Magazine article Working Mother

No Excuses! A CAN-DO EAT RIGHT/GET FIT PLAN

Magazine article Working Mother

No Excuses! A CAN-DO EAT RIGHT/GET FIT PLAN

Article excerpt

The time is now.

For 10 years, she's put her own health at the bottom of her priority list. "I went back to work three months after each of my two kids was born, and I made a bargain with myself that all my free time would go to them," says Working Mother editorial director Jennifer Owens. "Now I see I've let my own needs slide. While I did power walk every other morning after my first was born, that slowly ebbed with the birth of my second child, the advancement in my career and economic changes that leftme with more financial responsibility."

Jennifer has a close-knit family and a job she loves, but the years of neglecting her well-being have lefther overweight, frequently tired and concerned about the example she's setting. "I can't put it offany longer. I need to show my kids that personal health is important. I haven't always been a good role model for that," she admits. "It would be an amazing giftto my family to create a lifestyle in which healthy eating and exercise are as ingrained as brushing teeth and reading every night."

To the rescue: a realistic food and fitness plan that fits Jennifer's nonstop schedule (can you relate?), designed with top experts: nutritionist elizabeth Derobertis, mS, rD, director of the Nutrition center at Scarsdale medical group in Scarsdale, Ny, and fitness trainer Liz Neporent, co-author of Thin in 10 and a spokesperson for the american council on exercise. Not a quick fix, this is a can-do program for the long haul. these strategies will help Jennifer swap out bad habits for smart choices that can become automatic and lifelong and allow her to achieve three goals: lose weight and keep it off; become more fit, more energetic and less tired; and make healthy eating and exercise a natural lifestyle for her family.

Food That Works

Jennifer should aim to lose about a pound per week by consuming 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day. Or she can reduce her current daily intake by 500 calories (or by 300 calories and exercising offthe other 200). "you can't rely on willpower," says Derobertis. "healthyweight adults don't have more willpower than overweight people. rather, they put an effective plan in place." Derobertis targeted the problem spots in Jennifer's day that thwart good eating and devised plan-ahead solutions.

Problem SPot 1: The Morning Rush Jennifer gets up at 7 a.m. and gets herself ready for work and everyone out the door by 8:30, when she walks her kids three blocks to school and then hops on the subway to her office. She eats nothing until about 10 a.m., when she has a chai tea and sometimes a greek yogurt at her desk.

Solution: Eat earlier and spread out your calories. "Women who skip breakfast often have trouble with food the rest of the day, often eating too much after dinner," says Derobertis. One way to eat less later on is to eat something in the morning. greek yogurt is a good choice because it's rich in protein, and many find they eat healthier overall when they start the day with protein. Jennifer needs to eat before she gets to work (even just a cheese stick or hard-boiled egg), have the greek yogurt at 11 a.m. and then eat something every few hours throughout the day to keep her metabolism going and control her appetite.

Problem SPot 2: Skipping Lunch because her workday is nonstop, Jennifer has programmed her work calendar with the reminder "Don't forget to eat lunch." Still, it's often 3 p.m. by the time she realizes she hasn't. by then she's ravenous and prone to making poor food choices.

Solution: Pack lunch and snacks. "bringing your food to work is the top change you can make," says Derobertis. "It can offer the best weight control results because it stops you from getting too hungry and making bad food choices under stress." One good choice: a basic sandwich with lean turkey, ham, roast beef or chicken. "One slice of these proteins has about 15 calories," says Derobertis. "Put three or four slices on two slices of 50- or 60-calorie bread, add mustard or a 35-calorie cheese spread (such as Laughing cow), and you've got a satisfying lunch for about 200 calories. …

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