Make Over My Diet
The All-Day GrazerShannon Meairs, 32, Santa Monica, California
Shannon prides herself on eating organic, avoiding processed foods, and training hard for triathlons. But after finding herself with 25 pounds to lose, she realized that her eating habits might not be so healthy after all. "In terms of my food choices, I tend to wing it," she says, explaining that she often finds herself snacking in the car on the way to meetings for her job as the CEO of a college counseling service. "I don't plan ahead, so I usually end up skipping meals and then grazing on whatever I can find later."Her Daily Dish
9 a.m. Two sausage links, trail mix, and a bowl of strawberries. "Ate this on the way to the gym."
1 p.m. Half a potato pancake, a half cup of cranberry-lemon quinoa, a quarter of an organic vegan brownie, and a skim vanilla latte. "Paralyzed by indecision at Whole Foods, I just grabbed whatever looked good and munched in the car."
7 p.m. A small plate of nachos and a Diet Coke. "Out to dinner with friends, but not starving."
10 p.m. Pancake and brownie leftovers from lunch. "Hungry by the time I left the restaurant, so I ate these in the car on my way home."
11 p.m. Half a vegan oatmeal-raisin cookie. "My roommates were eating them, and they looked really good! I couldn't resist."
"In theory, Shannon's committed to her health, but when she has to choose between focusing on her job or focusing on her body, the job always wins," Tribole explains. "That's okay once in a while, but when it becomes your lifestyle, all those last-minute food decisions can add up to big problems." To reorder her priorities, Shannon needs to:
- Eat regular meals. Shannon grazes all day, which means that calories pile up. Tribole advises her to schedule her meals to make sure they happen. "If she plans lunch for 12:30 and 1 p.m. hits, she needs to drop everything and eat," Tribole says.
- Fill the fridge with healthy food. To prevent the there's-nothing-for-dinner panic that can lead to late-night binges, Tribole advises Shannon to hit the grocery store on the weekends to pick up the ingredients for a few favorite dishes.
- Do an internal audit. Before and after each meal, Shannon should make a quick mental note about how she feels. "This will help her see how regular meals improve her energy and mood," Tribole says, so she'll be motivated to stick with it.
"Planning ahead has been the biggest revelation; it's much easier to commit to regular mealtimes when you know there's stuff on hand that you want to eat," Shannon says. "My energy levels have improved, and I lost 12 pounds without even trying. It's so worth it to make yourself a priority!"
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