Even when we aren't at a birthday party with chocolate cake calling our names, are there really times of day when we all feel like kicking our diets to the curb and indulging in the nearest sweet treats? A recent nationwide study asked people when they felt most likely to ditch their healthy diets and the results from nearly 7,500 participants presented some interesting info. Women's Health set out to better understand this, then they created this plan to resist your four most tempting moments.
TEMPTATION TIME: Lunch
The likelihood of a midday feeding frenzy increases if you haven't eaten since the cup of coffee you called breakfast. A survey from Food Insight found that although 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal, fewer than half eat it every day. "Many women skip breakfast because they think it's a good way to save calories or because they feel like they are hungrier all day long when they eat first thing in the morning," says Alyse Levine, R.D., a nutritionist in Los Angeles.
Stay-Strong Strategy: Even if you're not skipping breakfast, you may be skimping on what you need nutritionally to power through until lunch: namely, protein, which tends to be digested more slowly and therefore keeps you full for longer. According to an NPD Group survey, half of the top 10 foods Americans eat for breakfast contain no substantial amount of protein. Women who do load up on the nutrient at breakfast (about 20 to 40 grams) are less hungry throughout the morning and consume fewer calories during lunch, according to research presented at the Experimental Biology conference of the American Society for Nutrition.
Some suggestions from Levine for increasing your early-morning intake: Have your morning cereal with Greek yogurt, parfait-style; add protein powder or a tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothie; make oatmeal with nonfat milk instead of water and top it with a quarter cup of nuts.
If you don't have the time or desire to eat a lot first thing, have a healthy mid-morning snack (say, when your appetite feels like a 5 out of 10 on the hunger scale—not ravenous). Try a quarter cup of trail mix or one ounce of cheese on whole-wheat crackers.
TEMPTATION TIME: The Afternoon Lull
If you feel as though you hit a mental and physical wall every day between 2 and 6 p.m., you're not alone. A likely explanation: According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body experiences a natural dip in energy in the early afternoon (the time depends on your individual sleep habits). As the energy you got from lunch begins to wear off, you may start to feel restless and head to the fridge for a quick snack lift. Not so coincidentally, this may also be the first time you've left your desk since lunch (if you even left it then). "It may be more about needing a break than actually needing food," says Levine.
Stay-Strong Strategy: Learn to recognize the difference between true hunger and just a desire to recharge. When you have the urge to snack, pop over to a coworker's office for a chat first. If that doesn't distract you after five minutes, you may be in need of a nosh. Even then, Levine suggests a no-eating-at-your-desk rule. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate while multitasking at their computers felt less full afterward and later ate twice as many snacks as those who weren't distracted, because they "forgot" about the multitasking nosh.
To learn more about other tempting times of day, click here to read the original article by Women's Health!