Vacation and Weight Loss: Diet Danger (cont.)
''Most families offer loving environments, so when it comes to dinners, your relatives who make the dish want to make sure you enjoy it to the fullest extent, so they'll encourage you to keep eating,'' says Hall. ''We eat because people are telling us to. We also have this idea, that most of us have grown up with, that we have to clean our plates, which isn't necessarily a good message.''
Coping Strategies: Be polite but stand your ground, even with family members.
''You have to nicely say, when someone is offering you something for the third time, 'Oh Auntie Sophie, I absolutely love your mashed potatoes, but I can't eat another bite,' and be firm about it,'' says Mitchell.
Also, remember not to bite off more than you can chew.
''We had this big family reunion and there were people there we hadn't seen in a long time, and everyone wanted you to try just a little bit, which was tough,'' says Neuman. ''I made sure if I tried something, it was just a tiny bit -- not a normal portion size -- just to make them happy. So I focused on the salads and drank plenty of water. The good news was, I was the center of attention because I had lost so much weight.'' Some families, though, may see thinness as a threat or even a sign of ill health. In that case, it may be best not to spill too much about your weight loss plans.
''Don't tell your family you are trying to lose weight,'' Mitchell tells WebMD. ''If you tell them that, they'll start in with "you don't need to lose weight, you're too thin -- eat!'''
Disaster Area: Long days and late nights at the office, especially when co-workers so nicely leave sweets out on their desks for all to enjoy.
''The office is conducive to snacking,'' says Hall. ''From birthday parties, to doughnuts in the morning at a meeting, to snacks on someone's desk, people eat these foods and they're forgotten calories, but really, they're adding up.''
Coping Strategies: ''It's important to recognize that just because it's someone's birthday at the office doesn't mean you have to eat cake,'' says Hall. ''Or if you really want to have cake or a doughnut, share it with someone. Or step up to plan the event, and offer healthier choices.''
And be sure to plan ahead so you're prepared when hunger strikes during the workday.
''Fill your pantry and fridge with a multitude of snacks: grapes, cherries, cheese, raisins, trail mix, or healthy granola bars,'' says Mitchell. ''Every day you can grab two or three snacks'' from your supply.
''That way at 5:30 when you are starting to get hungry for dinner but you have a long night in front of you, you have healthy snacks to take the edge off,'' she says.
Says Neuman: ''I always have a small bag of fruit and nuts at my desk so if I'm hungry, I have something healthy to snack on. I also always make sure I drink plenty of water at work.''
Whatever diet disaster areas you may run across on your way to your goal, here are some tips you can take with you:
Published March 6, 2006.
SOURCES: Rick Hall, RD, lecturer, Arizona State University, Phoenix. Susan Mitchell, RD, PhD, author, Fat is Not Your Fate, Orlando, Fla. Susan Moores, RD, spokesperson, American Dietetic Association, St. Paul, Minn. Linda J. Neuman, CPA, Longwood, Fla.
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