You know those pounds you accumulate when your life gets so busy that “air traffic controller” seems like a laid-back job. You’re not just MOM- you’re chauffeur, waitress, counselor, cook, homework assistant and a thousand other things. And that’s before you put on your fancy pants for the job that comes with an official paycheck.
It’s hard to pay attention to what you eat when your main form of exercise is running errands. So you eat whatever, whenever, and overtime, that can add up to major pounds. Here are some simple solutions to a busy mom’s diet dilemmas.
7am- You get up early to make sure your kids have a nourishing breakfast, but while they’re eating, you’re making their lunches or getting ready for work, so you skip breakfast yourself. Solution: If you had dinner at 7pm, you’ve been fasting for over 10 hours. Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that people who do snack more, and end up eating more calories later in the day. If you pick at your kids’ waffle crusts, make yourself a breakfast to eat at the same time they are eating theirs. You are hungry, so have breakfast. A real one.
10am- The no-breakfast start to the day is now catching up with you. You’re so hungry, you down a 300-calorie muffin with your jolt of joe from the coffee shop. Solution: You’ve had a blood sugar crash, and while the muffin will boost your energy and the coffee will perk you up, it’s all temporary. When the coffee and sugar wears off, you’ll have less energy than where you started. So, lick the muffin crumbs from your fingers and make a pact to eat a better breakfast from now on. But, for those crazy mornings when you slip up, pack up some backup. Brown bag your breakfast with peanut butter and jelly or turkey on a low-cal wrap, throw a 100 calorie nut bag in your purse, eat a Greek yogurt, or get a skinny latte to at least get a little protein from the milk.
3:30pm- The kids are coming home from school or getting into the car for activities and want a snack. You do, too! Solution: You’re probably experiencing your post-lunch dip around now. And suddenly, those processed, orange Cheetos look so good. Schedule a daily snack that combines fiber and protein for a lift to get you through to dinner and keep you from over-indulging in whatever the kiddies are having. If the kids love “bad boyfriend” foods at this time of day make sure you serve it to them in single serve packages to limit your involvement with them. If your kids are old enough to make their own snacks, move out of the kitchen at this time. The more time we spend in the kitchen, the more calories that go on our hips!
5:30pm- It’s BLT time (as in bites, licks and tastes)! You’re hungry while making dinner, so you’re sampling everything. But that doesn’t stop you from loading up your plate when the meal’s ready. So, if we’re counting, you now have the calorie equivalent of two dinners.
Solution: Use peppermint gum (the flavor makes your mouth feel fresh!) as an appetizer. It keeps your mouth occupied from mindless BLT’s. Also, make your veggies first so if you do pick, you have those on hand while preparing the rest of the meal. Finally, make a plate and only eat food off of it!
7pm- Your kids leave scrapes on their plate, and you eat them as you’re cleaning up from dinner. Solution: Make a vow that you are not the human garbage can. To help in this endeavor, make it a rule that your kids must scrape their plates when they are finished into the actual garbage can (or compost bin). This not only removes temptation, but it also eliminates a household job that has been falling to you!
10pm- Finally, a little time to yourself. So, you dish out some ice cream (or just eat from the container), and grab the chip bag and curl up to watch some reality TV. Solution: Schedule a time for an evening snack (about 100 calories, no more!), and then that’s it. I call this “one and done”. Close the kitchen after that. If your TV room is attached to your kitchen, change your location ( try watching TV in your bedroom, especially if you don’t eat in there). And make a cut off time as to when the day’s eating is done. Maybe even try to get your zzz’s a little earlier. Don’t worry; tomorrow morning will be here before you know it. And you’ll be ready with that diet-smart breakfast.
Food doesn’t have to rule your life. Finally, you can learn to rule food.
