Is Your Personality Making You Fat?
Change your behavior: To tip the scales in their favor, excitement seekers don't need to order plain, sauce-less, steamed everything when they go out to eat, says Keri Gans, RD, a nutrition counselor and author of The Small Change Diet. Instead, Gans suggests finding healthier ways to take risks—like ordering your dish punishingly spicy or sharing the most exotic, unpronounceable item on the menu with friends. If you happen to be one of those people who can sneak out of work for a mountain bike ride or a climb (Coloradoans, we're talking to you), go for it. You'll want to keep exercising as you get older, because the NIA study found that compared with other personality types, those with this excitement-seeking trait are vulnerable to greater weight gain over time.
Change your behavior: Identify the things you're powerless to resist: The office candy jar, the croissants at your local café, the pizza place on the drive home—and then do whatever it takes to avoid temptation, Gans says. Switch up your routine. If this isn't realistic, Gans suggests creating distractions. Find a health-conscious coworker (not another candy junkie) who's leaving the office at the same time you are and strike up a conversation to keep your eyes and mind off the jar of temptations. Or pick up some healthy takeout before you pass the pizza place. Whenever you can, eliminate the opportunity to make last-minute decisions that involve food.
Change your behavior: Gans says that the trick for these personality types is getting them to eat even when they think they don't have time. She recommends that they stock their homes and offices with portable, nutritious, filling snacks, so they always have something on hand to prevent them from getting too hungry and making bad choices. Her tried-and-true favorites: 23 almonds or 49 pistachios in individual-serving-size bags, six-packs of yogurt and low-fat string cheese.
Change your behavior: Good news, sweetheart: Gans says that you won't do any damage by eating an ounce of chocolate a day (that's three chocolate kisses). Really adore sweets? Get creative by microwaving semi-healthy S'mores (substitute half a banana for the marshmallow) or enjoy sundaes with frozen yogurt, fruit and nuts. Share the love by making an extra one for your cubicle-mate. If your healthy eating plans are derailed by a friend who had a bad day and wants to split a pint of ice cream, Gans suggests a different kind of deliciousness: Take her out for a pedicure instead.
It's 2 a.m. Are you a) sleeping b) finishing the book you're reading, the book you're writing or the Hogwarts-shaped cake you made for your kid's birthday?
We know that not getting enough sleep throws off our metabolism, interferes with our ability to know when we're full and causes us to seek comfort and stimulation in fatty, sugary snacks. The obvious solution for the sleep deprived is to get more rest. But night owls who do their best work after hours (and the overextended who need to squeeze in a few more hours of work, sewing kids' costumes or catching up on Mad Men) need to be a little more creative.
Change your behavior: Gans says that the biggest challenge is to recognize when to eat meals and when to stop snacking. She usually sees people putting off eating for most of the day because they're not hungry at normal meal times and then taking part in an all-night snack-a-thon. She recommends three regular meals, starting with breakfast every morning—even if your morning is 11 a.m. and you're not starving, have a granola bar, a cup of yogurt or a piece of fruit. Don't worry about eating dinner later than other people, she says, because it's not when but how much you eat that determines weight gain. If you know you're going to be up for a while after your last meal, double up on fiber (whole wheat pasta, barley, legumes), which will help you stay full.
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