Make Over My Diet
The Guilty EaterLiz Scranton, 29, Washington, D.C.
Liz ran a half-marathon the week before her September 2008 wedding. But after two years of newlywed bliss, she found herself 10 pounds heavier. "You always hear about post-wedding weight gain, but I didn't think it would happen to me," says Liz, a director of programming for a nonprofit. She tried calorie counting and packaged diet foods, but nothing worked. "I end up blowing my diet every night because I'm too tired to make a real dinner."Her Daily Dish
8 a.m. Coffee, an oatmeal bar, and an apple. "My stomach's been growling since I woke up at five."
12:30 p.m. Lean Cuisine Baja-Style Chicken Quesadilla and a clementine. "Still hungry."
2:30 p.m. A 100-calorie pack of chocolate chip cookies. "The hunger pangs win again!"
6 p.m. A scone from Starbucks. "Starving. Need something before I hit the gym."
8:30 p.m. A small container of cookies-and-cream frozen yogurt. "Famished -- so I ate this on my way home from the gym."
9 p.m. A small bag of reduced-fat Cheez-Its and a bowl of Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal with skim milk. "Too exhausted to cook a real dinner."
"Like many women, Liz is so worried about overeating that she restricts what she eats and when she eats it," Tribole says. "She has very small breakfasts and lunches that leave her ravenous by 2 p.m., yet she doesn't eat dinner until 9 p.m. That creates a vicious cycle in which she consumes too much at night and tries to make up for it the next day." Liz can cut herself some slack with these simple steps.
- Feed your appetite. Tribole recommends that Liz commit to three days of eating whenever she feels hungry. "If your stomach is growling, you need to eat something, not wait three hours until dinner because you think you should," Tribole explains.
Get fresh. Liz's meals don't give her enough calories, protein, or fiber. "She should consume at least 300 calories in the morning and 400 for lunch," Tribole says. If Liz did a bit of prep -- for instance, making a pot of soup on Sunday -- she could bring lunch to work a few days a week.
Ditch the guilt. "Liz feels bad when she eats something she thinks she shouldn't, like the scone," Tribole notes. Instead, she should look ahead to the next meal or the next day to see what she can do to make healthier choices. For instance, packing a healthy snack, such as nuts and fresh fruit.
"I'm not obsessing about food all the time or constantly worrying about eating perfectly," Liz says. "I'm packing nutritious snacks, like trail mix, so when I do get hungry between meals, I have something healthy and filling to munch on. And it works: I've lost two pounds just by listening to my body."
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2010.
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