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I’m Lyssa Weiss, M.S., R.D, Nutritionist, Weight Loss Specialist, and best selling author of The Skinny Jeans Diet. I specialize in emotional and compulsive eating, teaching women who have been on every diet imaginable that weight loss has little to do with calories, and everything to do with strategies. Weight isn’t the problem for most dieters. It is a symptom; a symptom of being out of control with food. What you put in your mouth is secondary to what you put in your head, I’ll teach you how to live thin, forever, with a brand new script for living and thriving in the world of food. My motto is, “get smart to get skinny!”.
I wrote The Skinny Jeans Diet to empower others with the knowledge I gained to combat my emotional eating, compulsive eating and painful relationship with food, but once the book was published I realized I was ignoring a huge flaw in my new diet plan: what needs to happen AFTER.
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Skinny Jeans Get Smart & Skinny
Access to my private Facebook group Skinny Jeans Get Smart & Skinny.
When you are counting calories, weighing and measuring your food, eating monotonously and keeping bad boyfriend foods out of your kitchen, you are beyond bummed when you see the scale inch upward even a little.
But if you’ve been dieting for even a few weeks, you’ve likely started to notice that fluctuations on the scale are common. And I get how frustrating that is to see when you’re working hard to get into your white jeans in time for summer! As I tell my clients who are watching the scale like a hawk when they come for their weekly weigh in, “remember, I catch you at a moment in time”… and these are 7 things that can make that moment feel like a real buzzkill. But keep calm and diet on: weight changes from one day to the next are generally temporary if you are truly dieting (as opposed to “watching”).
You Drank A Ton Of 0-Calorie Beverages
It’s true that staying well hydrated is a good move if you’re trying to lose weight, but the first few days of upping your water intake could actually cause the number on the scale to creep up, too. Weight is not just the measurement of fat in the body. It is the weight of your bones, organs, muscles, fluid and waste. When you’re dehydrated, you actually weigh less! Let’s say you don’t drink much fluid one day, and the next morning you wake up and your weight is down. Then you drink a ton of water and the next day it looks like you gained 2 pounds. That does not mean you gained 2 pounds of fat; it just means that your body was depleted of water the day before. Your kidneys will eventually flush out all that water. Just be patient.
You Ate More Salt Than Usual
It’s no secret that certain types of foods can affect your weight, and sodium (aka salt) is one that can have an immediate (although temporary) impact. Costco rotisserie chicken (I gained 2 lbs. once after eating it!), miso soup, soy sauce, processed meats (even low calorie ones), many cereals, veggie burgers, cottage cheese, soups, frozen breakfast sandwiches (even the diet friendly ones), fried foods (which you really shouldn’t be eating much of if you are actually dieting), have high amounts of salt, which causes you to retain water in your gut. This results in a bloated belly and a higher number on the scale. The good news? Water weight is always temporary and goes away within a day or two.
You Strength Trained Yesterday
And lifted heavy. Really heavy. Lifting weights can speed your progress in the long run, but it can also temporarily cause your weight to appear higher. I’ve had so many clients tell me they had a ‘perfect’ day: They packed their lunch, made dinner at home, came in at their calorie level for weight loss, and had a really killer workout with their trainer. Of course they get up in the morning expecting the scale to ‘reward’ them for a day well done. When they see the scale go up instead of down, they understandably get bummed out. But here’s the thing: Intense exercise causes inflammation. In this case, inflammation is actually a good thing. When you are in the gym lifting weights, you are creating tiny little tears in your muscle fibers. When those fibers build back up, that’s what causes a change in body shape, tone, additional muscle and an increased metabolic rate. Your body takes on more water to help with temporary muscle repair, and that can translate to a higher number on the scale in the very short term.
You Ate More Carbs Than Usual
While carbohydrates are not the enemy of weight loss (eating too many calories is), eating an unusual amount of them over the course of one day or even a few days can make it seem like you’ve gained weight. Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that holds water (fat and protein are the other two macronutrients). This is why people lose weight faster initially on a lower-carbohydrate diet: the body doesn’t hold onto the extra water. It’s also why people gain weight quickly when they eventually go off that lower-carbohydrate diet: that water weight comes back and the scale bounces up!
