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Are You Guilty of These Diet Crimes?

The scene: Nine p.m. Your living room. The TV is on. The evidence: An empty cookie bag on the floor; crumbs on the sofa. The victim: Your diet. Let our rehab plan reform your delinquent ways.
Late Night Eater The Night Eater

THE CRIME: You consume more than half your daily calories after 6 p.m. -- mostly through mindless munching in front of the TV. Because you scarf down so much at night, you're not hungry for breakfast or lunch the next day, causing your blood sugar to crash and your metabolism to slow. By the time you get home from work you're starving, and the bingeing starts all over again.

Your Rehab Plan
Eat every four hours. Even if you aren't hungry, try to have 300 calories in the morning to give you the energy you need to get through the day. Consume a healthy lunch of around 400 calories, followed by a small snack. "Regular meals keep your blood sugar stable, so you don't get the urge to inhale everything in sight at night," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member.

Set the dinner table. Research shows that we consume 163 more calories per day when we chow down in front of the TV. Sitting at the table forces you to pay attention to what's on your plate and how much you're eating.

Ask yourself what you're really hungry for. "If you've already eaten dinner, you aren't snacking because you need the calories," says Martin Binks, PhD, director of behavioral health and research at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. You're probably eating for comfort. "Think about what can distract you from the urge to eat," Binks advises. "For instance, if you're bored, go for a walk. If you're lonely, call a friend."