The dos and don’ts of cheating on your diet

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As the weather grows warmer many people will want to shed a few pounds before they slip into a bathing suit. And as all dieters know, “cheating is a part of every diet,” explains Chazz Weaver, M.A., and founder of ChazzLive.com. “But if used strategically, cheat meals can actually be a helpful tool to keep you focused. If done the wrong way, you risk derailing your entire diet for good.”

As the producer and star of the weight loss documentary, “Downsize Me,” Chazz Weaver is an expert who knows all the “dos and don’ts of cheating on a diet.”

Chazz has over 30 years’ experience in fitness training and weight-loss coaching. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from UCLA and Syracuse Universities and is a PhD Candidate in Psychology.

Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette – You may want candy as the soundtrack sings – but don’t binge!

Chazz’s dos and don’ts of cheating on your diet:

Do cheat at night: When people cheat in the morning or afternoon, it’s harder for them to stay on their scheduled meal plan. Cheating at the end of the day reduces the risk of cheating again later.

Do schedule your cheat:  Skipping your cheat meal could backfire, causing you to become ridiculously hungry, stimulating an all-day binge.

Do know your tolerance: If you find that your cheat meals are becoming entire cheat days or if you’re having regular cravings that are becoming unmanageable, it’s a good time to reassess the calorie intake in your diet. You may need to increase it.

Don’t cheat with the foods that made you fat:  If you crave certain foods and keep giving into those cravings, you’ll only make them stronger. Avoid the foods that made you overweight and the craving will diminish over time.

Don’t binge: Cheating and binging are not the same thing. I cannot stress enough that a cheat meal is to satisfy your taste buds while increasing your calories from your scheduled diet meals. It’s not for binging.

Don’t feel guilty! Let’s say you do gorge during your cheat meal, do not get depressed and think you’re a failure. We all make mistakes, the idea is to get over it and get right back on the wagon.

Don’t live for your cheat meals. Remember why you’re dieting, to live a healthier lifestyle. The natural process of creating a healthier lifestyle gets pushed aside if you focus too much on your cheat meals.

 

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Big fat lies

Heidi Klum ( Creative Commons Image)Hot celebrity moms put a lot of pressure these days on new mothers by raising an unrealistic expectation to lose baby weight and to spring back into shape after giving birth.
 
Many people blame Heidi Klum, in particular. She strutted down a Victoria’s Secret runway only five weeks after giving birth to her fifth child. Adriana Lima was also singled out after her Victoria’s Secret appearance just two months after giving birth.
 
Most ordinary women are intimidated by such feats of fitness. Heidi Klum admitted that to return to the runway so quickly she underwent a grueling régime. Her trainer David Kirsch put her through strenuous workouts twice a day. This is hardly a schedule most new mothers can afford, never mind the cost of flying in a live-in celebrity trainer.
 
Unlike some stars, Heidi Klum admitted her stunning transformation took a lot of effort. She even complained about working out and dieting. She didn’t tell “big fat lies” about getting skinny.
 
Adriana Lima detailed the effort it took to get back onto the runway in posts she put on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps she was hoping to head-off the recent scorn directed at the new super-svelte celebrity moms.
 
Now that relative “peace” has been made between working moms and stay-at-home moms, a new battle may be looming between super-fit “yummy mummies” and moms who choose not to, or unable to, spring back into runway shape after childbirth.
 
Even non-mothers who are trying to shape up can get fed up with stars who claim that staying slim is a “piece of cake.”
 
I’m not sure the “supermodel standards” are the problem. Rather, the big fat lies some stars tell about how effortless it is sets women up for unrealistic expectations and disappointment.
 
And it is not just stars that are the problem. Many non-famous women like to perpetuate the myth of being “effortlessly” fit and slim. It’s a weird and annoying type of superiority.
 
Fitness and losing weight is a hard slog. It can be fun and rewarding, once you get into it, but it can be tough for most women. Getting into shape is easier with good teachers or a workout buddy. Young mothers may not have child care, so will they need to find places that offer it. When and if they go back to work, they may need to hustle out for classes or long walks at lunch because they have will have to rush home to the baby after work. It can be done. I have seen motivated young mothers work out and then pump breast milk and scoot back to work at my own club.
 
