You already know that a balanced, lower-calorie diet (along with regular exercise) is the basis of any sound weight loss plan. But despite our best intentions, we don’t always end up eating that lower-calorie diet! Distractions and busy schedules are two primary culprits. When you aren’t paying attention to what you eat, you also lose track of how much you eat.
So, the solution is to eat more mindfully, so that you keep track of every bite that you take. That sounds easier than it actually is, but these four tips should get you on the right track to more mindful eating.
Pay attention. It sounds obvious, but the easiest way to avoid distractions is to pay attention to what you’re doing. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and focus on your meal. It might seem counter-intuitive, but paying more attention to your food actually results in eating less of it. This is because many people accidentally overeat when they’re distracted.
Establish meal times. Decide when you’re going to eat your meals and snacks, and set an alarm to remind you (every four to five hours). The only times you should be eating is when that alarm goes off. If you reach a meal time and you don’t feel hungry, this is a sign that you’re perhaps eating too much at the previous meal. Practicing timed meals for a few weeks can teach you portion control, and how to recognize feelings of hunger and fullness.
Rate your hunger. On a scale of one to ten, with one being “ravenous” and 10 being “completely stuffed”, rate your hunger before each meal. Continue to monitor your feelings throughout the meal, and put your fork down when you reach a 6 or 7. You never want to eat until you’re completely stuffed. Also, make a habit of eating when you’re at a 2 or 3. If you wait until you’ve reached 1, you’ll be more likely to over-indulge.
Balance your meals. At each meal, include a healthy balance of fiber, fat, and protein. These are the nutrients that take the longest to digest, so you’ll feel full longer. Of course, when we say “fats”, we do mean healthy fats from sources like avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and so on.
These tips can help you pay attention to your eating habits. But of course, you still need to know which foods should be a part of your weight loss plan. Schedule an appointment with us. We can discuss your nutritional needs in greater detail, and get you started on a weight loss plan that really works for you.