In our “Super-Size” culture, most Americans have no clue as to what a “normal” portion is. Whatever it is you are eating, you must cut back on the portion size. Without getting into a lengthy discussion of “how many ounces of lean meat” and “how many calories” should be on your plate, you can downsize by simply not continuing to eat until you feel you can’t take another bite, but only until you feel just about full. Or better yet, put out your normal portion of whatever, and cut it in half.
Also, have a glass of water before and with every meal. Studies have found that drinking a glass of water before a meal reduced the amount of calories consumed in that meal by as much as 75 calories. That may not sound like a lot but 3 meals a day, 365 days a year, that’s over 82,000 calories or about 14 pounds on the average person.
It would be a great idea to cut out fast food from your diet altogether, but if that seems like a daunting task, try going every other day instead of running to the drive-thru for every meal, every day.
Skip the vending machine at work, and replace between meal snacks with veggies or unsalted nuts. Have your biggest meal mid-day, and a smaller meal in the evening, with a light low-fat snack before bed.
What About Dining Out?
What if you are a “Foodie”? Do you have to give up dining out? No – but consider:
• Asking for whole grain instead of white breads, with olive oil instead of butter
• Asking for skim rather than whole milk or cream
• Asking for your salad dressing on the side
• Asking the chef to cook your dish in olive oil rather than butter or other oils, and trim all visible fat from meat or poultry
• Ordering your dish steamed, broiled, or baked instead of fried, whenever possible
Control Emotional Eating
If you want to “eat right” to maintain a healthy weight, it is essential to start “eating to live,” instead of “living to eat.” In other words, you must control emotional eating. The biggest problem with so-called comfort foods is not only the between meal aspect of additional calories, but they are most often high-fat, salty, and sugary foods – that is what makes them “comforting” to the mind, but horrendous to the waistline.
Emotional eating is usually tied to the same three triggers: stress, boredom or fatigue. Here are some alternatives to reach for instead of that bag of Doritos.
Stress – Instead of eating to relieve stress, try meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Listen to some soothing music, or take a hot bath.
Low energy – If you find yourself reaching for a caffeinated drink, or chocolate bar for an afternoon pick-me-up, try some light exercise or taking a short nap instead.
Feeling lonely or bored – Instead of reaching out to food, reach out instead to a friend, call someone, take a walk to neighbor’s, or just go down to the local library or park – anywhere there are people, but try to avoid the coffee shop or the supermarket!