Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Goodbye Summer; Hello Skinny

Did you have a shocking morning? Did you try to zip up those back-to-work pants and find that a gruesome little bulge followed you home from vacation along with the sand in your shoes? There’s something about summer.... the margaritas, the lobster with drawn butter, the caftans. It’s all too easy to find that the relaxed days and long evenings encourage a bit less self-discipline. Some people can put on as much as ten pounds between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Really!

But don’t despair. My team of dietitians at Nu-Train and my book, The Wall Street Diet, can help you get back on track and into your skinny-jeans by Columbus Day.

Here’s what you have going in your favor: there’s a snap in the air and you’re more stimulated and focused. It’s back to business! So start your fall strong and get into your best shape ever. Here’s how: Take a look at your routine and your diet and see where you could use some improvement. Some quick tips are below:

Get back to Phase Eating
Phase Eating is a tip that I explain in detail in The Wall Street Diet (on page 30). Phase Eaters eat the same thing for breakfast and/or lunch for weeks on end. Why? Because for many people variety can prompt overeating. If a meal is simple and automatic - say yogurt and fruit or an egg-white omelet every day for breakfast; a chicken Caesar salad with light dressing for lunch - you won’t be tempted to overindulge. Phase Eating can work at dinner too when you can find a couple of frozen dinner entrees that you enjoy. When you get home after a long day of work, you can pop something into the micro and be enjoying your meal before you even have a chance to consider dialing out for Chinese or pasta. Phase Eating can help you shift your focus from food to family, work and activities and it’s a great technique for shedding excess summer weight.

Limit Alcohol
Many people drink more in the summer and they often drink more highly-caloric frozen type drinks. Many of my clients have had great success when they’ve skipped their alcohol, or limited themselves to one drink, when they’re trying to get back in shape after summer. Just skipping two glasses of wine daily can add up to 5.76 pounds lost in three months. Most people can do this without difficulty. Skipping alcohol can also help you boost energy levels and increase your focus and productivity at work. (For more detailed tips on skipping alcohol, see The Wall Street Diet, page 135.)

Change Up Your Exercise Routine
Have you been playing tennis? Jogging on the beach? Riding your bike? The change in weather could mean that these activities will no longer appeal. Or perhaps you’ve been going to the same exercise class at the gym for the past year. Or maybe you haven’t been exercising at all. Fall is a good time to re-assess your exercise goals. Maybe a session with a personal trainer or finding an exercise buddy or perhaps joining a gym for the first time will be the motivation you need to keep active into the winter months.

Streamline Your Fall Wardrobe
Nothing makes y ou feel better and more in control than looking good. Adding a few pieces to your fall wardrobe is a great way to reinforce your weight loss goals. But remember, wearing form-fitting clothes help to keep eating in check. Ban the leggings and loose dresses and look for things that hug your body. My clients frequently tell me that this tip is extremely helpful: when they’re well dressed in form-fitting clothes that flatter them, they’re much less likely to fall prey to the kind of mindless eating that can sneak on the pounds.