What women need know is that getting into shape takes time, guts, and grit. It can be fun and will make you look and Adrina Lima, Image by David Shankbornfeel better. The endorphins from vigorous, regular workouts can help chase away mild a case of baby blues or PMS. For more serious depression, call your doctor. It’s more fun and easier with friends and in a supportive atmosphere.
 
So don’t be discouraged by these big fat lies:
 
I have a fast metabolism; I can eat whatever I want
Some people are blessed with a fast metabolism, but watch them, darlings. They are usually always on the move. Even if they don’t work out, they fidget and twitch off calories. Good for them. Also observe their eating habits. They may not think about what they eat, but often they don't eat much. They pick and nibble. It’s a good trick to emulate. Read Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl books to find out how this is done.
 
I never diet
Bethenny Frankel explained to me how tasting as opposed to eating keeps her Some women have learned to eat “clean” or “lean” the hard way. To stay lean they cut out extra calories and junk food. It is second nature. But who are they kidding? That is “watching what they eat. Few adult women don’t have to cut back on calories or work out extra hard to make up for a calorie splurge. The others are telling “big fat lies.”
 
On the other hand, learning to view your own mini-portions as a lifestyle instead of depravation or dieting will keep you skinny.
 
Mini-portions are how many women who struggle with weight finally learned to stay slim. Dolly Parton and movie icon Rita Hayworth are two of the most famous mini-portion eaters. Rita Hayworth reportedly sent back any plate that had more than quarter portions on it.
 
I never exercise
This is a tricky lie. Exercise alone won’t make you skinny, but it will make you look better and help you burn calories. A daily workout burns calories and improves your mood, but weight loss is at least 80 percent diet. If you want to look sexy, vivacious, and youthful you need a healthy diet and daily vigorous exercise. Experts say that you continue to burn calories for up to 14 hours after a vigorous workout. So when you exercise really go for the burn – the calorie burn.
 
Lying about the effort it takes to look fabulous is not new. It’s not all bad either. There is such a thing as too much information. Darlings, no one wants to be out to dinner with “health-nut” who lectures everyone about the dangers of their delicious dessert. And there is nothing less sexy than a woman who moans about her hips during dinner. A certain amount of discretion about one’s personal dietary habits, personal insecurity, and fitness goals is good sense and good manners.
 
But pretending that having a knockout body after 25 and children is a “piece of cake” is just a “big fat lie.”
 
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How to stick to your diet

Dr. Brian AlmanMany of us have tried to lose weight and failed. For some it is that stubborn 10 pounds that keeps coming back, or just won’t budge. Others need to lose 50 pounds or more. The process can be daunting and discouraging. There are many good diets, but they won’t help if you can’t stick to them. Psychologist Dr. Brian Alman has helped thousands of people lose weight by showing them how to stay motivated. Let him help you too.
 
Five secrets for sticking to your diet, by Dr. Brian Alman:
When trying to stick to your diet, willpower doesn’t work; you know that already. Why? Because willpower is all in your head, and the root causes of overeating are emotional and personal, all about stress and family relationships. Whether you’re trying to lose that last 10 pounds, those stubborn 30 pounds, or more, one thing is clear: Unless you do something to lighten the emotional weight you’re carrying inside — unless you begin to become aware of your feelings, to accept them, and to express them — you’ll continue to struggle with your diet. You might lose some weight, but soon you’ll give in and gain it all back, and usually more.
Here are my five favorite quick-tips for breaking this "yo-yo" cycle. They will help you get in touch with your feelings and begin to accept yourself just as you are. This is the secret to staying with your diet. Once you start to be friendlier, caring, and compassionate with yourself, you’ll begin to lose weight effortlessly. More importantly, you’ll keep it off for good.
 
Tip 1: Breathe through your cravings
Whenever you feel the urge to eat, don’t try to stop the craving; that will only make it stronger. Instead, take a few deep, satisfying breaths. Watch the rise and fall of your breathing. Accept your breathing as it is; there’s nothing to do right, there’s nothing you can do wrong. Now focus on the cycle: inhale and exhale, and pause for a moment at the turning points, at the top and bottom of each breath. Inhale deeply, pause, exhale deeply, and pause. Inhale deeply, pause, then push the exhale, throw out all the air. Let go, let go, let go. Drink a refreshing glass of water and feel more alive.
 
