What’s Your Diet Personality?

yo-yo sitting on top of a scale(BlackDoctor.org) — Everybody else is in bed, but you (and a pint of ice cream) are watching a late-night movie on TV. Sound like you? Or, are you the person that eats healthy Monday through Friday, only to abandon those habits and eat whatever you want on the weekend?

Certain habits can have a significant effect on your weight. The hardest part of this is that, regardless of other, healthier habits, such as incorporating more fruit into your diet and/or exercising more, those not-so-great eating tendencies can sneak right on up and do some serious healthy-weight sabotage.

So, how do you fight back and unlearn unhealthy eating patterns. Below are five common unhealthy eating types, as well as easy ways to better control them:

The Weekend Indulger

You live “right” all week, only to go all kinds of wrong Friday night. Or maybe you travel a lot for work or pleasure, and as soon as your surroundings change, so do your eating and daily calorie-counting habits.

Fix It:

Go a little wild on a Wednesday. It’s hard to resist going nuts on Saturday and eating all the bread and butter in the bread basket when you’ve been restrictive for five days straight. But if you allow yourself a little food-related fun during the weekdays, you’ll be less likely to go crazy on the weekends. Consider working one or two splurge nights during the week. Or, spread some of the fun to other meals by indulging in moderation. For example, if the idea of a salad for lunch every single day bores you, go for a moderate portion of something you really want–maybe half of a high-calorie sandwich from your favorite shop.

During the actual weekend, create the same splurge experience with fewer calories. You can still have drinks at happy hour on Friday night, but instead of drinking 3 glasses of white wine, sub in a lower-calorie vodka soda and have one less drink.

The High-Calorie Drinker

One of the biggest diet mistakes people make is thinking that if it’s something you can sip, the calories won’t stick. Unfortunately, liquid calories are stealth fatteners—they go down quickly, making it easy to drink more and rack up the calories—fast.

Fix It:

Make simple switches. Whether your weakness is sweet coffee drinks, soda, or cocktails, there’s always a way to alter your particular drink so it doesn’t ruin your progress.

For example, if you really must have a soda every now and then, try filling three-quarters of the cup with the diet version, then adding a little bit of the regular version on top. At your favorite coffee shop, asking for substitutions like skim milk, sugar-free syrups and no whip cream can shave off more than 200 calories!

The Convenience Eater

You’re all for just about anything that’s readily available, right? These days we’re confronted with calories everywhere we go, and temptation lurks at every corner and chips away at your willpower.

Fix It:

Write down EVERYTHING you eat. It’s always important to, at the very least, monitor your meals. Do you account for all those free samples at the grocery store, or those extra candies and cookies in the conference room at work? Just seeing how all of those extra bites add up is motivation enough to make you say no to the free muffin sample.

Also, by paying attention to exactly what you’re eating, you can better plan for the unexpected and leave some room in your daily calorie budget to allow for the occasional treat so you don’t feel guilty.

Additional tips include: Never go to a party hungry, and always use a small plate to taste a bit of the things you want the most. Always have a tasty little treat at home to help stop you from going crazy with the bagels or other office goodies. Want dessert? Split it with a friend.

The Stress Eater

Do you find yourself looking for solace in a red velvet cupcake after a long, stressful day? Do you empty a bag of Cheetos while your family is in town? If so, then stress eating is probably a part of your life, and preventing your weight loss.

Fix It:

Stress often leads to bingeing, and bingeing leads to more stress, more cortisol (the stress hormone that brings on cravings), and more weight gain. It’s a vicious circle.

If you know there’s a stressful situation or person that tends to push you over the edge, prepare yourself ahead of time for the stress that will inevitably come. Even the simple awareness that a situation that prompts you to overeat is on the horizon can help you brace for it and lower the chances that you’ll give in.

Calm your stress with lower-calorie comfort food. Forget about that salad – you could eat several cups of it and still want a cheeseburger. Keep your desk and your home stocked with healthier substitutes that will actually satisfy your stress cravings, like granola bars with chocolate chips, or a hearty vegetable soup that’ll hit the spot when you need something warm and comforting. Or, when only that cheeseburger will do, be smart about it and order one that doesn’t have loads of high calorie extras (yes, we do mean that you should still avoid that triple-bacon triple cheeseburger with the side of large fries).

Also, take a gym class. Why? One of the best stress busters is exercise. Studies have repeatedly shown that adding a little movement to your life can improve mood, reduce anxiety and stress, and, of course, burn calories.

The Food Over-Analyzer

Did you know that even “healthy” foods–some of which offer many benefits–can still be calorie disasters?

Fix It:

Don’t believe marketing tricks. Read every food nutrition label and decide for yourself whether or not something makes sense for your calorie budget. Also, stop categorizing foods as “good” or “bad.” Eating an apple does not make you a “good” person any more than eating a cookie makes you a “bad” person! Also, don’t forget that words like “organic,” “sustainable,” and “grass-fed” do not necessarily mean “low in calories.” Being good to the Earth doesn’t automatically mean you’re making good choices for your waistline.

Even be cautious of healthy calories. For example, almonds are well known for their nutritional power–and they certainly are a high-protein snack that delivers a nice dose of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. But if you eat just 1/2 cup of almonds, you’re taking in 400 calories.

Also, remember that you’re human. You’re going to slip and eat something you shouldn’t at some point. The important thing isn’t giving in to temptation – it’s learning your lesson and trying harder to make better, healthier decision overall.

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