- It is easy to break a diet when operating outside your normal routine, experts say
- Vegetables are an excellent appetizer option when dining out
- Before indulging in a junk-food snack, ask yourself if it will make you feel better
You know how it goes: on any given day you carefully plan out your diet-friendly fare, only to find yourself face-to-face with cookies on the conference table or a friend's stupidly large nachos order (and does she have to keep pushing it to your side of the table?).
"Being on the go takes you out of your normal routine, which makes food mistakes more likely," says Diane Carbonell, who blogs about her 150-pound weight loss at Fittothefinish.com. But, she adds, you can make a battle plan so you're armed to resist temptation.
It's a strategy that has helped these diet bloggers shed between 34 and 150 pounds each -- and stay on track. Their tricks are often tested in their everyday lives, so you know they work.
In the office
"I come in with yogurt or a granola bar. If I don't take the time to bring a snack, I'll be tempted to fill the craving in another way, like running to the bakery for a cupcake."
-- Jennifer Dome, lost 45 pounds; stellarfashionandfitness.com
"If your co-worker breaks out a bag of mini candy bars, ask yourself, 'Am I going to feel better if I have one?' This makes you get into the habit of saying no (and then saying yes only if you really want it). If you ask yourself that question, you realize that you can say no and move on."
-- Annabel Adams, lost 150 pounds; feedmeimcranky.com
In the kitchen
"After dinner, I always clean up the kitchen and turn off the lights. I was a huge nighttime snacker before I lost the weight -- cookies, ice cream, you name it. Seeing that light off is a stop sign signaling that I'm done for the evening; the kitchen is closed."
"I make my house a 'safe zone.' I don't bring home any food that will be tempting. I also make it easy on myself: As soon as I bring groceries home, I immediately cut up fruit so it is readily available."
-- Shelley Bowman, lost 110 pounds; myjourneytofit.com
"I bought 40 big glass pickling jars with gaskets for all of my dry goods. So when I go to make meals, I can see my lentils, my black-eyed peas, my wasabi peas, my nuts. Having those good ingredients right there, ready to go, really does keep you from preparing something bad for you."
-- Lisa McRee, lost 34 pounds; theskinny.us.com
While grocery shopping
"I start in the produce section; shopping the perimeter of the store first gives me a nice layer of healthful food in my cart. Then, I'm so inspired by what's already there, I'm less likely to add something that's junky. It's a mental game."
"I try to never bring my husband and kids to the grocery store with me. If we all go together, they'll put a bunch of crap in the cart."
-- Josie Maurer, lost 38 pounds; yumyucky.com
"I used to sample all the desserts at parties and social events, but now I practice the 'rule of one.' If I want a small-size cake or cookie, I let myself have one so I'm not deprived. You're forcing yourself to make a conscious choice."
"If I'm going to a party, I always eat something at home -- a salad, or a 'skinny' crostini made with Wasa bread, tomatoes, feta cheese and olives -- because you never know when they're going to serve the food. It could be 10 o'clock at night!"
"I look at every social event like it's just another meal -- not a treat meal. I think to myself, 'If I wouldn't eat it in my own house, I don't eat it outside the home.'"
At a restaurant
"It's all in choosing the right spot. All my girlfriends know that I have a list of my favorite restaurants in my area with nutritious options. Even if it's a new place, though, there's really no excuse anymore, because you have access to resources at all times. You can search online, check out the menu and figure out what you're going to order before you even walk in the door."
"The first thing I do is scan what the à la carte vegetables are and order some for the table. People often forget to look at vegetable sides and consider them as appetizer options. I'll choose roasted Brussels sprouts or grilled asparagus, so we have something healthy to nibble on while we decide what we're going to order for dinner."
"At night, I often want something to nosh on, so I make trail mix: I spray air-popped popcorn with cooking spray and add low-sodium sea salt, dried cranberries, wasabi peas, a couple of baby pretzels and a few M&M's. It's only 120 calories! If I can have M&M's each day, I won't lose my mind."
"If I really want something before I go to sleep, I pour myself a cup of chocolate-flavored almond milk from Trader Joe's. It tastes fantastic, and it's a smart snack because it has a protein kick to make you feel full."