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The question

I eat well all day, but I always lose my willpower after dinner. I really want to stop pigging out because I know I am sabotaging myself. Any tips?

The answer

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I get it! I have no willpower when it comes to Fudgsicles. I fully intend for a box to last for weeks but inevitably end up eating them almost instantly. My solution: Instead of buying a box, I go to the corner store and buy one. That way I don't deprive myself, but I am forced to exercise portion control.

I suggest that you don't bring trigger foods home. Instead, go on an excursion (preferably by walking) to get a single serving of your favourite treat.

Also, make sure that you don't let "eating well" turn into deprivation. If you don't eat enough throughout the day, you just set yourself up for failure. I know that I have the least self-control when I let myself get too hungry.

Eat well-balanced meals throughout the day. Consider an afternoon snack, especially on days you train after work.

Try to always have healthy and delicious food prepared at home. Keep cut-up veggies, beans or grilled chicken handy so when you do let yourself get too hungry, you can make a quick and nutritious meal.

To combat unnecessary post-dinner nibbling, try these strategies:

Use the "30-minute rule": Instead of eating have a glass of water. Then make yourself do something for 30 minutes. I usually become engrossed in the activity and forget about my craving.

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If that doesn't work, place yourself in the future, imagining how you will feel depending on the choice you make. I tell myself that if I overindulge I will be disappointed in myself. I will be happier if I eat mindfully.

If you still want something after both those steps, think portions, portions, PORTIONS. Have a small healthy snack or indulge mindfully. Have one cookie, not five. Use a small bowl or plate to hold your snack, not a giant dinner vessel. Don't nibble standing up, pick off someone else's plate or eat in front of the TV. Eat somewhere you can savour and enjoy your food.

Basically, healthier habits don't "just happen." Take the time to set yourself up for success.

Trainer's tip

Make sure you are properly hydrating throughout the day. Often when I mindlessly eat it is because I am mistaking thirst for hunger.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for over 10 years. Her website is kathleentrotter.com.

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