Do your knees or back hurt? If I promised you that eating less could bring you less pain, what would you think? Well, I'm pretty sure it's true in most cases.
January is a month of reflection, and many people set health goals. Eating less is a great place to start after a grazing the buffet and sipping cocktails during December. Setting some simple goals will result in weight loss over the next few months, and less stress on your back and joints.
Start with these10 simple changes:
- When dining out, understand that the portions are more than you need. Decide immediately that you are not going to finish the meal. Instead, take half home or have a house salad and share one meal or one appetizer with a friend. (Check out The Calorie Counter for Dummies® for information on the calorie and nutrient content of your favorite restaurant foods.)
- Keep a food journal for one week, and longer if you can. People who have lost weight and kept it off often write down everything they eat and drink. This is not obsessive, but responsible. It makes you accountable to yourself. If you know you are going to write it all down, you will be sure to analyze your hunger.
- Add exercise to your journal. Either schedule regular days and times that you will exercise each week, or look at your week on Sunday and plan the days and times you are going to fit in in. Fifteen to twenty minutes on busy days is great. Fit in what you can, and plan at least 2 days that you can spend 30-60 minutes exercising.
- Plan 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily. Recording your food intake helps you realize that you should have a healthy meal pattern. Eating 4-6 times a day keeps you nourished satisified and keeps your hunger under control (that is, you won't ever get "too hungry")
- Eat 'clean' food. Make choices directly from the food groups. An egg and toast, a bowl of oats; half a ham sandwich, vegetable soup, with an apple; a cup of yogurt or glass of milk, cheese with crackers; baked chicken with rice and green beans. Skip junk and overly processed food as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of water. If your urine color is dark, you are dehydrated. Think about taking a water break, and drink through the day.
- Get out the measuring cups. Go ahead and measure
your cereal for a few days. Get a good idea how far you should fill your bowl.
Measure some of your beverage glassware too. Glasses can be very deceiving and
fluid is an easy way to rack up extra calories if you are not aware how much
you are consuming.
- Fill up on fiber. By including vegetables on at
least a third of your plate, you will eat less of higher calorie foods.
- Read labels. Find out what “one portion” is
supposed to be and how your portions stack up. Never eat out of the bag or the
box, always pour out a single portion (of crackers, pretzels, chips for
instance) into a small bowl.
- Slow down. Fast eating leads to overeating and
that uncomfortable “I ate too much” feeling. Eating slowly allows your brain
the time it needs to tell you to stop eating because you are full and