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5 Common Belly Fat Traps (and How to Avoid Them)

If you're putting on the pounds in all the wrong places, make these simple changes to get back on track—and get lean again.

If you're eating when bored or when glued to the tube, you're not helping yourself. Here are five ways to control your worst eating habits.

1.) PROBLEM: YOU'RE LOSING CONTROL WITH YOUR BUDDIES

Solution: If you're hanging at your place, spread out some baked chips and salsa. If you're a guest, bring some. Ordering out? Opt for chicken tenders instead of wings. They've got more protein and hold the barbecue flavor. When you've almost had enough to eat, reach for a piece of gum.

 

2.) PROBLEM: YOU'RE SNACKING LATE-NIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TV

Solution: If you must munch, prepare smaller plates and eat only at the kitchen table, not the couch (DVR your show). Also, buy individual-size portions of your favorite snack foods and stash them in the back of the cupboard or fridge. The harder it is to get at the food, the less likely you are to devour it.

 

3.) PROBLEM: YOU'RE CRAVING JUNK FOOD AT THE OFFICE

Solution: Stay on a regular eating schedule. Bring your own healthy lunch and snacks, like nuts or fruit. For work lunches, set the tone by ordering first, selecting a salad or soup to start followed by a lower-calorie entrée. And just say no to the bread basket.

 

4.) PROBLEM: YOU'RE STUFFING YOURSELF AT FAMILY DINNERS

Solution: Break with tradition. Bring a low-cal dish, but don't make it too healthy or it will attract unwanted critiques. Pile your own plate with fruits and veggies, then take only small portions of the entrees you really love. If your relatives get on you for not eating as much as you "should," ask for a doggie bag.

 

5.) PROBLEM: YOU'RE PIGGING OUT AFTER A WORKOUT

Solution: Eat something beforehand. A combination of protein and carbs will prevent your blood sugar from dipping so low that you're tempted to eat more calories than you burned off. A slice of whole-wheat bread with all-natural peanut butter and a banana is one great preworkout option.

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