Can You Resist the Cookie Pusher?

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How to Bounce Back from a Diet Setback

The extra calories aren't what do the worst damage after a diet slipup or even a major binge: It's taking an all-or-nothing attitude to your setback. The dieters who are most successful over the long haul are those who have learned how to recover from a relapse. Two strategies that work:

1. Make the day a Protein Day. This simple meal plan resets your body and gets your diet back on track after a "Might as Well" Day (see page 1) or other major calorie overload. It's just what it sounds like: a day when you eat primarily protein -- that is, lean protein. Protein staves off hunger and is low in calories.

Breakfast: Two eggs (any style) or a four- to six-egg-white vegetable omelet

Lunch: Fish, turkey, chicken, or any grilled protein (vegetarians can eat eggs, cheese, or beans) over greens with vinegar. If you simply can't tolerate only vinegar, use a light vinaigrette.

Dinner: Same as lunch, plus some steamed veggies

Snack: 1/4 pound of sliced turkey if necessary

2. Make the night a Veggie Night. A less-drastic reset tool after a "Might as Well" Day, this is also a useful jump-start to your week on a Sunday or Monday night. And it's a safe solution for nights you get home late. The overall calorie count is low, and the meal is high in fiber and has sufficient carbs to make you sleepy.

The menu:
One baked white or sweet potato
2 cups of steamed veggies

Beware of aftershock: Eating just a nibble more here and there after you've reached your goal can make weight creep back on. Hold to your diet until you've been at goal weight for four to six weeks. When you do start eating a bit more, keep weighing yourself weekly. Get right back on your diet for a week or two the moment your scale shows an increase of more than five pounds or if your clothes feel uncomfortably tight.

Continued on page 4:  When the Losing Stops


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