You Haven’t Gone To The Bathroom In A Few Days
No need to get into the nitty gritty here, but if you’re constipated, you’ll see that reflected on the scale. Waste weighs.
Your Monthly Visitor Is About To Come
Most women know their weight can be affected by their menstrual cycle, but some are surprised just how much weight they can temporarily gain because of their hormones. Two to three days prior to your period, you may experience weight gain due to water retention. The average woman will gain about two to four pounds in water weight during this time. No need to panic though; you’ll drop down to your normal weight once you actually start to menstruate. Period.
Maybe you’re bored. Maybe you’re stressed out of your mind. Maybe you had a blow up with your husband over the Visa bill (am I the only one?), mother-in-law, or kids. Maybe you had possibly the worst day at work, ever.
The reason is unimportant.
I’m willing to bet there isn’t a dieter alive who hasn’t fallen victim to mood eating. I know I’ve been victimized so many times I stopped counting. This is why I refer to mood eating as the “big white elephant in the room.”
Mood or emotional eating is the #1 most common issue I see with clients, and a leading cause of diet failure, but never does it have anything to do with food. Rather than feel our uncomfortable feelings or emotions, or find a constructive outlet for our boredom, most of us would rather hide in a dish of ice cream, a bag of potato chips, or a slice of pizza.
Bottom line: Mood eating is about seeking comfort in all the wrong places when “emotional” hunger strikes.
YOU KNOW IT WHEN YOU EAT IT: MOOD EATING DEFINED
Mood eating is all about immediacy. It’s not about finding what tastes unbelievable, but rather what can be quickly and easily popped into our mouths. Mood foods are designed for instant gratification.
But judgment does come. Not from your BFF or even your spouse. Judgment comes from your pants.
Mood eating calories add up quickly, often without notice. The temporary reward we receive from a cookie, a handful of chips, or bite-sized chocolates is soon replaced by extra pounds, a larger clothing size, and tons of self-loathing and remorse.
WHERE MOOD COMES FROM
Often I’m asked where mood eating originates. For sure, there’s a definite, reasonably consistent connection between negative emotions and high calorie foods. After 20 years and hundreds of clients, I still haven’t seen a SINGLE mood eater reach for an apple, or kale salad. Once in the mood, people’s hands ALWAYS reach for the cookie jar, the candy bag, or the ‘kids’ snack drawer.
HOW TO STOP IT
One of the things I love about my work is that there’s a solution for every problem, even for mood eating. Below are SIX favorite strategies for avoiding the food-mood trap.
AWARENESS IS KEY—Awareness is the first step to overcoming emotional eating. It may seem obvious, but many mood eaters don’t even recognize when they’re eating out of anger or boredom. In all likelihood, this is a behavior that started in childhood and has been reinforced over time. The source isn’t as important as knowing the difference between eating when you’re hungry or angry. And here’s the cool thing- you don’t need to fix it. You just need to be aware of it. To name what you are feeling in the moment.
DON’T BRING YOUR MOOD FOODS INTO YOUR HOUSE—Stop bringing those mood foods home. Seriously, this is a top strategy to end emotional eating. You can’t eat what’s not there. Remember, mood eaters want convenience and immediacy. They’re interested in foods that can be popped into their mouths quickly and easily; they’re not going to sit down to a four-course gourmet meal or spend hours preparing an elaborate dessert. Protecting your home environment is a key step to putting an end to emotional eating. It’s that simple.
DON’T GO HUNGRY—You’re less likely to reach for a mood food or other bad boyfriend, if you’re not hungry. Along with your regular meals, pencil in two or three snacks of no more than 150 calories each. Many dieters find that light midafternoon snacks help stave off hunger. Just make sure your choice of snack isn’t a bad boyfriend. And don’t worry if you feel the need to have one of these snacks late at night. Though some ‘expert’s may tell that eating at night is worse for your waistline, calories consumed after dark are no more detrimental to your weight than those eaten during the day. Calories are calories. It doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters is the number of calories you consume!
