Cheating On A Diet: Avoid The Tailspin!
Whether it's your first time trying to lose weight or if you're an experienced calorie-counter, there is always the temptation to cheat.
Waking up to the smell of bacon, driving past the local McDonald's, or even something as trivial as a commercial for Popeye's new chicken and a biscuit combo can set off a craving that breaks your willpower and has you reaching for the car keys or moves those once steady legs to the fridge.
Here are some thoughts on how prevent a tail-spin.
Keep things in perspective
Remember that nobody is perfect! A small slip in your diet can actually prevent a total breakdown or food binge down the road and striving for perfection in your weight loss program will only hurt your progress in the long run.
The book, The Secret is Out, puts it best when it says, "the dieter who strives for good health has drive, while perfectionist dieter is driven." The perfectionist dieter will set their goals high and struggle trying to accomplish them due to self-recrimination following any little slip along the way, whereas healthy dieters will also set the bar high but have far less frustration trying to get there due to there ability to keep things in perspective.
No matter how many cookies you pass up at the grocery store, or how many holidays or parties you make it through without overindulging, chances are at some point you're going to give in. An important thing to understand is that your craving, or need to cheat, is all in your head and not a real physiologic need. Nobody needs the high-fat, salty, greasy or sugar-ridden foods they crave. Even though cravings are sure to pop up from time to time, there are several ways to reduce the actuality of a cheat occurring, and, even more importantly, there are more ways to get back on track immediately afterwards.
How do I get back on track?
Cheating doesn't mean failure! The biggest mistake people make is thinking that cheating is equivalent to failure. It is important to keep your goals in mind and be patient with your weight loss.
The extra pounds you're trying to lose didn't accumulate overnight so understand it will take time to reach your weight and overall health goals. If you're trying to lose 20 pounds, slipping up and putting 2 pounds back on after losing 10 doesn't mean you failed - it just slowed you down. Don't focus on the 2-pound weight gain, but instead look at the big picture and focus on the weight you've lost.
Two-steps forward and one step back is still a step in the right direction. The trick is to reduce your steps backwards in the future. Forgive the indiscretion, but don't forget it! Consider the situation, feelings, or reasons surrounding the occasion and come up with some strategies to avoid the same thing from happening again.
Vacations, sporting events, weekends, and parties are easy places to lose control of your diet; however, avoiding these occasions makes you miss out on fun times and leads to additional feelings of deprivation. Sometimes actually planning for an occasion where you will not follow your program (within reason of course!) will help you eliminate cravings in anticipation of that event and keep you from abandoning your weight loss efforts afterword.
Instead of playing the hermit card and staying in your exclusive dieting shell, plan ahead and create a plan on how to bounce back afterword or reduce the unhealthiness of a situation. Bringing your own healthier food or side dish to a party or cookout is an easy way to reduce calories.
As for a sporting event, eating a healthy meal before the game with fill your stomach and help fight the temptation for the foot-long "frank" and bucket of cotton candy. Just remember to mark down the occasion ahead of time to make sure you aren't cheating too often. Take some time in advance to plan how you are going to bounce back or come up with a strategy to better control the unhealthy situation.
Doctors Roizen and Oz, authors of the You On a Diet, cleverly explain how to bounce back from a cheat. They use the analogy of a GPS on a trip to explain how you should think on a diet. They write: "[If you make a wrong turn on a trip,] the GPS doesn't berate you, doesn't scold you... Instead, all it says, very politely is this: "At the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn."
This idea of getting back on track using a "U-turn" is not only clever, but is an extremely easy, lighthearted way to keep you from beating yourself up after cheating.
Attitude is everything!
Keep a positive attitude about your diet. Weight loss is a journey so don't let one mistake derail you. Keep your goals in mind, remember that nobody's perfect, and that giving up on yourself and your weight loss efforts will get you nowhere on your path to better health.
When a cheat occurs don't get depressed - just make a "U-turn" and get back on track. Even though the cheat may slow you down, don't let it put you in reverse! Remember the ultimate goal is a healthier you.
