Hungry Girl: 6 End-of-Summer Tips to Get Your Diet Back on Track 


Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

Summer is winding down! Whether that means the end-of-summer vacation or just the end-of-summer indulgences, one thing is clear: It’s time to get back to the real world! I’ve got a few tips to get you back on track. Let’s do this!

Start now, not later.

“I’ll get back to eating right after Labor Day… or maybe after Halloween.” Why wait? You can always take a day off here and there! That’s precisely what makes a lifestyle change different from being “on a diet.” You eat well most days, occasionally indulge, and the world keeps turning. Embracing the 80/20 rule – eating healthy 80 percent of the time and cutting loose during that other 20 percent – can really help you reset how you think about what you eat.

Give your pantry, fridge, and freezer a makeover.

Dump the half-empty bags of potato chips, the leftovers from last week’s block party… whatever tempting bad-for-you goodies are lurking in your kitchen. Then plan out what you’re going to eat for the week. Hit the grocery store for smart staples and the fresh stuff you need. Make a shopping list, so that you leave with everything you need (and none of what you don’t).

Try a week of “clean eating.”

I’m not into hardcore cleanses or extreme restrictions, but eating really simple and nutritious stuff is a great way to reset. Think lean protein (skinless chicken breast, shrimp, egg whites, etc.), fresh fruit (always have a stash of grab ‘n go options, like apples), and lots of veggies. When it comes to carbs, go for fiber-packed kinds like brown rice and whole-grain pasta, but measure out your portions. And don’t forget healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, and avocados! Just keep those serving sizes in check. Wholesome basics are the name of the game. (Want some clean recipes? I’ve got a whole book of ’em.)

WATCH THIS: Richard Blais Turns an Avocado Into a Dreamy Chocolate Mousse

Eat at home more often.

You never really know how many calories are in that restaurant order. The cooks in the kitchen rarely care that what you order lines up with the calorie count printed on the menu; they just want you to like it. So take the guesswork out of your meal, and DIY most nights. And if you do dine out, the simpler the menu item, the better. Grilled fish with a squeeze of lemon and veggies on the side? Perfect.

Find exercise that you’re actually going to do.

There’s no sense in buying a 10-class series at the spin studio down the street if the very idea of mounting that bike makes you sweat. Telling yourself you have to run every day when you’ve never run once and enjoyed it? It’s not gonna happen. But if you know that you can get yourself to follow that workout DVD in your living room or go for walks every morning with your neighbor, that’s great! Start with the stuff you’ll stick to. My favorite? Housewalking!

Take it one day at a time.

We all have bad days. The ones where your schedule gets away from you, and you need to hit the drive-thru because there’s just no time. The ones where you’re exhausted and just need to order a darn pizza. Guess what? That’s cool, and it doesn’t send you back to square one. Just try to get back to eating normally the next day, maybe get in a little extra exercise, and don’t beat yourself up. Remember… 80/20!

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

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