Tip 2: Three times is the charm
When any weight-loss challenge comes up for you — an urge, a craving, anger, guilt, anything that stresses you — just be aware of it, just notice that it’s there inside of you, and name it slowly three times. For example, if it’s a craving, just notice it and say to yourself, "craving … craving … craving." Or go ahead and say what it is you’re craving: "chocolate … chocolate … chocolate." Or, let’s say you’re angry at something or somebody, maybe at yourself for being fat, or at others for being thin — just recognize what you’re feeling and say, "anger … anger … anger." Say it aloud softly, or say it to yourself. But say it slowly three times. Don’t miss a single opportunity. Whenever you feel weighed down by any thought or feeling, say it slowly three times, and watch what happens.
 
Tip 3: "Watch" what you eat
The next time you sit down to a meal imagine a camera just to your side filming you as you eat. Watch yourself through the eye of that camera. Notice your mood, your attitude, how tense or relaxed you are. Observe your breathing, shallow or deep, nose or chest. Watch how you hold your knife and fork. Zoom in and look at the food closely. What shape is it? How many shades of color does it have? Watch the food as it goes into your mouth. How do you chew? Turn up the sound: what can you hear? Crackling, swishing, crunching? Do you notice the flavors? The smells? What texture does the food have? Grainy, spongy, crisp? How hot or cold is it? What aftertaste does it leave? Watch the food as it goes into your stomach. Is your stomach happy to receive it? When you eat this way, with total presence and awareness, your overeating will change by itself.
 
Tip 4: Go with the flow
Ocean lifeguards teach swimmers not to fight to get out of a strong rip current. It never works, only exhausts them, and makes things worse. Instead, they should let themselves go with the current, ride with it, and even swim along with it. Soon they will come out of it without any trouble. The same goes for any challenges you may have staying on your diet. Instead of fighting your inner emotional current and drowning in your feelings, you can choose to "go with the flow." If you feel hungry, or angry, or weak, or like bingeing, don’t try to fight your feeling and make it go away. Simply go with your feeling. Feel it fully and wholeheartedly, and even exaggerate it. You’ll find that you quickly come out of it. In a few minutes, your feeling will simply be gone. You’re soon going on about your day wondering what all the fuss was about.
 
Tip 5: Say Your name
When you’re feeling caught up in your struggles with food and dieting, when you feel "beside" yourself with a craving, or self-hatred, or guilt, sadness, anger — whatever it is, just pause for a moment and focus on your breathing. Even if your breathing is tight, shallow, and stressful, just observe your inhale and exhale … inhale … and then exhale. Then — after a few breaths, on an exhale — say your name to yourself, but not aloud. Just say your own name. First name, last name, full name or a favorite name you use when you talk to yourself. Just inhale, pause, on the exhale say your name to yourself, and continue doing this for 10 to 15 breaths). Make it a kind of silent mantra of unconditional acceptance of yourself and your weight-loss challenge. Give this technique some time and energy, and you will be amazed to find yourself feeling more relaxed and accepting of yourself, and of what you are going through with your diet.
These five techniques are only a small part of my Lose Weight and Keep It Off program. It has helped thousands of people at Kaiser Permanente meet their weight-loss goals. Deepak Chopra recommends it as "very effective." Longer versions of these tips, along with many more of my weight-loss techniques, are ready to be accessed at the iPhone app store. In addition, my new book, The Voice: Overcome Negative Self-Talk and Discover Your Inner Wisdom, includes these tips as part of a larger personal growth program for anyone dealing with an emotional challenge.
More from Dr. Brian Alman
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Bread is the devil

Celebrity nutritionist Heather Bauer’s  new book, Bread is the Devil  helps readers identify their dieting downfalls or “devils,” as Bauer calls them. This not just another diet book; Bauer identifies common habits that make dieters slip up, and offers workable typos to avoid them.

 
She explains the dangers not only of tempting of carb-loaded bread, but also of traditional dieting foods that some dieters abuse. She cautions against snacking on food that you can mindlessly “pop,” like cherry tomatoes or baby carrots, if you a prone to mindless binging.
 
