I'm not a big fan of diet books. Research on dieting has shown that even popular diets that produce quick weight loss are tough to stick to over time. To really shed weight and maintain the loss, you've got to make practical changes in your own eating practices that you can keep up until they become a habit. But I am a big fan of tips that help people make those practical changes, and as much as I hate the book's title, The Wall Street Diet (Hyperion) is full of them.
The book is aimed at the busy, stressed-out professionals who constitute author and dietitian Heather Bauer's clients. (I'm busy and stressed out, but I'm no Wall Streeter—and I found plenty of tips for my own life.) Though there are a few menu plans in there, she readily admits that most of her clients don't follow them. Instead, she gives them strategies for dealing with meals in real-life settings: business meetings, airplane travel, commuting, office parties, and the like.
For example, when it comes to dining out, Bauer says to make a decision before you even walk into the restaurant that you'll have just one of three possible treats: a second alcoholic drink (she already allows one per business meal), a piece of bread, or a dessert that's a couple of notches more healthful than a chocolate torte, such as fruit, sorbet, biscotti, or ricotta cheesecake. She also offers suggestions for food choices (order two appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entree) and, very helpfully, a list of ways to be a "stealth dieter" so that your food choices don't become the center of attention among your dining partners. My favorite: If you order a wine spritzer, everyone knows you're dieting; instead have vodka with soda on the rocks, which tastes nasty enough to keep you sipping slowly all night.
She also offers lists of the better options at restaurants you're likely to come across while traveling, as well as at specific airports (when in Minneapolis, head for the 360 Gourmet Burrito in Concourse M and order a teriyaki steak salad) and when flying on specific airlines (if you're flying United, she advises buying the turkey wrap and skipping the snack packs, unless you're really good at leaving some items untouched). And there's a whole section on how to fit exercise into a hectic day.
Have any of your own tips for eating well and working out on a busy schedule?