23 Apr
2009

Ten years ago, Karen Nitkin had a bedtime routine that was making her fat. Instead of sleeping, she would head to the kitchen and scarf down pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, frozen Snickers bars, and spoonfuls of peanut butter. Today, the 32-year-old resident of Tallahassee, Florida, is 40 pounds thinner, sleeps like a baby—and still eats Ben & Jerry’s.

Her secret: She stopped starving herself.

After gaining 40 pounds during her freshman year of college, Karen was desperate to fit back into her smaller-size clothes. So she started dieting.

For breakfast, she’d eat a small bowl of cereal with skim milk. Lunch would be a small salad with just a dollop of dressing on the side. For dinner, she’d have a plain baked potato.

She’d struggle through the day, feeling hungry nearly all of the time. Late at night, hunger pangs would get the best of her, and she’d raid the fridge.

The next day, she’d vow to do better. Breakfast would be a grapefruit; lunch, a carton of yogurt. Still not eating enough food during the day, Karen continued to binge at night. And the more obsessed she became with losing weight, the more she gained.

After graduating from college, Karen got a job as a newspaper reporter and met the man who would become her husband. Together, they took long walks, played tennis, and went for hikes in the woods. “Once I realized that he loved me despite my weight, I was able to start loving myself,” Karen says. “I stopped obsessing about every bit of food that went into my mouth.”

She began eating sensible meals—a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, maybe some pasta for dinner. Fruit and yogurt became snacks, not meals.

By eating healthful foods in sensible portions, Karen felt satisfied rather than hungry. Her nighttime binges soon ended, and the weight started coming off.

But Karen hasn’t forsaken Ben & Jerry’s. Only now, instead of eating a whole carton, she dips out a small amount and gives the rest to someone else.

WINNING ACTION

Don’t forbid yourself the foods that you love. Like Karen, one of the most important lessons that I needed to learn was how to enjoy “forbidden” foods without bingeing. Telling yourself that you can’t eat certain foods

is a sure way to set yourself up for a binge. If you follow the principles of my Ten Commandments of Weight Loss on page 1, you’ll learn how to eat in moderation. That may sound foreign now, but you can change.

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