Diet Questions Answered

Found this great little Q&A section in Self Magazine.

Diet do-overs

If at first your slim-down plan doesn’t succeed, try again- but this time, let us lend a hand. We have expert-backed fixes for top diet hitches, so you can have a rewarding re-do. (Courtney Rubin)

“I’m starving all the time.”

Not to channel your mom, but are you eating enough? A daily diet of under 14,000 calories won’t supply enough nutrients to keep you full and fueled, and may lead you to quit.

The Fix: Who says dieting is all about having less? Three things to enjoy more of…

Calories: Up them to 1,600 a day if you’re trying to lose, 2,000 if you’re maintaining.

Nosh Sessions: Have three daily meals plus two snacks, says Susan Bowerman, R.D., of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Eating every four hours keeps blood sugar steady, preventing cravings and crankiness.

Lean Protein: It sends stronger “I’m full” signals to your brain than carbs or fat do. Aim for 20 grams in meals, 10g in snacks.

“The needle on the scale is stuck.”

Plateaus are common after you’ve been steadily losing weight for six months, the National Institutes of Health reports. When you’re lighter your body needs fewer calories, so what used to make you shrink is now what you need to maintain your size.

The Fix: Cut about 200 calories more a day, Bowerman says. If you don’t start losing again within two weeks or so, your calorie counts or portions may be off. Keep a food diary for a week to catch errors. (Check your numbers at If you’re eyeballing portions, measure your food instead (2 tablespoons of peanut butter can easily grow to 3). Finally, switch up your workout: If you do the same one every day, your body won’t build as much fat-burning muscle, says Gina Harney, a personal trainer in Tucson, Arizona.

“I’m busy, so I tend to eat out a lot.”

Restaurant meals can be calorific, especially because no one monitors whether or not chefs are doling out heavy-handed portions. In fact, calorie counts can be up to 18% greater than what’s posted,a Tufts University shows.

The Fix: Make a reservation to save yourself a wait at the bar and calories from cocktails, says Tina Marinaccio, R.D., of Morris Plains, New Jersey. Alcohol revs appetite, so stick to one drink and sip it with dinner, not before. Order grilled over fried (entrees) and steamed over sauteed (veggies); if you truly crave something decadent, go halfsies.

“My willpower vanishes on weekends.”

You may be depriving yourself too much during the week, making you more likely to overcompensate later, Marinaccio says.

The Fix: Factor approximately 1,400 fun calories a week into your diet, and spend 150 to 250 of them a day on treats you’d otherwise miss most (a 5-ounce glass of wine, 2oz of Brie, 3/4 cup of ice cream). That way, you won’t be a tempted to scarf them all down come Friday. Do bank two or three days’ worth of fun calories for a splurgeworthy event- but no more than that. And schedule a workout for the morning after: That third cocktail won’t look quite so tempting if you have a 9AM spin bike booked for the next day.


About SuzieSloth

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor with a passion for physical fitness and a background in public health. I love learning new things about the fitness world and about innovations in all health fields. I like to share tidbits that I find in magazines or on the internet with friends and clients. Please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or leave comments on any post on my blog. And make sure to stop by my website: View all posts by SuzieSloth

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