CLOSE THE KITCHEN—Your kitchen isn’t a 24-hour diner. Set a time when you’re going to clean up, turn off the lights, and announce that the kitchen is closed for business. I have a client who shuts down her kitchen every night at 8:00 P.M. without fail. If her husband happens to come home late from work and hasn’t eaten dinner, he knows he has to pick up his own dinner. My client tells him, “Hi, honey, you are on your own.” Remember, a lot of mood eating takes place at night; so the earlier you do this the skinnier you’re going to be.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY—Every girl needs a little black book or two. A Personal food record is vital to staying organized and on top of their game. You can’t undo what you’ve done, but you can certainly shift your perspective. If you blow it one day, consider why that happened. My clients find that keeping a record of their daily food intake or writing down a detailed food plan helps them stay on track, whether they’re trying to lose weight or maintain their weight and activity levels.
HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE SOOTHING ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY—Find an activity you enjoy that truly soothes you. But it must be quick, easy and accessible, the way the carton of Edy’s Light ice cream is. I love to watch Bravo TV, read a book with a gripping story, or online shop (I don’t even press the buy button half the time. Remember, the Visa bill battle from the intro). Anything that will distract you until you’ve gone from a 10 on the “need to numb out scale” to around a 7.
Ok, ladies, time for a reality check. And please remember I am just the messenger. Your mostly fabulous LIFE WON’T ALWAYS BE FABULOUS. IN FACT, IT’S GOING TO SUCK sometimes. Uncomfortable emotions, vexing problems, and untenable situations are a part of the human condition—we must get used to them. They’ll be there whether you’re living on carrot sticks and kale or drowning your sorrows in a vat of Oreos. You can handle life’s challenges fat, or you can handle them thin. I’ve done both, and I can say with confidence that thin is better. You run your household, small business and children’s schedules. Food shouldn’t get in the way of all you need to do.
How long are you going to let a cookie be your boss, judge, savior, or executioner?
The fancy diplomas lining my office wall may say that I am a nutritionist and R.D., but more important to my ability to help you is the fact that I am you. I’ve been where you are. I’ve journeyed to diet hell and lived to tell the tale.
The Skinny Jeans Diet is about how I broke the diet system. How I figured it out and started talking. I have a story to tell. So do the hundreds of women I’ve helped who are just like me.
“When I eat, all feelings get blocked. I go to never-never land. Nothing else matters. It’s like I’m a different person. It’s very humiliating- but not then, not while I’m eating. While I’m eating, nothing else matters”.
“Every day I wake up and say I am going to be “good” today. Usually I make it to just before dinner, but the evenings are always the worst. I’ve been doing this for years- starting out “good” and then blowing it every night. Do you know how this makes me feel? I feel like something crazy is happening to me. Am I going to spend the rest of my life doing this dance with food”?
“I would die if people knew. If they even thought for one moment that I wasn’t this perfect, well-tuned machine. I can’t let anyone see how desperate and needy I get. The food is the perfect escape”.
Forget willpower and perfect nutrition. It isn’t going to happen. Don’t you think you’ve spent enough time trying? Let’s get on with something that does work, requires much less effort, and will get you into your pants: Changing your THINKING.
Give it a chance, see what happens. When it clicks, you are in. I’ve seen the light go on in so many women’s eyes. That’s it. They get it. The overeating and emotional eating stops in their lives, and they start to finally master their relationship with food.
I would have done anything (and I mean anything) to look and feel better. To be skinny. If there was a diet on earth that worked, I would have found it. You would have found it. The Skinny Jeans Diet Course is the solution to the problem that faces millions of us: hating the way we look and feel, never-ending diet jumping, self esteem beatings that we live with everyday of our lives.
You can continue eating the way you’re eating. Getting fatter. Feeling awful. Don’t do that. You’ve had enough. It hurts. This is a course for any woman who wants to break free of their destructive and demoralizing relationship with food, and finally lose the weight. It’s self-empowerment for ending the dangerous and disheartening cycle of yo-yo dieting, compulsive overeating and emotional eating. Isn’t it time?
