Friday, January 31, 2014

Fitness Friday-How to Eat Intentionally: 3 Tips to Help You Have a Healthier Relationship with Food

 I have lost weight successfully for the most part by calorie counting.  It's mundane, it's exhausting, but it's teaching me how to value the calories in food and understand what is really in a portion.  Here are some tips I find helpful so you can avoid the counting if it's not your cup of tea and still train yourself some healthier habits.

1: Portion size-use a smaller plate!  If it's not counting calories and using a food scale while clutching your measuring cup set, then perhaps a simpler method might be helpful.  Eat off of a smaller plate.  You might have heard this tip before, but this picture really helps me illustrate it.  The other day we had mashed potatoes, flank steak, and peas.  I weighed and measured both plates, they hold the same amount.  Tell me that the plate on the right doesn't look full and the plate on the left doesn't look like it's a little empty, like it could use more food on it... Not to mention, going for seconds requires more effort than just piling it all on your plate in the first place.

2: Dish up plates in the kitchen and leave the leftovers there.  I don't know about you, but when I'm at my parents' place, I have 2 adorable dogs lovingly and longingly staring me down wanting food.  When I'm at my in-laws' their dog does a more subtle "I'll lay down next to you and lean on you" approach while wishing for food.  Sometimes the leftovers are like that too.  If you bring in that whole pot of mashed potatoes-above and beyond what you scoop onto your plate as a portion, they will stare you down!  I haven't done a scientific study, but I'd go out on a limb and say you're 50% more likely to have seconds if the tasty goodness is there in front of you, beckoning you.  Having seconds isn't always bad, but putting some distance between you will make you think twice and expend a little extra effort to go back into the kitchen to scoop up more.  Or, another alternative is to make extra veggies and only put those on the table for seconds.
3: As I was plating up the above pictured delicious meal, I had to take the lid off of the pot of mashed potatoes to scoop up.  My first instinct was to put the lid back on to keep it warm.  But this is when I made a decision to eat intentionally.  I knew I had enough potatoes on my plate.  I knew I made extras so that I could put some in containers and send with my husband to school during the week.  If I'm going to put it in the fridge then I need it to cool down.  When my brain connected this train of thought, it became one of those silent victories where I was proud to leave the lid off of the pot-to intentionally tell myself "You have enough".

Maybe start by using just 1 of these tips if you need to take baby steps.  Retraining your habits is like losing weight-it doesn't happen overnight!

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