All of these women try to exercise and eat the right foods, but the way they eat is sabotaging their best intentions. How does your eating style compare?
THE WEEKEND BINGER
You're very disciplined during the week--eating right and exercising--but then you let yourself go on the weekends or whenever you have a few days off.
* KAREN SAYS: I work in the fashion industry, surrounded by beautiful people, so I'm very careful about what I eat during the week. I have egg whites on an English muffin for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and then grilled chicken or fish with veggies for dinner. I rarely meet up with friends for drinks after work; I like to hit the gym in the morning for an hour on the treadmill or bike and don't like to exercise with a hangover. But, when Friday night hits, I cut myself some slack and eat whatever I want: moo shu pork and egg rolls, steak and french fries, pizza and potato chips. I also start throwing back the alcohol. I love margaritas! And I'm a huge fan of brunch--cheese grits, breakfast tacos, bagels with cream cheese. I'm sometimes too tired to drag myself to the gym after eating all that food, so I just kick back and relax for the rest of the day. It's pretty much like that all weekend.
* EXPERT'S ADVICE:
Karen eats almost the same thing every day, says Lauren Slayton, M.S., RD., staff nutritionist at Equinox Fitness Clubs. She makes healthy food choices, but her weekly diet clearly lacks variety. That's partly why she's prone to bingeing. If she allowed herself some of the foods she eats only on the weekends more often, she'd have an easier time maintaining her weight. If she craves Chinese food on a Tuesday, there's no reason why she shouldn't indulge, as long as most of her meal consists of lower-fat items, such as brown rice and steamed vegetables.
DITCH THE ALL-OR-NOTHING APPROACH
On the weekends, she'd feel better if she stopped eating such a heavy meal so late in the morning. She can still go out for brunch, as long as she watches her portions. Topping a bagel with low-fat cheddar instead of cream cheese will give her extra protein for energy. I'd also suggest that she eat a different lunch from the salads she usually eats during the week--like a turkey burger or low-fat soup with bread--so she doesn't get bored with her meals. She should also cut back to no more than two alcoholic beverages a day and choose red wine over mixed drinks for its heart-protective benefits.