No, I don’t mean slipped and landed unceremoniously on your tush because you were fumbling for your keys while trying to juggle a double Starbucks’ Mocha Latte.
I mean, fell hard. Come on, girls. You know what I’m talking about.
Maybe you were waiting on line at the supermarket or groaning as your calves burned after another Soul Cycle class. It doesn’t matter.
He’s there, just a few feet from you, and he’s gorgeous.
You stare, fixated on his perfect jawline, impossibly high cheekbones, and Richard Gere hair through which you’ve already pictured yourself running your fingers.
Suddenly, he ambles over. Your heart sinks in your chest; you wipe the sweat from your brow and check yourself for BO. You open your mouth, but nothing comes out. No biggie. You hit it off instantly. Yep, this is the guy for you. Already, you’re picturing the white picket fence and 2.5 kids. You go on a few dates, and everything seems great.
But here’s the problem. After date #4, you discover a few unsavory “details” about Mr. Right. He’s rude to the wait staff at restaurants; he always “forgets” his wallet; he doesn’t like your friends; the word “commitment” causes him to break out in hives.
Your BFFs tell you to pull the plug. Your family hates him. You see the handwriting on the wall, and the money leaving your bank account. You know he’s 100 percent wrong for you. But you can’t stay away. Every time you feel like leaving, he pulls you back in. You’re hooked. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to make a clean break (and deep down, you don’t want to).
I bet you have foods like this. Cookies, guacamole, pasta, candy, potato chips—you try your best, but you can’t seem to resist them. These foods are your bad boyfriends. They’ve been making you miserable and fat forever. But like clockwork, you return to them every time. Friends, family, even our doctors tell us to stop, but we ignore their pleas. They soothe us; they comfort us when we’re feeling down. They’re even better than sex—they bring us immediate gratification and require little foreplay.
And after we finish with them, we feel awful and fat. We beat ourselves up. Does, “I’m never doing that again,” sound like a familiar rallying cry? HELLO? How’d that work out? Bet you returned to your bad boyfriend foods every time. If the opposite were true, you wouldn’t be reading this email.
CAN YOU TURN HIM DOWN?
So, what do you do about your bad boyfriend foods? Do you keep giving in, while packing on the shame, guilt, and pounds?
If it’s a bad boyfriend, the answer is almost certainly a “YES.”
But here’s the good news. With the right strategies, you can overcome temptation, restore sanity to your life, and wash those naughty men out of your life and off your waistline.
BREAKING THE BAD BOYFRIEND HABIT
I know you can do it but breaking the bad boyfriend food habit isn’t easy. These men have ruled your life for years. They’re not going to give up control willingly. You’re going to have to take the control back.
How do you do this?
It starts with an HONEST INVENTORY. YOU MUST TAKE AN HONEST INVENTORY OF YOUR BAD BOYFRIEND FOODS and know that these foods can’t (or shouldn’t) be a part of your everyday life. If you’ve had an ongoing, lifelong drama with bite-sized cookies, this is probably not the best food for you. Look at your pattern with bite-sized cookies. Have you always overeaten them? Have they always caused you to lose control? Have you ever been able to stop at one? If you answered “yes,” “yes,” and “no,” to these questions, then you probably have your answer. Please don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can have just a little of a morsel of food that has always caused you to lose control.
Looking at the foods that do and don’t work for us is NEVER easy. This isn’t a matter of simply locating the most nutritionally sound foods. Nutrition knowledge doesn’t magically make us thinner. I mean, ladies, we all know that an apple is better for our health than a plate of French fries. No, this about identifying the foods that do and don’t work for you and your life.
Below are my six favorite tips for finally breaking the bad boyfriend food habit.
TIP 1. KNOW WHO YOUR BAD BOYFRIENDS ARE. Weighing protein, tracking points, and counting calories won’t do you much good if you don’t take a long hard look at which foods work for you and which work against you. I’m not just talking about changing your weight or clothing size. Weight is a symptom of a much larger issue. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to change the thinking and behavior that got you into trouble in the first place. And get rid of the idea that you and your ex can be ‘friends.” Your bad boyfriend is a compulsion; otherwise, you would have ditched him the first time he asked to borrow money or cheated on you. Food that causes you to lose control of your eating is going to do what it’s always done and give you the results you’ve always gotten: extra pounds, extra inches, and a first class ticket to a larger pants size.
