FEATURE FRIDAY: Food Fight!
You know not to eat junky breakfasts, vats of fries and sugary snacks. But straight-to-your-thighs food has a way of sneaking into your everyday life. So, outsmart it before it attacks. No more extra poundage!
So you wake up, spring into the shower, throw on some clothes and grab a donut on your way out the door. By 10:30 a.m., you’re starving again so your lab partner offers up half her bag of Cheetos. Lunch rolls around and, trying to be good, you choose a salad. Still, you can’t help snagging a handful of your BFF’s fries.
After school, you zoom home for some couch time-and a glass of milk with cookies. For dinner, the family heads to their fave Italian joint’ cause it’s chicken parm night. You get home and check your e-mail-no word from your crush about this weekend’s dance. Nothing a bowl of caramel can’t cure.
Whoa, girl! While this example maybe extreme, just two trip-ups can lead to an extra 600 calories a day. Even if you’re moderately active, that can add up to an extra five pounds in a month. Yikes! No fear. Outwit it before it happens….
SNEAK ATTACK Eek, you hit “snooze”…again. Who has time for breakfast?
SMART DEFENSE You do! Donuts may be dee-lish, but they are fat and sugar bombs. It takes no time at all to dump some cereal into zipper bags on Sunday. Come Monday, grab a bag and a little carton of skim or low fat milk. Who needs a bowl? Just pop a handful, and chase with a swig of moo-juice. Why is cereal your smart choice? A recent study, following more than 2,000 girls ages 9 to 19, found that girls who ate cereal only occasionally had a 13-percent higher risk of being overweight compared to the girls who were avid cereal munchers.
SNEAK ATTACK In the middle of the school day, a friend offers you a handful of calorie-loaded chips.
SMART DEFENSE Just because food is up for grabs doesn’t mean you should eat it. Matter of fact, research shows that when we are blindly offered fatty food vs. making our own choices, we don’t really register it in our brains as being fat or calories. So it’s doubtful you’ll remember your midday Pringles when you reach for fries later-a double no-no. Often starved late morning? Plan ahead, and bring a piece of fruit to school.
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SNEAK ATTACK Those extra fries on your friend’s tray that are calling your name…
SMART DEFENSE When you’re hanging out, it’s easy to ignore your body’s messages (“I’m Full!”) and forget why you didn’t order your own fries (fat city!). If you were strong enough to pass ’em up in the lunchline, keep that in mind once you sit down. Don’t let cafeteria gossip distract you from good food choices.
SNEAK ATTACK Come home. Drop books next to door. Grab remote. Flop on couch. Open box of cookies. Repeat tomorrow.
SMART DEFENSE This is another double whammy. Not only does eating in front of the TV make you less mindful of how much you’re consuming (was it two cookies or six?) but associating relaxing with cookies trains your brain to want more chocolate chippers. “When you combine a certain pastime over and over with eating, you go on autopilot,” says Miranda McMillan, a dietician in Connecticut. What to do instead? Replace the TV trance with something that doesn’t involve food (like reading GL in the tub!). Even better? “Grab your iPod and walk the dog when you get home,” advises McMillan. “Not only will that save you calories, but it will burn some!”
SNEAK ATTACK Eating out is a special treat-and look what’s on special…
SMART DEFENSE Warning: Most restaurants are hazardous to healthful eating. First, they have lots of extra goodies you probably wouldn’t get at home (that cheesy garlic bread? 150 calories a slice). Then, there are the proportions-often way more food than you would serve yourself. Plus, your parents are forking out dough so they don’t want you to waste the food. Meet your new pal: the carry out container. Ask for an extra plate when you order. When the food comes, dish out a normal serving, then ask for the rest to be wrapped to go. No temptation, no wastefulness, no problem.
SNEAK ATTACK You failed a test/fought with your BFF/ didn’t get asked to the dance. Time to drown in Cherry Garcia.
SMART DEFENSE The connection between emotions and eating is strong. Chowing when you’re sad, anxious or angry (instead of just hungry) can set you up for a lifetime of weighty challenges. Instead of reaching for food the next time you're feeling down, reach out to a friend, family member or counselor who can comfort you. We love ice cream as much as the next girl, but knowing people care about you is a whole lot better.