Opt for cooking methods (such as stir-frying and steaming) that help preserve nutrients by working quickly and requiring little water. Shun saturated fats (often found in processed foods and full-fat dairy) in favor of the healthy fats in olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish like salmon. Keep using the Nutrition Action Plan for meal ideas.
Now that you've become more aware of how you eat, pay attention to really savoring your food. Each time you eat, rate your hunger. Before, during, and after your meal or snack, assess your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Try to stop eating once your hunger hits 7, so your brain will have time to realize it's full. If there's still food on your plate, scale back next time.
Concentrate on chewing slowly and relishing each bite. Aim to make each meal last at least 20 minutes.
"Pay close attention to all your senses," Albers advises. "Use your tongue to feel your food's texture and gauge its temperature. Breathe in the aroma. Ask yourself, 'How does this really taste? Does it truly satisfy my taste buds?'"
Sit at a table and turn your full attention to your food each time you eat. Research shows that people who work while eating tend to take in more calories than those who focus only on their plate.
Keep up your cardio routine, and add weights to the mix. You'll introduce a short strength-training session to your workout two days this week. Strength training not only builds muscle, it increases bone density, helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and shields your joints from injury as you age. Select eight moves from the Fitness Action Plan, making sure to work arms, chest, core, and legs. (Warm up first with at least 10 minutes of cardio.)
Try to work more physical activity into your everyday life. "There are all sorts of ways you can move more frequently throughout the day, if you just get creative," Harper says. If you can, consider walking to work a couple of days each week or using your bike to run errands rather than driving. Even small changes -- doing lunges or knee bends while making phone calls, or taking a quick lap around the office every hour -- can give you a burst of energy and rev up your cardiovascular fitness.
Does your increased activity boost your mood or energy? Note it in your journal.
If taking up a meditation practice seems daunting, start with the beginner-friendly techniques in our Stress Relief Action Plan. "Meditation teaches us focused concentration -- and the more you do it, the easier it gets," says Lipman. Meditate every day this week, devoting 15 minutes to each session.