TIP 2. FACE WHAT HAVING A BAD BOYFRIEND MEANS. Since the food isn’t going to change, you must. If you don’t come face to face with the reality of how you act around the foods that cause you to lose control, you will never reach your ideal weight. If gummy candies are your bad boyfriend food, there’s almost ZERO chance you’re going to be able to control yourself around them. Stop testing yourself to see whether you can handle the risk of being around these foods. You can’t, and you’ll keep failing. But, does breaking the bad boyfriend habit means that you’ll never find true love again? Of course, it doesn’t. But you will have to be smart about where, when and how you consume foods on the bad boyfriend list. And I can teach you how.
TIP 3. OMG, PLEASE DON’T MAKE EXCUSES. Most of us have been socialized to treat food as a reward or a treat. “But it looks so good,” we say. Or, “It’s a special occasion,” “I had a bad day,” “It’s for the kids,” or “I cooked it, so I have to eat it.” Food isn’t comforting after ten rounds with your spouse or a reward after a hellish week at work. This approach ALWAYS, and do mean ALWAYS, leads to failure. And you know what people say about excuses.
TIP 4. STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZE YOUR FOOD ENVIRONMENT. Like changing the pin # on your bank card, or putting parental controls on the TV, structuring and organizing your food environment is vital for limiting the power of a bad boyfriend. Scheduling your meals and snacks and finding a regular time to watch TV or even run errands can help structure your food environment. Also, plan your meals. It may seem tedious, but know in advance what you’re having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks. Don’t go into food situations unprepared. You don’t want to be scrambling when you’re starving! Planning helps you resist temptation, especially the lure of a bad boyfriend.
TIP 5: GUARD YOUR FOOD ENVIRONMENT. You know what people say: out of sight, out of mind! Do everything you can to keep your bad boyfriend out of your house, especially your kitchen. Unless it’s for a special occasion and you feel confident that you can control your eating, avoid tempting food establishments such as ice cream stores or the corner bakery. Why set yourself up for failure? You have to make a concerted effort to avoid the bad boyfriend drama. In other words, use your head!
TIP 6: LEARN FROM YOUR PAST. All dieters must come to terms with their past attempts to control their weight, which probably included a fair share of disasters. You can look at your previous efforts as a failure, or you can learn from your mistakes. A child who’s potty training seldom succeeds on the first go-round. There are going to be a lot of misses and messes. Losing weight is no different. Expect setbacks and anticipate failure. They’re normal. But with each attempt, look at what works and what doesn’t. The only way you ever really blow it is by not learning something from experience. Yeah, mistakes are obstacles. But obstacles are opportunities. Make the most of them.
Believe me, this works. I am living proof. I’ve had my heart—and belt buckle—broken more times than I care to remember. But guess what? I’ve been in a long-term monogamous relationship with MR. SKINNY for 23 years. Nothing feels better than slipping on a pair of skinny jeans, and that includes a box of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.
It’s that time of year again: those adorable little Girl Scouts are starting to be seen all around, and their colorful cookie boxes are showing up on every street corner, at your office–or maybe even your front door!
Sure, Girl Scout cookies aren’t the healthiest snacks around, but sometimes you do decide that there’s no way to avoid indulging in these seasonal, nostalgic treats
If you’re like me, you probably want to eat the most cookies you can for the least amount of calories, right? So which Girl Scout cookies will give you the biggest bang for your calorie buck?
Savannah Smiles is the winner! You can indulge in five cookies for a reasonable 150 calories. Runner Up: Trefoils cookies at 5 cookies for 160 calories.
