Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keep from Slipping Up

Slip-ups can be an inspiration to persevere.

When you experience a slip-up in your diet and exercise plan, don't use it as an excuse to quit. See it for what it is—a bump in your road to better health and a healthier body weight. A little indulgence or laziness every now and then isn't what makes you fat and out of shape. It's the pattern of always indulging and being lazy that keeps you overweight. This week, I'll help you find positive ways to prevent and respond to slip-ups and stay on a healthy course.

The Plan for Week 4:
Snack smart. Keeping your snacking patterns in mind, this week focus on eating snacks that you enjoy and that are nutritious and filling. If you frequently find yourself away from home when it's time for a snack, make sure you have good choices on hand. Fruit—fresh, canned and drained, or dried—is always a good idea. Also, try yogurt, string cheese, instant oatmeal, meal-replacement bars and shakes, trail mix, healthful energy bars, and peanut butter on low-fat crackers. And nuts—the perfect snack for any occasion. They're filling, nutritious, convenient—and not as fattening as you might think! See this week'sEat Smart tips to learn more about nuts. Track your portion sizes, calories and other eating habits at My Wellness Center.

Find ways to de-stress. Eating is a common way to deal with stress or emotional ups and downs. That's because eating favorite foods, especially those that are high in fat and sugar, produces pleasure reactions in the brain—the same responses as other coping methods like drinking alcohol or taking drugs. If you are an emotional eater, find healthier ways to deal with stress. Some activities that can make you feel good, have fun and relax include getting a massage; taking a nap; meditating; doing creative activities like painting or playing music; knitting; taking a dance lesson; or calling a friend.

Go the extra mile. Use workouts to counterbalance those days when you eat more than you should. If you know you'll be going to a party or dinner where you're likely overeat, make that day's walk or other cardio workout a little longer or a little harder. If you binged and didn't anticipate it, try to make up for it during the next few days by adding more minutes and higher-intensity intervals to your workouts. Extra steps will help balance out excesses elsewhere.

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