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Cheating On A Diet: Avoid The Tailspin!
by LisaDavisPhD

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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
by ShaunaS

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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!).

• Moderation!
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:

Gobble Gobble:
• 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

Go Greek:
• 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


Lose Weight And Eat Well... On $6 A Day!
by JohnMc

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Michael Ozner is a renowned cardiologist and a diet expert. In other words, he is a perfect fit for the audience of overweight men and women who are at risk of heart disease. Please see what he has to say about eating well and saving money during a time of rising weight and rising prices.

Special for
by Michael Ozner, M.D.

Government figures show that we're in the midst of the worst case of food inflation since the 1990s. During these tough economic times, it's possible to eat delicious home-cooked meals that not only save you a bundle of money, but help you live longer and lose up to 8 pounds a week!

It costs a lot less to eat three meals a day at home than to dine out -- even at cheap, fast-food restaurants. What's more, these scrumptious meals are satisfying, help you trim down without trying, and have been shown to prevent a host of illnesses and diseases. What's not to love?

Here are some daily menu ideas from my book, The Miami Mediterranean Diet, along with an approximate per-serving cost, to show how you can feed yourself all day long for less than one trip to a typical fast-food joint.

4 Breakfast Ideas
Oatmeal with raisins and almonds, $.25/serving
Wheat toast with chunky peanut butter and honey, $.25/serving
Cheesy Apple Raisin Cinnamon Omelet (p. 123), $.75/serving
Broccoli and Cheese Frittata (p. 128), $.80/serving
Serve any of the above with one fresh fruit (e.g., orange, apple, banana, pear), $.50/each

4 Sample Lunch Ideas
Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Soup (p. 91), $1.25/serving
Pizza Margherita (p. 109), $1.00/serving
Veggie Wrap (p. 215), $1.10/serving
Smoked Fish and Roasted Pepper Sandwich (p. 221), $1.00/serving
Serve any of the above with a vegetable salad or fruit salad, $.75/serving

4 Sample Dinner Entrees
Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce (p. 175), $2.25/serving
Shrimp in Spicy Black Bean Sauce (p. 178), $2.50/serving
Pasta with Red Clam Sauce (p. 170), $2.40/serving
Florentine Roasted Pork (p. 174), $2.50/serving

4 Sample Dinner Side Dishes
Greek Rice (p. 185), $1.35/serving
Broccoli with Fresh Garlic (p. 188), $1.25/serving
Sautéed Vegetables with Fresh Thyme (p. 199), $1.20/serving
Spicy Couscous (p. 198), $.90/serving

4 Sample Desserts
Yogurt Nut Cake (p. 236), $.75/serving
Sweet Mango Mousse (p. 237), $1.35/serving
Sweet Italian Rice Pudding (p. 240), $.85/serving
Crème de Banana Baked Apples (p. 241), $1.00/serving

Michael Ozner, MD, is a nationally known cardiologist and author of The Miami Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease (BenBella Books, 2008). He is medical director at the Center for Prevention and Wellness, Baptist Health South Florida, and medical director for the Cardiovascular Prevention Institute of South Florida. Find out more about him at

July 7, 2008


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