You’ve done it. You’ve finally begun to get serious about health and weight control. Perhaps you’ve shed a few pounds or even quite a few. You’re feeling better. And then without warning, the pounds begin to assemble around your midriff again. Why? Chances are that while you did a fabulous job losing the weight, you may not have made the behavior changes that are necessary for weight loss. What changes do you and me and everyone who wants to lose weight need to make? Are they difficult, painful or stressful? No indeed. They are actually very healthy changes. these changes mainly involve thought and planning to avoid insidious situations in which we eat poorly or too much without even thinking about it.
Avoid buffet-style restaurants. Buffets almost force you to eat more because you want to get your money’s worth. The food is way over processed, over sugared, loaded with creamy, fat laden foods that can be made quickly to keep the buffet stocked. Buffets are a prime binge arena. My particular nemesis are Chinese buffets; I love the food. I have begun to eat more sushi, vegetables and seafood when we go.
Wait before taking a second helping. Parents know this old trick. You are making pancakes for the children. You serve the first as you make pancakes. Everyone says yes they want more pancakes but after they’ve finished and waited a moments, they realize that they are full. This works very well. Simply wait a few minutes after you’ve eaten. You will generally notice that you are full, even though you may have still felt hungry while you were eating. It takes some time for the food to reach the stomach.
Eat a vegetable salad first before your meal. A salad will obviously provide lots of nutrients like potassium, vitamin A and C, fiber and calcium. But it will also satisfy your hunger so that it will be easier not to overeat when the main course is served.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Skipping meals always puts you in a danger zone. You will invariably eat more than you need or want. And you will eat faster also. Eating 6 smaller meals per day is one of the healthiest ways to eat.
Avoid eating while you are watching TV, on the computer, at your desk or reading. If your mind is engrossed you will not notice how much you eat. Try to do nothing but eat when you eat.
Don’t eat and drive, work or keep busy. Our grandmothers’ always said, ‘your food won’t digest properly’ and they were right. And to we mom’s and dad’s who jump up and down all through to meal getting things, serving etc: stop. Either don’t eat with the family (not good) or sit down and eat with the family (much better).
Don’t eat alone. When we are eating with family or friends, we are more conscious of our choices. We ‘mind our manners’ better. Eating alone produces the binging, stuffing behavior. Even if you are alone, at least eat in a restaurant, park or somewhere where others are nearby and can see you.
Prohibit any unpleasant conversation when dining. The dinner table is not the place to solve problems, etc. Even ‘how was your day’ can be a loaded question if the day was not great. Negative conversation produces stress and anxiety. It takes the focus off from the food and fellowship. Begin neutral conversations. We played games when the kids were all at home. We’d go around and each tell our favorite book, ideal vacation spot, etc. Everyone gets a turn and there are no wrong answers.
Try to avoid rushing through a meal. It isn’t called the supper hour for nothing. Children should not be made to ‘hurry up’. As long as they are eating let them take their time. They are setting a good example for us type A folks who eat a full meal in under 3 minutes. This may sound impossible but it’s so much better for weight loss and good health to eat slowly and savour the food and the company.
Avoid frozen or microwave foods. No matter how healthy they are, there is something special about homemade food that helps us to eat more healthy. Try to serve attractive, appetizing foods. A home cooked meal says that you love the people that you cook for. You will eat more consciously because you can take pride in your work and feel self-respect.
Last of all, like yourself for who you are.