Saturday, June 21, 2008

Develop Good Personal Habits

It's important not to eat later than 7pm or less than 3 hours before bedtime. You will sleep better and feel better overall for it. If you tend to binge at night, this is especially important to help keep that under control. There are folks who eat sensibly all day long, but when darkness falls they start hunting for snacks and nibbles, utterly destroying all the good they've done for themselves all day! Pick a cut-off time for yourself and stick to it. But again, be sure it's no less than 3 hours before you go to bed. Eating late at night and then sleeping on all that is a sure way to gain weight.

Do eat three meals a day plus a mid-afternoon snack. Don't skip any meals. Skipping meals only makes you hungrier when you finally do get to eat, risking the chance of over doing it.

Find a good meal substitute nutrition bar that you like and keep a box or two on hand. Some can be loaded with sugar so read the nutrition label and see what works best for you. If you're prone to diabetes, you'll want to ask a nutritionist or your doctor about supplementing with these food items. I like them because they're a quick meal if I'm crashing with hunger and don't feel like preparing anything, or when I know I'm going to be in the car during lunch and I'll need to eat on the run. I keep one in my purse if I know I'll be out. It's a much better choice and literally hundreds of calories less than pulling in the drive-thru for a burger and fries. The burger and fries are more satisfying, you say? Not when you realize such a meal can blow your entire calorie count for the day! Think of that skirt you still can't button, or those cute jeans you've been missing from your wardrobe choice. Personally, I've been satisfied with Zone and Slimfast bars. But all our tastes are different so try several to see which ones you like and will hold your hunger at bay the longest.

Some critics don't like calorie counting because they say it doesn't regulate nutrition. There is nothing to make sure you are balancing your meals. That's true, but I think if you realize that you can eat a larger amount of healthier foods, i.e. grilled chicken, fruits, and vegetables because they're lower in calories, you might find that you'll regulate yourself. Sure you can eat 3-4 candy bars in one day and be done with it. But try that every day for a week and see how you feel. The important thing is balance.

Take vitamins if you think you're not getting enough nutrition on a restricted diet. And go for healthier snacks. There are a number of wonderful options now. For example: hummus and pita chips, low fat cheeses, a handful of dried fruits and nuts in moderation, low fat yogurt... these are all good. I find that toasting an English muffin and spreading 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter on each side is very satisfying. The warmth of the muffin melts the peanut butter, making it go further. A little bit really does go a long way!

The important thing is find what works best for you while keeping in mind your total calorie allotment for the day. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it. After awhile it won't feel like measuring, weighing, and counting, you'll just have a feel for it and do it automatically.

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