North Georgia Media L.L.C/Istockphoto
Problem: You're always finishing the kids' leftovers.
"We're all taught not to waste eating your kids' leftovers is an unconscious variation of the 'clean-plate syndrome,' " says Talamini. "The problem is, you end up consuming a couple hundred calories of food without feeling like you've even tasted the food or had a real meal."
Solution: Have a designated eating place, says Talamini. "Making a rule that youll eat only when youre seated at the dining-room table will help you avoid snacking over the kitchen sink."
Another strategy: Get your kids involved in your weight-loss efforts. Give them smaller portions and teach them to eat only until they are no longer hungry. (The goal: no more table scraps to tempt you.)
Another strategy:Try chewing gum while youre preparing meals and cleaning up. It's a great trick for keeping food out of your mouth!
Problem: You've picked up your husband's bad eating habits.
"Eating is such a social event, and we get so wrapped up in sharing the meal, that we sometimes forget that our husband's nutritional requirements are very different from our own," says Talamini. "Men are bigger, and they need more calories."
Solution: Serve him healthy food, too. If you're giving him the same big salads that you're eating and loading both of your plates with fruits and veggies, then you're automatically going to lower your calorie consumption even if you sometimes eat man-size portions.
Another strategy: Make it clear to your husband that you need his support. "If your husband always eats ice cream in front of you, say, 'I know you love ice cream, but it's easier for me right now if I'm not exposed to it. Can you have it when Im not around?' " suggests Talamini. This shows that you recognize that he has the right to eat what he enjoys, but you need him to respect your new healthy-eating plan.
Another strategy: Join him but give his favorite treat a healthy makeover. If you stock up on fat-free frozen yogurt in a flavor you both love, you can dig in together.
Problem: Eating out with the gang makes it tough to be healthy.
"Lots of moms find it hard to stick to their diet when theyre on the go because kid-friendly often translates to 'diet disaster,' " says Talamini. But with more fast-food chains and sit-down family restaurants offering healthier options, you can find nutritious items.
Solution: Plan ahead so you dont inadvertently choose the most fattening thing on the menu. "Check out the restaurants menu on its Web site ahead of time, and make your selection based on nutritional info," suggests Talamini.
Another strategy: Ask lots of questions. "Find out how the dish is prepared and look for red flags in the menu's language such as 'meat lover's' and 'supreme' that are code words for large portion sizes and extra fat," she says.
Another strategy: Always start with a big salad. "Not only will you eat less later in the meal, but you'll also feel more satisfied and not like you're on a diet!" Talamini notes.
Another strategy: Be vigilant about portion sizes. "A lot of times, people think they're making a smart choice by ordering the salmon entrée but the serving can be supersized and then you're eating an entire side of fish," she says. "It should be the size of a deck of cards."
Problem: You're too busy taking care of everyone else to find time for the gym.
"This is the number-one excuse I hear from most women. They have such packed schedules that they feel guilty about spending time solo working out," says Talamini.
Solution: Build an active lifestyle instead of trying to "fit in" exercise. Combine natural activity (things that are already a part of your day, like walking the dog), playful activity (fun things that you do with other people, such as playing with your kids) and planned activity (traditional exercise jogging, yoga, etc.), advises Talamini.
Another strategy: Break up the recommended 30-minute-a-day minimum workout into smaller, more manageable chunks. "Sneak in a 10-minute walk when you get up in the morning, during your lunch break at work and right after dinner each evening and you've done your daily exercise!"
Another strategy: Keep track of your good work. "Wear a pedometer," she says. "It's an awareness builder: Just seeing the number of steps you've taken will motivate you to walk across the hall at work, say, rather than writing an e-mail."
Another strategy: Don't look at staying fit as something that has to take you away from your family. "Combine physical activity with family quality time," suggests Talamini. "Don't go to a movie. Instead, take a walk or a bike ride with your kids. You'll burn calories while providing them with a positive role model!"
Problem: Your man always discourages your weight-loss efforts.
Keep in mind that it's often hard for loved ones when your appearance and behavior change. "It can be threatening because he might assume that youre asking him to get fit, too," explains Talamini.
Solution: Give him a role in your makeover. "Let your husband know how important losing weight is to you," advises Talamini. Then ask if you can count on him to play a key part in your efforts to shape up. Once he realizes how much you value his help, he'll be more likely to offer support from praising your progress to watching the kids while you work out.
Another strategy: Lead quietly by setting a good example. "Positive change tends to be catching," she says. "If he's being difficult, let him know that you'd love for him to join your healthy-eating efforts, but you understand that everyone makes change in his own time." Then remind yourself that even if he doesn't follow suit, he'll still come out a winner. "The healthier you get, the more you bring to your relationships with your husband and kids," she points out. "Everyone in your family benefits!"