One Small Change: 3 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds in a Month
No Fries, No JunkMy one small change: "I stopped pigging out and learned to eat in moderation"
Maya Vasquez, 34
Current weight: 200
Pounds lost: 6The Challenge
"I love all things fried, and I have a major sweet tooth," says Vasquez. "About twice a day, I have some sort of baked good, like a muffin, cookies, or my favorite, cake. I don't know if I can give this stuff up."The Expert Says
"Having these foods occasionally isn't going to make a huge impact on your weight," says Bonnie Gluck, RD, a clinical dietitian at New York Methodist Hospital. "But if you overeat regularly, that's thousands of extra calories over the course of a month. Even if you're not gaining weight, you won't be able to slim down."The Plan
Get cooking. Aim to prepare your own meals at least five days a week. It's easier to make healthy choices when you're in charge. (Although you shouldn't be shy about making requests in restaurants!) Stock up on lean proteins, filling cereals, like Kashi GoLean, frozen and fresh produce, and healthy starches such as whole-grain bread and brown rice.
Eat all day. Never let yourself get to the point where your stomach is rumbling -- that makes it too easy for you to overindulge. Have 100- to 200-calorie snacks, such as air-popped popcorn or graham crackers, between meals.
Enjoy chocolate. To get your fix, opt for low-fat or fat-free chocolate yogurt, such as Stonyfield Farm Chocolate Underground, which will set you back only 170 calories. For an occasional treat, try SnackWell's Cookie Cakes Devil's Food Fat Free (50 calories a serving).
"I can't say I was a complete angel the entire month; during my period I fell off the wagon," says Vasquez. "Before I knew it, a muffin led to dim sum, which led to French fries. I felt so guilty. But as the weeks went on, it got easier -- even the cooking. Instead of frying chicken and fish, I'd bake and steam it. It tasted so good. I had a lot more raw vegetables, too. By the end of the month, I barely craved junk food at all."How to Stick with It
"I tracked what I ate with an online journal," says Vasquez. "When I had to admit what I was eating, even to a computer, having a slice of cake didn't seem nearly as much fun as it used to. The more aware I was of what I was putting in my mouth, the easier it was to make smart decisions."
"I have GERD, a painful condition that causes chronic heartburn," Vasquez says. "But because I wasn't eating as many trigger foods, like fries, I didn't have an attack all month."Will She Stay with It?
Yes! "I'm not even tempted to go back to my old ways. Losing six pounds is a major victory! It seemed impossible before, but now I know that I can hit, and maintain, a healthy weight."
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