In other words? “Drinking makes you more likely to eat sh*t,” Dr. Seltzer says, referring to drunk foods. At the same time, he stops short of asking patients to quit alcohol cold-turkey to lose weight. Plus, research suggests you don’t have to, as long as your intake is moderate—i.e., less than about a drink a day. “If you drink a glass of wine every night and notice you eat more afterward, eat less early to account for this,” he says. “Or, if you’re drinking four glasses of wine a week, drink three instead so you’ll won’t feel such a big difference.”
Ironically, I was exploring another diet dimension myself at the time—raw foods. I was eating tons of fruit, nuts, and other cool, uncooked delicacies. Although I felt fine in sunny California, when I went to snowy, cold Manhattan to appear opposite Kathleen Turner and Jason Biggs in The Graduate on Broadway, it was another story. After a few days of work, my body felt cold and my energy was low, but I was determined to stick to my raw regimen. Between rehearsals, I would go out into the winter weather to hunt down wheatgrass juice, pineapples, and mangoes. I found them—it was New York, after all—but I wasn’t feeling all that good. My brain didn’t want to know, but my body was giving me signals that I was out of balance.
While it’s good to be aware of portion sizes on nutrition labels, why not flip them to your benefit? For example, instead of a bowl of ice cream with a few blueberries, have a bowl of blueberries with a spoonful of ice cream. While one cup of ice cream has more than 250 calories and not much in the way of nutrition, one cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Or, instead of a plate of pasta with some veggies, have a plate of veggies with some pasta. A mix of steamed or roasted cruciferous vegetables works great with a smaller amount of pasta. Not only does this ingredient swap cut the calories in the dish, the additional veggies provide nutrients like fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
Setting the right goals is an important first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just that one goal: weight loss. However, the most productive areas to focus on are the dietary and physical activity changes that will lead to long-term weight change. Successful weight managers are those who select two or three goals at a time that are manageable.