All Girl Scout cookies have fewer than 200 calories per serving. Thus, the most pressing question to ask yourself when you see those sweet eyes looking up at you to see if you’ll buy a box isn’t how many calories for how many cookies, it’s how many cookies are you likely to eat?
The 3 Bite Rule is pretty simple if you can put it into practice. I didn’t invent it, but I am grateful for the eating behaviorist that did! Simply stated, The 3 Bite Rule is a strategy to enjoy your favorite “bad boyfriend” foods out of the house by taking three bites, and then stopping. Note: I find it works best if the portion is already small at the get-go, and if you have dining companions who are good sharers!
Back to the 3 Bite Rule. It is simply:
When faced with bad boyfriend foods outside the house, eat three bites and then stop. Not too hard, right?
Why does it work?
Three bites of ice cream or pizza or a bacon cheeseburger never made anyone fat. Three bites of cheesecake, three French fries or three M&M’s is not the cause of the obesity epidemic. Now entire portions of those foods on a regular basis would certainly have the scale moving in the wrong direction, since it is an overall calorie surplus that packs on the pounds. With the 3 Bite Rule you get 100% of the enjoyment, and 5% of the guilt (let’s face it, there’s a little). Studies show the first taste of a food is the most pleasurable. The second is still pretty awesome. But then the pleasure factor starts declining. And after the third bite, it’s really just eating.
The 3 Bite Rule in practice:
Imagine you are dining at a fine restaurant with friends and have enjoyed a reasonably low calorie meal of grilled salmon, steamed veggies and salad with dressing on the side. Suddenly some thin chick at the table decides to order dessert. You see chocolate lava cake on the menu and your heart sinks. No need to be depressed! Order that lava cake for the table!
The trick is to eat just three bites of chocolate, fudgy goodness and then stop. Either give the rest of your dessert to someone at the table. Pour salt on it. Or just ask the waiter to take it away before it damages your waistline, and you start the whole disheartening and demoralizing “why did I just eat ALL of that” routine that keeps you up at night.
The 3 Bite Rule also works well at buffets or potluck parties. There may be a large variety of dishes to try, which normally sends dieters like me into a panic. No worries! Just have three bites of each. Can this rule be taken to extremes and abused? Absolutely. We are adults here, so if you follow the letter of the law but break the spirit of the law you are only hurting yourself. In other words, three bites of 100 different foods could be a slight problem. Just use your good judgment.
Dine like you’re a food critic. Or a celebrity chef on the Today show. Eat slowly, and chew thoroughly. So, let’s repeat:
Eat your three bites.
Enjoy each one like crazy.
And then put down the fork and get that bad boy out of your sight and reach ASAP.
Remember, the first 3 bites taste the best. After that, it’s just eating.
Are you a healthy eater but the weight isn’t budging? Maybe it’s time to look at your old habits in this New Year. Here are eight common mistakes I see my clients, friends and even myself (sometimes) making.
Your Portions Are Too Big
Trade in your dinner plate for a salad sized plate. The bigger your plate, the more calories you’ll eat. If you eat off a smaller plate, your can reduce your intake anywhere from 20% to 40%, plus your meal will look bigger. Use pre-measured serving bowls. A 16 oz. box of spaghetti should serve 16 people. If it doesn’t feed that many people in your house, you are not alone. To cut back, use a 1-cup serving bowl to eat out of. This way you will know how much you are eating.
You Eat Your Kids Scrapes
Those BLT’s (bites, licks and tastes) add up fast! And just 100 extra calories a day can be the difference between weight loss and weight maintenance. Make it a new rule: When kids are done eating, they must take their plates to the kitchen and scrape leftover food into a container that gets dumped into the trash or compost bin. This not only eliminates temptation, but also eliminates a chore that has likely been falling to you!
You Eat In Front Of The TV Late Night
Put a lid on your nighttime snacking. Have a defined end point to your evening eating. It can be a time (8pm), a final snack/cup of caffeine free tea, brushing your teeth or turning off the lights in the kitchen. It’s a signal to get out of the kitchen and to start getting ready for bed. You’ll end your day’s diet on a good note and be ready to start tomorrow on a diet positive one, too!
