Eating Free’s success is based on the emphasis of behavior change and lifestyle modification to truly keep the weight off when you lose it. What makes me proud to help people with Eating Free is due to its 84% success rate with weight maintenance. Even after a year, people still keep the weight off due to these positive behavior changes they’ve made. Those 16% of people that gain weight back have gained weight due to extreme stressors in their life. By continuing to prioritize yourself and your health, you can keep the weight off even during times of high stress. Let me tell you a story about a return client….

I recently had a client return after 2 years. When I originally worked with him, he had lost his goal weight of 20 pounds. Upon returning, he had gained the weight back due to the following stressors: a change in job where he was now travelling to Europe twice a month for a week, he had a second child, and his family moved to the suburbs which resulted in a 2 hour commute to work. These additional stresses in his life were the culprits of his change in habits. He was skipping breakfast (one of our core principles), he was not eating frequently (another core principle), and he was drinking more in the evening as a form of winding down from a long day at work. He was not prioritizing himself. Thus, the 20 pounds crept back on in about 8 months.

After meeting with him, we instantly decided to get back the core principles of eating a hearty, high-fiber, high-protein breakfast and eating every 3-4 hours. We discussed some breakfast options that would work with him and his busy lifestyle.

Option #1 (when at home): a serving of high-fiber cereal containing 5 grams of fiber or more, a cup of milk, ¾ cup of blueberries, 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed, a light string cheese containing 3 grams of fat or less.

Option #2 (when on the go): a container of Greek yogurt, a banana, 6 almonds/4 walnut halves, a slice of toast (containing 5 grams or more of fiber per serving) with a piece of Jarlsberg lite cheese on top.

Next, we discussed how easy it could be prepping the snacks on a Sunday for the entire week or just bringing the entire box of crackers and bag of cheese (he is able to exhibit portion control) and divvy the food out throughout the week at work. This way, the snacks could control hunger levels so that when he ate lunch or dinner, we wasn’t starving and was able to eat smaller portions and make healthier choices.

Last of all, I remind my clients that alcohol can add to calories consumed. Our liquid calories are always so sneaky. Therefore, for this particular client, we talked about having alcohol on the weekends or one night during the week to keep it under 7 drinks per week. Good day or bad day, by prioritizing your relaxation and health, you can find other forms of de-stressing at the end of a long day without a glass of wine. His form of de-stressing: drink tea and watch his favorite TV show.

Remember: During times of stress or busy schedules, you still need to prioritize yourself. Stick to that breakfast and snack routine and make sure to have some form of daily relaxation that does not include food or drink but includes something you enjoy and are able to do at home. 

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, is a nutrition coach at Eating Free who cooks with love and loves to eat.

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