Battling the bulge? Already slipping on your New Year’s resolution to lose those extra pounds? It could be that your problem isn’t WHAT you eat, but WHEN.
“Late Morning Slip-Up”
For those dieters who find themselves nibbling mid-morning on stale doughnuts left in the employee lounge, your problem could be what you didn’t eat earlier in the day. People who skip breakfast in an effort to cut calories inevitably eat more calories later in the day. It might sound counter-intuitive, but eat something even if you’re not hungry. I guarantee, for most people, it will help curb those temptations to snack later on. Of course, make it a healthy breakfast. You’re best bet is whole grain cereal, nonfat milk or soymilk, and a glass of OJ or a banana. If you must skip breakfast, be prepared for the inevitable blood-sugar nose dive by bringing healthful snacks, such as fruit, string cheese, yogurt, or nuts.
If you didn’t eat breakfast, then you’re likely to be starving by mid-day and lunch can be dangerous for a dieter. Even if you ate a good breakfast, but lunch is a social event, you can over-do it. People tend to eat more when they dine with friends. Ideally, bring your lunch with you and pack a nutritious one. If you are dining out, decide what you will order ahead of time and make it a la carte. Or, order a salad with dressing on the side and split an entree with a friend. Skip the rolls, tortilla chips, and other nibbles that can add 300 calories or more to your lunch. Order sparkling water and have a cup of coffee while others order dessert.
Mid-Day Give Up
Whether you are sitting in front of your computer at work or unloading the dishwasher at home, by mid-afternoon your energy level can drop, you’re bored or just need a pick-me-up and it is easy to turn to food for a lift. Try a non-food way of energizing yourself. Take a brisk walk around the block, jog up the stairs at work, go to the bathroom and splash water on your face, down a glass of ice water, or even sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. Any or all of those can help put a little lift in your day without adding pounds.
It’s early in the evening, you fix dinner for the kids, it looks good, and you eat. You also nibble the leftovers off the plates as you clean up the kitchen. Problem is your husband doesn’t get home for another two hours and you end up eating a second dinner with him, along with a glass of wine. I’ve seen this one numerous times. In one case, all Susan had to do to lose 20 pounds was spread her food intake evenly throughout the day and eat one dinner, not two. To keep away from the foods when your kids are eating, snack on baby carrots, chew gum, drink ice water, or make the kid’s dinner healthier so there are a few things you can eat, like the steamed string beans. Feed leftovers to the dog or throw them out rather than nibble on them yourself. Worse scenario, you eat two partial hot dogs, the rest of the tater tots off your child’s plate, and half a brownie. Then there is no reason to also have the chicken breast and salad two hours later.
Grazing After Work
One of the toughest times for dieters who work outside the home is when they first walk in the door. The day’s over, time to relax, you need something to help you transition from work to home, and so you head for the refrigerator. Food is the comforting way to settle in, to reward yourself. Your best bet is to recognize you need something to help you shift gears. Go for a quick, de-stressing walk or bike ride around the neighborhood with your spouse or kids. Take a shower or bath. If you must reach for food, be aware of what you are doing and allow yourself only low-calorie, moderate-portions of a few healthy snacks.