I start off every day so well. I am determined to lose weight, and I eat my breakfast, lunch, and snacks carefully and on plan. When it comes to dinner, however, I mess the whole thing up. I don’t have time to prepare my own dinner, so I end up eating whatever I made for the kids. I tell myself that I will just have a portion-controlled amount but I end up eating more dinner than I planned. Then I sabotage the rest of the night because I am exhausted, stressed, and upset that I messed up my diet at dinner. How do I end this vicious cycle?
Like you said, this is a common phenomenon—so many clients experience this frustrating cycle!
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t under-eat. Under-eating is as dangerous as overeating! Many of my clients are actually eating too little during the day, which sets them up for hunger at night. If your plan recommends two slices of bread at lunch, don’t skip it! If you are allowed three fruits on your plan, eat them! Once hunger settles in, it is very difficult to get rid of it, especially when combined with temptation (your delicious homemade dinner), exhaustion, and stress.
- Make sure you are drinking your recommended amount of water and eating vegetables throughout the day. Being dehydrated and thirsty can lead to overeating. Filling up on starches and proteins when you could be filling up on vegetables usually means consuming extra calories as well.
- Be prepared for it to be difficult! Because most of the day is busy and we aren’t thinking much about food, the first time we are actually “dieting” is at dinner. We may not be used to actually exerting self-control. Remind yourself that everything worthwhile takes work, and it is O.K. for it to be difficult — you can do it!
- Reconsider whether or not you want to eat what you made for your family. With a bit of extra effort you can throw together a dinner that is perfect for you on your plan, and you will be less likely to derail. If you are frying schnitzel for your kids, set aside a few cutlets to grill. If you made meatballs and spaghetti, take the meatballs but have it with a small baked potato, sweet potato, or other “portion-controlled” starch, so you don’t end up having too much pasta. Throw together a chickpea or turkey salad. You and your diet are worth the extra effort!
Alice Harrosh is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya with 11 locations, including one in Five Towns right near Elderd Lane. For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya-approved products) food line, please visit nutritionbytanya.com or call 844-Tanya-Diet. For daily tips and inspiration, follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram.