Are you in a get-healthy frame of mind today? If you answered yes, you’re not alone—the beginning of the week seems to be a popular time for people to focus on their health, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Google data backs this up, specifically when it comes to getting in shape: Weight loss–related terms such as “best diet” and “how to exercise” are searched for least on Saturdays, with a noticeably rise beginning on Sunday, according to Google.
Of course, if you’re already in a healthy-eating mindset, it’s smart to take advantage of it—when you already feel positive and empowered, you’ll boost your odds of weight-loss success. Get started stat with these painless diet changes, from nutritionist Brittany Kohn, R.D., of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City.
Consume protein with every meal or snack. Protein provides fuel for steady energy, it keeps you feel full so cravings are at bay, and there’s something about consuming lean meat, fish, or veggie-based proteins like chickpeas that makes you feel like you’re indulging, not dieting.
Eat every three to five hours. Going longer than that without putting gas in your tank can kick-start cravings and hunger…and that boosts the odds that you’ll overeat later on.
Pack half your plate with vegetables. You’ll fill up on fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, but you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of your favorite foods (that’s what the other half of your plate is for!).
Leave something behind when you eat out. Restaurant food is tricky: Not only are portions humongous, but dishes are typically prepared with way more butter and oil than if you cooked the same meal at home. That’s why it’s smart to get in the habit of leaving behind at least a quarter of your entrée. You’ll save lots of calories, yet you’ll still feel satiated.
Drink six to eight cups of water per day. “We often confuse hunger and thirst, so make sure you’re adequately hydrated,” says Kohn.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. Even though they have zero calories, they trick your taste buds and actually increase sugar cravings, plus can cause bloating and lethargy, says Kohn.
Close your kitchen after dinner. Resist the urge to nosh before bed; it’s a danger time that can lead to taking in lots of extra calories—only to leave you feeling bloated and demoralized in the morning and more likely to throw in the towel, says Kohn.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.