Step 3: Develop Smart Strategies for When You Get Hungry
Surviving the deprivation that comes with cutting back on your normal diet can be tough. One way to help keep your sanity is by substituting fatty or calorie-dense foods with healthier and lighter alternatives—they’ll keep you feeling full, but without the calorie payload.
For instance: Instead of chowing down on almonds, which run about 22 calories per serving, Morgan suggests snacking on shelled pistachios. Plus, cracking open pistachio shells means they take longer to eat, and end up being more satiating.
“Another trick: Instead of hogging on a handful of whole-grain tortilla chips and salsa, snack on air-popped popcorn,” Morgan suggests. “Three cups of air-popped popcorn have only 90 calories, and feel like a decent volume of food to snack.” And drop traditional yogurt for Greek or Skyr yogurt—these both have double the protein compared to traditional yogurt, she says.
And don’t forget the dieter’s ultimate sanity-saving strategy: cheat meals! Healthy and clean eating is all about balance. It’s not that you can’t ever have pizza or chicken wings again, says Morgan. “But, as with any food, keeping the portions in check is important. For example, instead of having six chicken wings, opt for three chicken wings and add a salad to go with the meal. Or instead of having a burger and fries, opt for either the burger or the fries and get a salad on the side or a side of roasted veggies.”
Most of all, for that last push to make your weight-loss goal, be patient. “The last pounds are always the most difficult to get off and instead of instituting some big changes, simply examining all of the little picky ways that extras are coming in can get you over the hump,” Morgan says. And if you need help and keep missing your weight-loss target, there’s no shame in talking to a professional trainer or nutritionist. Working with a registered dietitian who can review your goals and adjust your plan. (To find a dietitian, visit: eatright.org.)