You Binge On The Weekend
During the week, your diet is on track. However, come the weekend, all discretion flies out the window. French fries are a vegetable, right? Guacamole and corn chips are vegan, right? Red wine is good for you, right? Before you know it, you’ve given back all the calories you cut during the week in 48 hours. And one splurge meal can take 2 days of dieting to take off.
You Oil Up Your Food
If your food looks like an oil spill occurred on it, you are adding hundreds of extra calories to your meal. Just one tablespoon of oil is 120 calories. Douse your steamed broccoli with a quick “splash” of olive oil and you can easily add two tablespoons of oil- that translates into 240 calories! To save calories and fat, pick up an oil mister, sprayer or zero calorie oil cooking spray. Spritz your food to give it some zip and taste without the extra calories.
You Don’t Keep Track Of What You Are Eating
Thanks to multi- tasking, grabbing food on the go, and munching in the carpool line, we often barely register what we’ve eaten. Even if you do pay attention, most people low ball calories by about 10%. The simple solution is to get a reality check of how many calories you consume by keeping a food diary. It may be one of the best predictors of whether you will lose weight as it doesn’t just aid weight loss, it turbo charges it!
You Eat With Your Eyes
Those warehouse clubs may be a bargain for your wallet, but they are no bargain for your waistline. If food is in sight, we eat it. Buy individual portions and order the smallest portion of everything. If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the 6-inch sandwich. Buy small popcorn, a kid’s meal, or a cupcake. We eat what’s in front of us, even though we feel just as full on less.
Your Kitchen Is Dirty
People eat what’s easiest to access and what they can see. Keep your kitchen clean. Don’t buy tempting foods to keep in the house. If you don’t buy chips, you can’t eat them. Conceal junk food. Keep tempting foods in opaque containers on high shelves in your pantry, not in full view or easy reach. Food manufacturers know how to lure you in. Red and yellow colors increase your appetite and entice you to eat more. The color blue has a calming effect and is an appetite suppressant.
The Week Resolutions Die: It’s this week. The third week in January. Our resolve starts to fade. Today, recommit to one mini food goal- eat half your plate in veggies at dinner, close the kitchen at 8pm, eat only 5oz of protein at dinner, not 8oz (ok- that’s mine), or end your affair with a bad boyfriend food for the time being! (See ya, Frosted Shredded Wheat!).
Need some motivation, keep reading!
The End of an Affair
Why do we hang in with these “bad boyfriend” foods even when every fiber of our being, not to mention our scales and waistlines, tells us they aren’t the right fit?
Just like our real-life bad boyfriends, we enter into these relationships with heavy expectations. We spend countless hours and a lot of energy thinking about how we can work them into our lives. Like the handsome Lothario we make excuses for, or the multiple offender who showers us with blinding bling, certain foods make us do everything possible to make them a good match. How many times have your caught yourself saying, “It’s okay. I’ll have just a bite of cake or a handful of tortilla chips”?
In fact, this wouldn’t be a problem at all if you could limit yourself to a single bite or handful. In the clear light of day, if you look at all of the time, energy, money, and aggravation your bad boyfriend food has cost you, then you’ll soon come to the realization that this is a relationship that just won’t work. It’s a moment’s pleasure for a lifetime of misery. Honestly, is there a food worth eating that constantly causes you to feel out of control, makes you do ad things, and damages your self-esteem?
It’s time to grow up in the world of food. With the right strategies, nearly anyone can muster the strength and courage needed to say “good riddance” to a bad boyfriend food. Just like our romantic relationships, a healthy food relationship should be based on self-love and acceptance. It should fuel our self-esteem and allow us to thrive and feel happy.
Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better”. The better you know the foods that work for you and the foods that work against you, the sooner you can stop obsessing and start living thin in the world of food. A healthy relationship with food doesn’t have to involve sacrifice and denial. However, it does involve knowing the right strategies, tips and food swaps so that food doesn’t rule you. You are the queen of your castle, and you will rule the food.