Lisa M. Davis, Ph.D., PA-C, C.N.S., L.D.N. is Director of Research and Development for Medifast. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Obesity Research, and she is currently the Director of Research and Development for the Medifast Program, a leading portion-controlled clinically proven weight loss program and co-author of the book, Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health. Click here for more information.
November 3, 2014
Healthy Weight Loss Solutions For Women
The most simple and effective weight loss solution that I've found for women is... eat like a kid again!
If you’re a mom, you more than likely provide your children with healthy meal options and make sure they eat regularly, right? Well, how about you get back to the basics and do the same for yourself?
Besides setting a good example for your children, you’ll eat balanced, portion controlled and healthy meals yourself, leading to better weight management.
Don’t worry, even if you’re not a mom, you can still use the tips below and get back to the simpler things in life!
Try a tip or two a week and you’ll be on your way to being a kid again – who said we can’t go back in time?!
Tricks of the Trade:
• Balance it.
Balanced meals that consist of healthy carbs, protein and a little fat will keep you satisfied longer and provide you with the nutrients your body needs. At every meal, include a whole grain, lean protein, healthy fat and something colorful (aka – fruit or veggie!).
You probably don’t give your kids free access to the cookie jar, right? Apply the same rules to yourself – allow yourself one small treat a day and enjoy.
• Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
This may be easier said than done, but this is something that you once mastered yourself. Get into the habit of slowing down and rating your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being starving and 5 being stuffed). Try to not let yourself get to a 1 or 5. This takes practice, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice – it’s time to back to intuitive eating!
• Sit down already!
Get away from the computer, desk or TV and sit down at the table and enjoy your meal. Families who eat together at the table eat healthier. An added bonus, you’ll slow down and master that intuitive eating we just talked about.
• Portion it.
A lot of kids I know freak out when their food touches (and some adults too!). This may seem silly, but you can use this to your advantage. Try packing your lunch in little containers or compartments – you can actually find them online by laptop lunches. These little wonders will work wonders for weight management by providing you with variety and portion controlled meals.
Give a try with the following examples.
Eating “Container Style”
Start with 4 or 5 little containers and fill them with different healthy foods. Include at least one whole grain, one protein, one fruit, one veggie and one “treat.” Here are a few examples:
• Compartment 1: Turkey sandwich on whole wheat with avocado, lettuce and tomato
• Compartment 2: Orange
• Compartment 3/4: Baby carrots with low-fat ranch dressing
• Compartment 5: 1 ounce dark chocolate
• Compartment 1: hummus
• Compartment 2: whole wheat pita bread slices
• Compartment 3: red bell pepper and cucumber slices
• Compartment 4: grapes
• Compartment 5: small oatmeal cookie
Cheese and Crackers:
• Compartment 1: low-fat cheese stick
• Compartment 2: whole wheat crackers and 2-3 ounces lean deli meal
• Compartment 3: cherry tomatoes and broccoli florets
• Compartment 4: light yogurt
• Compartment 5: trail mix with dried fruit and chocolate
Now it’s a family affair!
Shauna Schultz, RD, has the nutrition solutions for all your weight loss questions.
September 22, 2008
Don’t Let Fear Stall Your Weight Loss
Fear can paralyze us... preventing us from accomplishing our dreams.
And that includes our dream to lose the extra weight and live a happier, healthier lifestyle.
In this Diet.com exclusive, Dr. Santi Meunier has advice for overcoming our fear.
Don’t Let Fear Stall Your Dreams
We have all known fear. For some of us fear is a constant companion, the underlying force in our lives that keeps us feeling “stuck” or “safe” as the case may be. Sometimes it has saved us from entering into a dangerous situation.
Other times it may have prevented us from pursuing something that could have been a life-changing opportunity. Fear can keep us from boarding airplanes, from falling in love, from losing weight, and perhaps the saddest of all, from fulfilling our true purpose here in this lifetime.
Fear insinuates itself into our emotional fiber, so the more power we give to it the more it demands. It speaks to us constantly, a catastrophic song about one thing or another, and we continue to listen.