Bauer works with high-powered executives and celebrities, so she has learned she cannot help dieters while ignoring their travel and stress-packed lifestyles. Instead, Bauer offers tips for navigating restaurants, business dinners, and travel, as well as dealing with stress and stress-eating.
 
She recommends drinking lots of water and eating lean protein as well as plenty of fresh veggies. She encourages readers to identify the situations that cause them to “slip” from their healthful habits, and then she offers strategies to cope.
 
I like this book. Bauer is a true motivator and problem solver. She knows why dieters falter and how to guide them back on track. It is easy to see why show business divas like Tyra  follow Bauer’s recommendations to drop a few pounds. So, if you need a little coaching, check out Bread is the Devil.
 
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Weighty matters

Rita Hayworth portrayed the iconic siren Gilda, she stayed svelte on the 1/4 portion diet

The more I talk to readers, the more it seems that weighty matters are on all our minds. We are finding it harder to keep weight gain at bay.  It is truly maddening. For many us, additional pounds creep up on for a variety of reasons. Busy schedules make it hard to find time or eat well or exercise. This affects women of all ages. Options in food courts and airports are fattening and far from healthful. I am still appalled at what some restaurants can do to make a simple salad or sandwich top 800 or 900 calories. Long hours, stress, exhaustion and other factors can all add up to gains of 10, 20, and more pounds in a year.
 
And we all know losing weight is harder than gaining it.
 
That’s why sabotage, in the form of hidden calories, fat, and sodium is really not to be tolerated. I like to bring most of my snacks with me. I’ll take my raw almonds and miso any day over the stuff I am offered in most convenience stores and food courts. But even then, I have to resort to grabbing a quick fast food snack at times.
 
That’s why I love the idea of menu labeling. New York City requires it for fast food chains, and the measure has been adopted by several states. Now it is about to become U.S. federal la and a recent study by Decision Analyst, Inc., indicates that most American consumers support it.
 
The law was part of the health care legislation bill signed by President Barack Obama on March 23. It requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose calorie counts on their food items. Additionally, restaurant chains must supply information on how many calories a healthy person should consume in a day.
 
The situation on menu labeling in Canada is patchy, as it is mandated provincially. But consumer groups are calling for menu labeling, and Health Canada and provincial ministries are looking is looking into it. I think it is essential.
 
There is healthful fast food out there. Some fast food chains offer sushi and salads, and other healthful, low-cal options. Other chains offer deceptive and deadly options. Many of us are still shocked to find out that picking the wrong burger, fries, and soda combo can give women their calorie allowance for most of the day in just one meal. I am not kidding. A meal at McDonalds of a Big Mac (at 560 calories), medium fries (310 calories), and a large Coke contains 1,220 calories. That is the daily allowance for a small middle-aged woman. 1,500 to 1,700 calories is the daily allowance of a moderately-active 30-year-old woman. You only need to the math.
 
McDonald’s is far from the worst offender. A regular McDonald’s hamburger and small fries, with water, unsweetened tea, or a diet drink is exactly 500 calories. It is not an ideal daily meal as it lacks vegetables, but it will not break the calorie bank once in while.
 
Let common sense rein in fast outlets. A single slice of thin-crust pizza is your best choice, if you want the treat. If you order a salad you need to order dressing on the side and skip the fried “goodies”. Avoid salads loaded with cheese. A serving of cheese is about 1½ tablespoons. Lean chicken, turkey, or plain seafood is best. The serving should be the same size as the palm of your hand or deck of cards. And we all know this, but they load the goodies on lettuce to make it seem healthful.
 
Darlings, most us battle creeping weight gain. I know I do. It’s not about being thin; it is about being the weight you want to be, and being in control of what you eat. Remember, danger doesn’t just lurk in fast food restaurants either.
 
Eating is joyful, but gaining weight makes most us sad. Remember your visual cues at fine restaurants. Simple things help. First course-sizes of pasta are actually dinner-sized portions. A portion is only 1 cup. Sad but true, so order it for dinner. Tip the staff well and they will be happy to see you next time. At home, use a smaller salad plate or a bowl.
 
Screen legend Rita Hayworth — famous for the role of Gilda — had to diet later in life. Her trick was the quarter-portion diet. She allowed herself only a quarter-portion of anything on her plate. She ate everything, but only in small amounts — and she played golf and tennis. 
 
