Make Over My Diet
Make Small Changes to Eat Healthier
You know what to do: Fill up on fruits and veggies. Eat lean protein. Don't devour the entire pint of chocolate-fudge ripple in one sitting. But as it turns out, there's a lot more to making smart food choices than what you put on your plate. We asked four FITNESS readers to record everything they ate for five days and then sent them for a session with nutritionist Evelyn Tribole, RD, coauthor of Intuitive Eating. A few months and a few small changes later, all four women were healthier, more energetic -- and slimmer! Don't eat another bite until you dig in to their brilliantly easy success tricks.The Busy Mom
Karen Walch, 42, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
A stay-at-home mom, Karen has always made healthy, home-cooked family dinners a priority. But between taking care of her two kids and keeping up with her long to-do list, she ends up treating daytime meals as an afterthought. "I've never been a breakfast person, and I usually eat lunch on the run," explains Karen, who has gained 10 pounds during the past few years. Diagnosed as prediabetic several years ago, she is eager to make some changes. "I want to get off medication and be a healthy role model for my kids."Her Daily Dish
6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eight cups of coffee with skim milk and sugar
2 p.m. A salad with barbecued chicken and a little goat cheese drizzled with low-fat honey-mustard dressing. "Eating this while sorting the mail."
7 p.m. Homemade beef-and-chicken chop suey over brown rice with a glass of unsweetened iced tea. "Sitting down to a meal for the first time all day."
9 p.m. Ice cream for dessert. "Craving something sweet."
When she eats, Karen makes good choices, Tribole notes, but skipping meals and fueling up on coffee wreak havoc on her health. "Too much caffeine interferes with your sleep and suppresses your appetite," Tribole says. "Plus, going for long periods without eating can cause your blood sugar to plummet, leaving you feeling weak and shaky." Since prediabetics need to carefully control their blood sugar, it's important for them to eat regular meals along with one or two snacks daily. To turn things around, Tribole advises Karen to:
- Eat two mini breakfasts. A morning meal provides steady energy. Because Karen finds a big breakfast overwhelming, Tribole suggests splitting it up: "Try a yogurt first thing, then some toast with peanut butter and banana around 10 a.m."
- Cut down on the coffee. Karen's goal is no more than one morning cup. Tribole encourages her to taper her consumption over the course of two weeks to prevent withdrawal headaches.
- Get snack happy. Going longer than three to four hours without eating can zap your energy levels. To break this cycle, Karen should munch on something small, such as a granola bar or an apple with peanut butter, between meals.
"I'm eating breakfast and drinking just one cup of coffee," Karen says. "Before, I'd be ready for a nap at 11 a.m. Now I feel energetic all day long -- and I've lost 12 pounds. The best news is that my blood sugar has dropped enough for my doctor to cut the dose of my daily diabetes medication in half. If I keep this up, I could be off the medication in six months!"
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