7 Diet Mistakes and Fast Fixes
"I drank too much last night"
Most of us don't dance on the table after a few Long Island Iced Teas — we
eat everything on it. Why? The body doesn't register liquid calories, so even
if you drink 500 of them, you'll still crave food. When Pennsylvania State
University researchers gave people a caloric drink (such as fruit juice,
sweetened soda, or even milk) with a meal, the participants didn't consume any
less food when they sat down to eat. And neither did you — so now you have all
the alcohol calories to burn off, as well as a huge dinner.
Get some exercise. Taking a walk or a bike ride will shift your mind-set
from I am a colossal boob to I'm back in the game! A reminder
from Dr. Wyatt: "You haven't failed unless you continue the
"Never drink on an empty stomach," says Timothy Harlan, M.D., a
chef-turned-physician who also appears on the Food Network's Cooking
Thin. At parties, grab a handful of nuts (they're satisfying and healthy)
before you pick up a wineglass. If you're out to dinner, try to "sip your
wine slowly until the salad is served," Dr. Harlan adds. (And no, this is
not an excuse to hit the bread basket ... wait for something healthier to
Pace yourself. "In calories, one Long Island Iced Tea is the equivalent
of 26 fat-fried onion rings," says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of 10
Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet. So make sure you drink water or
seltzer — both zero calories — in between alcoholic drinks. Some numbers to
keep in mind while you sip: A 5-ounce glass of wine is around 125 calories; a
12-ounce beer is about 105 calories. A 1.5-ounce shot of alcohol (for,
say, Scotch or vodka on the rocks) is about 95 calories. A 3-ounce margarita,
about 170 calories. A 2.5-ounce martini, 175 calories.
"I ate a supersize fast-food meal"
Hitting the drive-through at Burger King once isn't such a big deal — the
problem is that if you do it one time, you're much more likely to swing by
again. And that's when the pounds really start to pile on. A 15-year study led
by researchers at the University of Minnesota showed that people who ate fast
food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than participants who had it
less than once a week. There were also health ramifications: The drive-through
frequenters had a higher risk of diabetes.
Savor your indulgence. "Splurges do happen," says Dr. Harlan.
"For some of us, it's fast food; for others, it's a big chocolate bar."
The trick is to focus on each and every bite — this is a treat, one you won't
be having tomorrow, so take the time to really enjoy it.