Darlings, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember reading that Dolly Parton finally succeeded in keeping her weight down with the quarter-portion trick. Good for her! At five feet tall, this is one of my challenges, and from what hear, I am not alone. My advice darlings, never give up, don’t deprive yourself, exercise makes it easier, and food is not the enemy.
 
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Wouldn’t you like to be “Naturally Thin”

 

When I had lunch with author, natural food chef, and reality TV star Bethenny Frankel earlier this year, she assured me that everyone can be “Naturally Thin”.Bethenny Frankel & Gracey Hitchcock
Bethenny is her own best advertisement. She is thin, trim, and glowing with health, but she actually does eat. She is as funny and charming in person as she is on The Real Housewives New York. Her book Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting is already a best seller. I thought it would be fun to remind everyone of some of the tips she shared.
 
DD: You have talked about your difficult childhood; how did you get interested in food and cooking?
BF: When I was young, I ate at a restaurant seven nights a week, not including the multitude of breakfasts and lunches spent out. Food was an absolute obsession in my house, although not always in a healthy way. I have been a foodie my whole life who was eating escargot at four years old. When other children watched cartoons, I watched cooking shows. I always loved to cook but gained a lot of my confidence in culinary school years later.

DD: What do you mean by “naturally thin?”
BF: Naturally thin is a misused term. People believe that the thin people around them were born that way. The truth is that, generally speaking, a thin person has different eating styles and habits that make them appear to be thin naturally. For example, the girl who orders a cheeseburger and fries, or pizza or pasta, seems like she is naturally thin. But the fact that she finishes only half, or doesn’t eat like that all day, or isn’t obsessed about food, is really why she is thin. Everyone can be naturally thin. Everyone has a ‘skinnygirl’ trapped inside.

DD: Does being naturally thin go beyond eating habits? Is it a lifestyle?
BF: Naturally thin is absolutely a lifestyle, and it means something different for every one. If Britney Spears and Oprah have fluctuating weight, it must be daunting for someone who is struggling financially. Naturally thin works for everyone and shows everyone how to create that lifestyle for themselves, no matter what their job, location, or socioeconomic status is. I believe in quality over quantity, so I eat good ingredients; real food and flavors versus fake. For instance, I make low-calorie Skinnygirl Frangelini cocktails from vanilla vodka, club soda, and a splash of Frangelico – for that authentic hazelnut flavor.

 
DD: You talk about “toxic food noise.” Can you explain it please?
BF: Naturally thin was written to eliminate the toxic internal dialogue and chatter that so many of us have about food. Were we good because we ate nothing? Were we bad because we over-indulged. The fact that every meal is a negotiation is absurd. I help people turn food noise into a food voice, freeing them from obsessive dieting. Food is not your best friend or your enemy. It’s just food.

DD: Do you think that anyone can be naturally thin, even those of us who naturally plump?
BF: Absolutely. This book will change a plump person’s life. Everyone around me has lost weight effortlessly and gradually. My assistant lost 25 pounds just by listening to me edit my book.

DD: What does a skinnygirl eat for lunch?
BF: Whatever she really wants, yet she considers what she had for breakfast (if she had breakfast), what she thinks she will eat or drink later, what time of the month it is, how she feels, etc. A skinnygirl lives in the moment and realizes that it isn’t only about what she eats, but what she eats next. A skinnygirl can have some fries or dessert, but she will not punish herself for that by going on a tear and binging. A skinnygirl is in control of what she eats, and she decides. Frangelico iced coffee is a great brunch treat to replace a Bloody Mary which is filled with salt. Mix iced coffee with soy or skim milk and a splash of Frangelico hazelnut liqueur. It replaces the sugar and adds a nutty hazelnut flavor.

DD: Have you helped any of the other women on the show with dieting or nutrition?
BF: I have helped Jill Zarin. She has learned to follow my rule: taste everything, eat nothing. She has lost a lot of weight by reading Naturally Thin and following and understanding the simplicity of its principles. I have cooked for all of the housewives and taught them recipes. I also have introduced them to my Skinnygirl cocktails.
 
Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of
Dieting.
Bethenny blogs on a variety of subjects at http://www.bravotv.com/ . Her own website is http://www.bethennybakes.com/
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