What is this thing “fear” that lords over us, calling the shots and robbing us of our peace of mind? Who or what is it that speaks? Is it us? Are we the voice of fear? It can certainly feel like that sometimes.
Before we can begin to free ourselves from the grip of fear and its negative effects, we need to understand the true nature of fear.
In the beginning, we were given instincts to help us survive. We had a heightened sense of our environment so that we could nourish ourselves and procreate. As time went on we became more dependent upon machines and technology for our quality of life and survival. As a result, our instincts and senses diminished and our mental processes strengthened.
As we became more and more identified with our minds as our source of supply and safety, our thoughts and emotions carried more weight. Fear shifted its focus from our instinctual nature to our emotional nature.
It is the imbalance of our emotions that create toxic levels of fear.
We strengthen what we focus on. The more attention we give to fear the stronger it gets. The key to overcoming the debilitating affects of fear is to bring our emotional, instinctual and spiritual natures into balance and harmony.
Thankfully, there is another way to experience life that leads to a new freedom and happiness If you are sick and tired of being afraid, here are 3 simple steps to begin to free yourself from fear.
• Identify the fear.
What am I afraid of and why? It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Write or speak your fear. Bring it out into the open-expose it.
Example: I am losing weight and I am afraid that I will sabotage my success. In the past I have always gained the weight back. I am afraid of failing again.
• Disassemble the fear.
Make a plan of action that is in direct opposition to your fear.
Instead of reacting to what we fear, form an action that is based on what we desire.
Example: I am losing weight. The food plan I am following is working. My past behavior does not have to determine my future unless I and I alone allow it to. I just have to be willing to stay on track today. The fear of failure is a projection. If I stay in the now I will be all right.
Are you willing to do whatever you have to do, just for today, to stay on track regardless of your fear?
If the answer is YES, congratulations, your freedom has begun. Go do it and see how your attitude about fear begins to change.
If the answer is NO, then we have to break the fear down into manageable parts until we reach the desired result.
1. Write an inventory of your dieting patterns over the last year highlighting your strengths and what you have accomplished as a result of them.
2. Review your weaknesses (food triggers, emotional danger zones and self-defeating patterns). Make a plan to minimize their affects or to overcome them.
If late-night eating is a trigger make a plan to call someone (a diet buddy) at that time each night. Don’t be alone with your craving. It is a set-up to fail. If you are an emotional eater than it is important to journal and share with someone you trust what is really “eating” you.
3. Pray for the courage and the commitment to have the healthiest and most beautiful body you are can, one day at a time. Don’t compare. Accept your body. It is the only one we have to carry us through our journey in this lifetime.
4. Keep a food diary. People who do have more success than people who don’t.
• Change your relationship to fear.
Why does fear have such a powerful hold over us?
It has power only if we give it power. You can withdraw it at anytime. Make a declaration that you are in charge of your life, not your fear. You may have fear, but you are not fear.
As creative beings we are constantly re-creating ourselves. Unfortunately, many people create what they fear instead of what they want. You do have a choice. When you change your relationship with fear from slave to master, your life begins to change. Action is the key. We must act on what we desire for our highest good and well-being regardless of how afraid we may be.
The more we take positive action, the less we fear.
We are always affirming something in our mind. Make a decision to affirm what you want instead of what you fear: “I do not have to repeat negative patterns from my past. I can be on my side today."
Fear does not have to dominate our lives. Take positive action regardless of how fearful you may be. Not only will your life improve and your fears lessen, but your reputation with yourself will soar.
OVERCOME YOUR FEAR! A great way to vanquish your fear of weight loss is to get a weight loss plan perfectly catered to your personal needs, click here and become a Diet.com Premium member today!
Dr. Santi Meunier is an author and speaker, recognized for her unique style and her ground-breaking strategies for personal and professional growth. Her program, Practical Spirituality for Fearless Living, has helped thousands to enrich their lives and realize their dreams. For more information visit www.SantiMeunier.com.
July 28, 2008