The journey to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle can have its trials and tribulations; we strive to make positive change but are surrounded by roadblocks and diversions that can kick us completely off course. While we all battle with a unique set of inner and outer struggles in our daily lives, there are some smart ways to overcome those weak moments that derail our healthy diets and fitness goals. Here are three very common struggles and techniques to kick them to the curb.
Diet Diversion: You can’t Resist the Craving for Carbs
Football Sunday usually consists of things like fresh delivered pizza, chips and queso or a huge foot-long hoagie. Birthdays and special occasions have an abundance of cake, cookies and brownies. And in the mornings at Starbucks those chocolate fudge squares with mocha glaze are staring you in the eye, daring you to indulge. We get it, temptation is all around, fueling our cravings and sabotaging our fat loss. To stack the deck even higher, female bodies and hormones tend to crave carbohydrates more than our male counterparts. But have hope! There are a few strategies that can help keep the carb-lover from getting too far off their fitness track The Solution: If you feel the need to indulge in a carb-heavy, meal, watch out for refined carbs and simple sugars. These are foods that are often full of empty calories and studies suggest they can actually slow your metabolism. Instead, opt for whole-grain bread and pasta, which have more vitamins, minerals, and ab-flattening fiber than refined carbs. Fitness Magazine recently reported that, people who eat more fiber have less dangerous belly fat, the kind that has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. And make sure to eat carbs at the right time of day; mornings are best as AM carbs give you energy for the day with enough time to burn it off so your body doesn’t store it as fat. In addition to eating the right kind of carbs, be sure to increase your protein intake. Protein helps you build lean muscle and in turns gets your metabolism going. Danish researchers found that replacing protein for one-eighth of the carbs you typically eat in a day allowed dieters to maintain weight loss successfully. The best dietary sources for protein are eggs, lean meat, poultry, fish, or nonfat dairy.
Diet Diversion: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
Chocolate is the food that women crave the most. Chocolate is composed of hundreds of compounds that actually make us feel good. Happy endorphins and magnesium in the candy are things that we crave (especially during certain days of the month) and keep us reaching for the satisfying treat. Unfortunately, most of the chocolate that we tend to reach for is full of sugar and fat that will sabotage our fat loss efforts. The Solution: Taming the sweet tooth means giving it what it needs and there are ways to do that without totally negating the work you put into that day’s Boot Camp or Zumba class! First of all, go natural. Every day eat one fruit or vegetable that has a sweet taste like beets, corn, or sweet potatoes that will curb your craving for chocolaty snacks. For dessert, try topping low-fat Greek yogurt with sweet fruit and nuts. Also, when you do buy chocolate for the occasional indulgence, make sure you splurge for the good stuff. A small serving of high -quality chocolate is more satisfying and generally less offensive to your diet. Organic dark chocolate is a safe option. As a general rule of thumb, a higher cocoa content will mean less sugar and more antioxidants. Find a quality chocolate and mix a serving with a bowl of fiber-packed strawberries. You will be snacking with a satisfied full smile!
Diet Diversion: Emotional Eating
Most women use food as a coping mechanism at certain times in their lives. Stressful events, a major life change or maybe just a crappy day at work can cause emotional food cravings to kick in. “Most emotional eaters reach for high-fat, sugary foods that give them pleasure and distract them from their negative emotions,” says Judith Beck, PhD, a cognitive behavior therapy expert specializing in weight loss and the author of the Beck Diet Solution. The Solution: Some of us don’t recognize when our eating behavior is an emotional response which means we miss the opportunity to address it. Identifying triggers that we are most susceptible to allows us to combat the craving right at its source! A popular way to do this is to keep a diary of the times when cravings hit and how you’re feeling in that moment : “In one column, list what you’re eating; in another, write down how you’re feeling; and in a third, rate your hunger on a scale from one to five,” suggests Valerie Berkowitz, RD, coauthor of The Stubborn Fat Fix. When you can make connections with emotional triggers and temptations you are more likely to find creative alternatives for dealing with the emotion and the cravings it causes. Some suggestions: do your favorite Zumba routine or call a friend to chat. Bootique members, remember that your personal trainers are always there to respond to a text message when you’re having a weak moment,