The following are some good guidelines to follow for getting your diet on track….number 6 is my favorite!!
1. Eat only when hungry. Those of us with children know it is nearly impossible to resist “helping” them finish their meals. A good plan to help with that is parallel eating, have fruit or something that won’t make you lose control while your child is having ice cream. The “self serve” rule is also a good one. Instead of leaving the cookies or chips on the table, make a rule that you take what you want then put the package back. It helps curb “grazing”
2. Eat a healthy breakfast. People who skip breakfast tend to overeat at their next meal. For me, making sure that I eat a “filling” healthy breakfast. For instance I can’t just have cheerios; because if I do I’m starving about an hour later. However if I add a banana to those cheerios, I’m feeling fuller longer.
3. Eat only foods with ingredients you can easily pronounce. Go with what you know, but remember that just because you can pronounce white flour and butter-doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
4. Focus on your food. What this means is don’t multitask. So no Facebook, Twitter or TV while eating. This doesn’t allow you to focus on your body’s signals that you are full. Some researchers show that to be conscious of taking your time eating, you should set a timer for 15 minutes and take that long to eat. Sometimes this will mean that you don’t clean your plate-which is a good thing, it means that you really aren’t that hungry.
5. Eat every three to four hours. This is good for the habitual “grazer”; otherwise following your hunger cues is the way to go. Eating when you are truly hungry and following your recommended calorie intake is far more important than eating on a schedule.
6. Track Every Bite. We are all great at keeping track of what we’re eating…at least for a few days, and then we all slack off figuring we’ve got it under control. A good idea to break out of this is reverse tracking. In the morning or the night before, write out what you are going to eat for the day and then simply “check” it off as you go along. It’s a sense of accomplishment to check items off a list. Give it a try!
7. Ask the server to pack up half your meal at a restaurant. A “serving” at a restaurant is generally at least 2 if not 3 “real” servings. So by asking your server to bring you a box right away and split your entree in half you are saving yourself from overeating! Too embarrassed to ask for that box? Split your meal with a friend. Some places charge a plate sharing fee-but look at it this way, it’s cheaper for you both! You are both eating smaller portions and saving some cash at the same time!
8. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Good news…you can actually SKIP this rule. There are plenty of diet don’ts tucked on the outskirts of the isles and there are some good, healthy alternatives waiting for you in those inner isles! Just don’t shop when you’re hungry or overtired, you make far better choices when you are well rested and full!
9. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Let’s face it, if you look at your recommended serving size of fruits and veggies for the day, most of us aren’t getting them. Even those that are “fruities” still can’t find enough time to get all those good for you foods in. However a way to sneak in extra servings or for those of us who aren’t in the veggie fan club, try using fruit or veggie juice with your breakfast. Or have some veggie soup for lunch. Try a low sodium type if the salt content gets you nervous.
10.Have 25 grams of fiber a day. I know 25 grams sounds like a lot, but if you really look at it, fiber hides in unexpected places (or at least they were for me). I love fruit, fruit contains fiber! Of course we all know that beans and whole grains contain fiber, but another alternative if you are having a hard time getting your fiber in, is oatmeal or snack bars that are fortified with extra fiber, some have up to 12 grams per bar. Heed the warning on that box, sometimes they taste really good and you want to have a few bars. Your tummy will thank you later if you practice self control with these!