The key to maintaining my Feel Great Weight is to not feel like I am missing out on the fun. I love to enjoy life, which, for me, does not mean starving myself. Over the years, I’ve found lots of little ways to cut calories or squeeze in extra exercise. But some of my best diet tips are a little stranger. These are the “unconventional” ways I enjoy my favorite foods and drinks without feeling like I am sacrificing.
I follow the “2 out of 3″ rule
Never heard of it? My “2 out of 3″ rule allows me to indulge (within reason!) by choosing two splurges from a meal’s usual options: bread basket, cocktail, or dessert. I allow myself to enjoy two of these three choices so I don’t feel like I am missing out on all the fun when I dine out, but it keeps me from overdoing it in the calorie department.
I start with some bubbly
No, not champagne! I like to start my meal with a glass of no-calorie seltzer water. The bubbles from the carbonation give my stomach a full feeling before the meal even starts, which helps me slow down and think about my food choices as I’m looking over the menu. In fact, even drinking plain old water before a meal can help you limit calories and portion size.
I snack on hard-to-eat foods
When I’m feeling especially snacky, I reach for foods that require some work to eat, like oranges, pistachios, peanuts, or edamame. These foods make you work for it, which forces me to slow down and become more aware of what I am putting into my mouth.
I use small plates
I’ve had one too many potato chip binges eating straight from the bag standing in the kitchen! So whenever I eat a snack, I make sure to use a small plate and sit down to enjoy it. I’m more likely to perceive it as a true snack this way. I also try to make my snacks seem special, so I focus on how many calories I’m consuming. I like to use fun dishes and placemats to enhance the eating experience.
I pay for it with cash
I find that I make healthier choices when I pay for my food with cash than with a credit or debit card. Don’t ask me why, but when I use cash, I give more thought to what I buy and tend to pick items that are healthier for me. When it comes to Starbucks or a happy hour cocktail, I tend to think twice about my selection before blowing my hard-earned dollars.
I satisfy my sweet tooth with chocolate
But not just any chocolate! A little dark chocolate not only satisfies my cravings for something sweet, but it also packs some surprising health benefits, like protecting your heart and even lowering anxiety and stress. Plus, eating a small piece of chocolate as a snack can actually help curb your hunger and make you feel full longer.