Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lazy Summer Diet Tips

Summertime and the dieting is lazy! That's right. The hot, humid days of mid-summer encourage us to take the easy route. And if you think dieting always has to be a challenge, you'll be happy to learn some of my favorite lazy dieting tips which will help you cut calories effortlessly. These simple suggestions can turn mindless eating into mindless losing. Adopt just a few of them and by the time you're ready for your fall wardrobe, you'll be that much closer to your goal weight.

Most of us eat too fast and our brain doesn't have time to register that we're full. So we keep eating! A simple trick to break out of this pattern is to put your knife and fork own three times during a meal. Stop. Take a breath. Join the conversation. You'll eat slower and you'll consume less.

Drink water with your meals. If you're eating in a restaurant, have the goal of three fill-ups in the course of the meal. If you're sipping water, you're not eating; You're getting closer to your daily water intake goal (see The Wall Street Diet, page 38 for tips on water drinking) and you're filling up on non-cal fluids rather than more fattening things.

Order two appetizers for dinner. This is a great, lazy way to a healthy, low-cal dinner. Skip the heavy entrees and go for two light, tasty appetizers instead. You'll cut calories and you'll keep pace with other diners who might be having an appetizer plus an entree. See The Wall Street Diet, page 129, for some recommended appetizer choices. A couple of good bets include fresh gazpacho, shrimp cocktail, caprese salad (mozzarella and tomato) or steamed mussels in white wine and garlic.

Wear fitted clothes. This is a great mindless way to keep your eating goals at the top of your 'to-do' list. Nothing says "eat light" like a pair of snug pants and/or a belt. It's a constant reminder that you don't ever want to feel stuffed and that eating light feels right.

Kill your cravings. If you're going out to eat or expect to have a nice dinner at home but you're hungry enough to eat a buffalo, put a lid on your appetite with a pre-dinner nibble. Many of my clients do this routinely and swear it's a lifesaver. Have two Fiber Rich crackers and a large drink of water about an hour or so before dinner. You'll be master of the menu as you order healthy selections and push the bread away.

Pop a breath strip. The taste of peppermint, or any mint, kills appetite. So enjoy a breath strip at any time during the day when you want to avoid a snack. If you're headed to an office birthday party, trying to fight late-night cravings or facing a breakfast buffet that's
a carb carnival, a breath strip can put the brakes on your mindless indulgence.

That was easy, right? Reaching your goal weight can be as simple as adopting some simple strategies that help keep you on track. You can find a host of these strategies in The Wall Street Diet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to Turn Snacks Into Your Secret Diet Weapon

Let's face it: the pothole in every dieter's road to success is hunger. We don't eat just because something tastes good: we eat because we're totally starving! That is why I want to convert you to the Wall Street Diet approach to snacks. Strategic snacking is one of the most effective weapons you have against a poor food choice or (shudder!) a binge. When you keep your hunger in check with an appropriate snack, you're making it much easier to stick to your healthy food choices. But there's a key word here - strategic. If you snack mindlessly (and sometimes stress or fatigue can promote mindless snacking) you'll be adding extra calories to your daily intake without accomplishing your goal of minimizing hunger.

Here are my top Strategic Snacking Tips (you'll find many more in my book, The Wall Street Diet).

Know yourself. Some of my clients have told me that strategic snacking has enabled them to lose weight that they've never been able to lose before. But other clients learn that they don't need snacks at all. How do you tell? It's simple: try going from lunch to dinner without a snack. If you find that you are able to make good choices at dinner and that you're not utterly starving, you probably don't need a snack. If, on the other hand, you're desperate to eat just about anything by the time 5pm rolls around, you are a good candidate for a mid-afternoon snack. I've got lots more details on how to figure out your eating style in The Wall Street Diet (pages 19 - 44). In general, most people who feel they need a snack do well to have a single mid-afternoon snack. People who require more calories because of size or activity level might also choose a mid-morning snack and/or an evening snack. Again, the key is to know yourself and limit your snacking to what's useful and strategic in helping you reach your goals.

Meet the Snacks. OK, so you know you really need a snack to help keep you on track. What do you choose? I have lots of snack recommendations in The Wall Street Diet but here's a condensed version:

If you need a mid-morning snack: Choose a light snack of no more than 80 calories. This might be an apple. 6 ounces of Dannon Light & Fit yogurt, one Laughing Cow Light cheese and a Fiber Rich cracker.

If you need an afternoon snack: The Wall Street Diet (pages 311 -312) includes a complete list of recommended afternoon snacks. They are all up to 200 calories. A few good choices include: a Larabar, a Luna bar, a Nature Valley Granola bar, a 1.3 oz bag of Glenny's Soy Crisps.

If you need an evening snack: An evening snack should be less than 80 calories and it should be eaten right after dinner. A few good choices include Tofutti pops, Edy's Fruit Bars, a frozen Dannon Light & Fit yogurt.

Watch your Weekends. Weekends can be a tough time to diet. You're off schedule. You're socializing and spending time with friends and family. Snacks can play a big role in helping your stick to your eating goals. I suggest you keep lots of healthy snacks on hand for weekends. It's better to over-indulge in a healthy snack than to lose control at a brunch buffet! Some good choices include all the snacks mentioned above a well as low-sodium V-8 juice with lemon over ice, sugar free hot chocolate, cut up cucumber or peppers, soy crisps and herbal teas. For more tips on weekend snacking, see The Wall Street Diet (pages 190-191).

Don't be a health-snack-nut. Have you noticed all those portion-controlled healthy snacks that fill the supermarket aisles these days? What could be wrong with a whole-grain, organic snack? Well, first there are the calories...Even portion controlled snacks can pile on calories. Many of my clients tell me that they find it impossible to stop at one little snack! Moreover, for many dieters, the practice is worse than the calories. Once you get accustomed to downing a nibble here and a bite there it can be a hard habit to break. So limit your snacks to my Wall Street Diet recommended choices and enjoy them strategically, not mindlessly!