Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Blew My Diet: Now What Do I Do?

I have been eating healthy on a diet for four days--I was doing real well and then yesterday I ate a bag of chips. I started with just a handful, but kept going back for more and eventually ate the whole bag. I think it had 1000 calories in it. Did this ruin my progess? Do I have to start over again? --Darlene H.

Hi Darlene,
The good news is, you were eating healthy for four days!!

The overall goal should be to eat healthy MORE of the time, each day throughout your life. Not dieting for a few weeks here and there, before eating our way back into an unhealthy state!

Essentially we are always starting our diet over each day, and even at each meal.
Before anything you eat, the question you should ask yourself is, "Is this the best choice for me right now? Am I hungry? If I'm eating for some other reason (like boredom or stress) is there another activity I could engage in besides eating? Is there another food choice that would be better for me (either because it has fewer calories/less fat/less sugar or more of certain nutrients that are good for me)?  What would be a better choice for now--or is this what I've decided to enjoy in this moment, regardless of the nutritional value?"

In answer to your specific question, if you dieted over 4 days and, for example, ate 500 fewer calories (than you burned) on each of those days, you would have been in a negative 2000 calorie balance. After eating 1000 calories of cheetos your body would then be in a negative 1000 calorie balance (or down nearly 1/3 of a pound). So, yes, it slowed your progress. But those 4 days did not go to waste! You still ate healthy on those days, and if you always eat healthy 4 out of 5 days you will be in better shape than if you only ate healthy one or two days!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Help: I can't lose weight!

I am a 19-year old female college athlete and I can't lose weight. I am 5'1" and 145 pounds. I get plenty of exercise, and I try to eat less but it doesn't seem to work. What can I do?  Rebecca L.

Dear Rebecca,
I'm sorry to hear of your challenge, and I hope I can help.
In order to eat less and lose weight it's almost essential to keep a food log. When you say, "I try to eat less but it doesn't seem to work" I infer the attempt was not a serious and consistent one. In other words, we often try hard for one meal or skip one snack, but then indulge later in the day, making up for the calories we tried so hard to avoid.
When a person loses weight by eating less, it's something that must become a way of life in order to lose weight and keep it off!
So, start by eliminating all the "empty calories" in your diet--sodas, candy, cakes, and cookies. Focus on eating healthy, whole grains and fruits and vegetables at each meal. Consider having a fruit or vegetable as a snack, or peanut butter and crackers instead of a candy bar or chips. Choose broiled or baked food at meals instead of fried. And limit the dressing you pour over a salad.
This doesn't mean you can never have a sweet food again--but if you're trying to lose weight it would be a good idea to pick a "cheat day" and enjoy this type of food only once or twice a week.

Helpful websites to keep your food log include and They will count your calories for you!

Keep me posted on your progress!