less throughout the day.

“This is not because it was a purposeful restriction,” explained Roberta Anding, RD, a sports nutritionist for Rice Athletics and the Houston Astros. “It’s just a decreased hunger response.” Fill up on Greek yogurt or make a batch of egg frittatas in advance for a quick go-to-meal to grab while you run out the door.

health habits

“It’s really easy to just take six to eight eggs and some leftover vegetables and put them in a muffin pan and bake them. Now you’ve got these crustless egg muffins that will last for a week in your refrigerator,” Anding said.

Stay away from high-carb options like bagels, which are dense with calories and will leave you feeling hungry again in a couple of hours.

2. Put an end to mindless eating

“Food needs its own time and space. If you’re watching a sports game or a great movie, sometimes you won’t even appreciate the food you’re eating and you’re just putting your hand to mouth because it’s there,” Anding said.

Make it a rule not to consume food while watching television.

If you find yourself falling prey to mindless eating often, Anding suggests chewing sugar-free gum instead.

“The reason for that is you’ve got to take it out of your mouth before putting popcorn in, so it gives you one second to ask if you’re hungry and if you really want it,” she said.

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