When you are trying to lose weight it can be easy fall off the diet wagon and slip back into patterns of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. Recently, CNN identified “The Moments That Make us Fat” which included your friends suggesting a buffet restaurant for dinner or finding tempting dessert options at a cocktail party.
According to James Hill, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, it can be dangerous to rely on your willpower to carry you through difficult diet situations.
“Willpower is not inexhaustible,” Hill told CNN.com. “You only have a certain amount of it, and it’s gone.”
Instead of relying on willpower, Hill recommends planning ahead. Identify the situations that tempt you to veer away from your healthy habits and plan strategies to keep yourself on track.
Diet Pitfall: Vacation.
When you’re on vacation, you want to kick back and relax, sipping cocktails by the pool and indulging in the regional cuisine of the town you’re visiting. Motivating yourself to exercise can be an exercise in futility. Instead of trying to deprive yourself, which will result in a mid-trip binge, enjoy local foods and beverages, but in moderation. Avoid a nutrition vacation by practicing portion control and moderation – instead of wine and dessert, choose one or the other. You can also get plenty of exercise on vacation without feeling like it’s a chore.
Diet Pitfall: After a break-up
Instead of seeking refuge in your favorite fattening comfort foods, get some exercise. The endorphins released during your workout will make you feel better and choosing a group activity, like a 5K or a fitness class, might help you meet new people and socialize.
Diet Pitfall: A party with fabulous food
Parties can be disastrous to your diet but even when you’re at a glamorous get-together full of delicious food and drink, you can have your party feast and eat it too. Have a small, healthy snack before you head to a party so you aren’t starving when you arrive. You should also limit your alcohol consumption – not only does alcohol have its own calories, but it will lower your inhibitions and you’ll feel less guilty about snagging a second piece of chocolate cake.
When indulging in your favorite prime time TV line-up, it can be tempting to reach for a bowl of ice cream or salty snacks. Instead of snacking when you aren’t even hungry, beat mindless eating by being more aware of when you’re hungry and what you’re craving. If you absolutely must snack, fill your bowl with fresh fruit, veggies or low-fat yogurt.
Diet Pitfall: A Buffet
Whether you’re at a restaurant or in someone’s home, buffets offer limitless amounts of food and a lot of temptation. Instead of loading up on seconds and thirds, limit yourself to one plate of food and make sure at least half of it is filled with fruits and vegetables. If you feel tempted to get that second helping, drink a large glass of water and wait at least twenty minutes to see if you’re really hungry for more.