ISSUE: Spring 2011
DEPT: Mind and Body
STORY: Anna M. Park
Talk about overachiever. Fitness model Natalie Minh is not only a three-time European Physique champion, she’s a photographer and has an MBA and a master’s in finance. So she knows how hard it is to eat right in a hectic, modern lifestyle. “The most challenging part of keeping to a healthy diet is time,” says the 31-year-old Vietnamese American. “The best weapon we have is better organization and planning ahead.” Here, Minh outlines the top three nutrition failures of busy women today, and how to fix them.
* Spur-of-the-moment eating. Not planning your meals in advance and then turning to the closest fast food restaurant when you’re hungry is a sure way to derail any healthy diet. Save a lot of time in your schedule by cooking your meals days in advance (I used to cook everything on Sunday night for the work week). Then pack the food in plastic containers and a large insulated meal bag. That way, you avoid turning to the vending machine when you feel hungry.
* Giving in to social pressure. Another challenge to good nutrition may well be your own social circle. “What, my food isn’t good enough for you?” or “C’mon, one bite isn’t going to ruin your diet” are lines I’ve heard. If you know in advance that the menu will be diet-un- friendly, tell your friends you have plans but will join them for some after-dinner socializing. Otherwise, look for menu items that are broiled, steamed, grilled or roasted; avoid anything creamy or fried. Be mindful of portion control — order a takeout box along with your meal, divide the meal to the correctly sized portion, and pack the rest.
* Too much, too fast. Every diet can be effective as long as one is realistic and consistent. The cabbage soup diet, the cayenne pepper and lemon water diet, or — my favorite — the Hollywood cookie diet are perfect examples of too-much-too-fast nutrition plans that are not maintainable. Instead of drastic deprivation, go for consistency. Plan to lose two to four pounds a month, and eat balanced meals of moderate to high protein, low carbs and low fat.
Learn more about Natalie at NatalieMinh.com.
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