Is your January resolution to lose weight a dim memory now? Dont despair. Here are six ways to change your relationship with food and help you shed weight and keep it off.
Is your January resolution to lose weight a dim memory now? Don’t despair. Here are six ways to change your relationship with food and help you shed weight and keep it off.
1. Choose a Lifestyle, Not a Diet
Fad diets abound, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t work in the long term. Forget about dieting. Develop healthy eating habits you can live with for the rest of your life. Eat sensibly and in moderation. You won’t drop the kilos overnight, but neither will you feel too deprived. People who lose weight slowly but steadily are more likely to maintain their weight loss because they’ve changed their eating patterns.
2. Make Time to Eat
When your mother told you that skipping breakfast is bad, she was right. Start the morning with protein and whole grains, and you’ll likely eat fewer calories during the day. Eating three meals a day and healthy snacks in between allows your body to process food efficiently and rev up your metabolism.
3. Eat Slowly
Eat at a seat, not on your feet. Your stomach needs 20 minutes to feel sated and to send the “I’m satisfied” message to your brain. If you eat too quickly, by the time your brain catches up to your stomach, you’ve probably overeaten.
To stretch out your eating time, put your fork down between bites. Take small mouthfuls and chew thoroughly. Sip, rather than gulp, your drink. Play soft music to help you relax. Pause to decide if you’re still hungry halfway through your meal.
4. Eat Mindfully
Have you ever sat down with a super-sized bag of potato chips and eaten the whole bag without realizing it? Or cleaned your plate and been unable to remember what you ate? Most of us have, especially if we eat while watching TV, working, or trying to do 10 things at once.
Instead of eating on automatic pilot, focus on the food. How does it feel on your tongue? What does it smell like? A few slow, intense mouthfuls may be all you need. However, you have to stop and listen to your mouth as well as your stomach to find out.
5. Control Portions
The good news is you can eat your favourite foods and lose weight. The bad news is you have to limit portion size. Calories not only count, they add up quickly. One reason Europeans often weigh less than North Americans is they eat a wide variety of foods, but in smaller portions. “Supersize me” means just that–big portions resulting in big hips.
Think portions, not platefuls. One serving of meat is about 100 grams, the size of a deck of cards. A pasta serving is about half a cup. One fruit means a medium size, not a large. Check food labels. You’ll be surprised what manufacturers consider a “serving” when they give calorie counts–it’s probably half of what you think.
6. Plan Ahead
Keep healthy emergency rations in your bag, the car, or at the office for times when you’re on the run. Carrot sticks, fruit, whole wheat crackers, or a handful of nuts will tide you over until you have time to sit down and eat a meal.
If you’ve been invited to a buffet or fancy dinner, snack before you go to take the edge off your appetite. Begin your meal with clear soup or a salad (easy on the dressing) to fill you up. Sample the various foods rather than making a full meal out of each one.
Food is not your enemy, and losing weight isn’t about punishing yourself. It’s about substituting good eating habits for poor ones. Throw in nutrition, moderation, and planning, plus a healthy portion of exercise, and you’ve got the recipe for success.