After living on junk food during a long break, I finally set up a plan for healthy eating and aerobic exercise. I was feeling positive as I approached my target weight, but then I hit a hectic period of rehearsals and stopped losing. Now what?
—Jordan, Stamford, CT
A sudden onslaught of rehearsals can make it difficult to stay on top of what you are eating and when, but keeping a food diary for a few days can help you take stock of the situation. For instance, it's possible you might have skipped meals or snacks during this busy period. Dancers should know that going without food lowers their resting metabolism, making it more likely that they'll store excess calories eaten later as fat.
Set two or three realistic goals to help you get back on track. These need to be specific, such as "I'll eat every three to four hours" or "I'll ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes, three times a week." But remember to forgive yourself for occasional setbacks that may arise from longer work hours, the holidays or other life changes.
Finally, be wary of a quick fix. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people who lose weight gradually (about one to two pounds per week) and have adopted healthier eating and exercise habits are better able to keep the weight off.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.