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Posts Tagged ‘diet and nutrition’

Overeating is easy to do, especially when you’re indulging in an unusually delicious meal. It’s also easy because there are many factors that cause us to overeat, including stress and noshing too fast—both of which we likely experience or do on an almost daily basis.

Fortunately, there are many tactics you can use to stop overeating once and for all, from slowing down to learning your body’s hunger cues. Use these tips to get your eating on track so you can feel fueled and satiated instead of full and frustrated.

Look Ahead

If you’re surrounded by unhealthy food all the time, it can be easy to eat all day long, whether or not you are hungry. Here’s one way to avoid this temptation: Think about how you’ll feel after you eat too much—like those times when you know you’re full, but there’s still food on your plate.

A similarly powerful tactic is thinking about how you’ll feel if you don’t eat the food. In almost every case you feel proud, happy and more satisfied than if you’d indulged unnecessarily.

Stop Once and For All: Before you grab the doughnut from your office kitchen—especially if you’ve already had a full breakfast—think to yourself: How will I feel when I finish this? Better yet: How will I feel if I walk away right now? Make this a habit, doing it every time you reach for an unnecessary snack; sometimes you’ll want to indulge and that’s okay. But you may find that you say “no” a lot more often than you say “yes.”

Eat Slower

It takes time for your stomach to tell your mind that you’re full because the process of feeling satiated takes time.

“Stretch receptors in the stomach are activated as it fills with food or water; these signal the brain directly through the vagus nerve that connects gut and brainstem. Hormonal signals are released as partially digested food enters the small intestine,” explains Ann MacDonald, a contributor to Harvard Health.

This process of sending signals from your gut to your brain can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes, which is why it’s important to eat more slowly. Eating too fast is a surefire way to overeat because we get this cue well after we’ve already eaten too much.

Stop Once and For All: The next time you eat, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how long it takes you to feel full, paying close attention to the cues your body is sending you. This will give you an approximation of how long it takes your body to feel full, which you can use to stop overeating in the future. Continue eating slowly until you notice that “I’m full” feeling. Note that those with type 2 diabetes may not get these same hunger cues, which makes this tactic less effective.

Eat Mindfully

In our on-the-go world, we’re often eating breakfast in the car, rushing through lunch at our desk, and half-heartedly noshing on dinner while watching our favorites shows. In all of these situations, your focus isn’t on the food you’re eating. It’s on driving, working or watching television, which can lead to overeating.

When you’re not paying attention to your body, it’s easy to miss the “I’m hungry” cue—just like when you eat too fast.

Stop Once and For All: Make a rule to eat at least one meal a day without doing anything else. Notice the difference in recognizing your satiation (feeling full) cues and how satisfied you are. Slowly increase this to two meals each day and eventually to all three.

Get Your Stress Under Control

It seems as though there’s always something stress us out, whether it’s a meeting at work or a family issue. This stress not only wreaks havoc on your body physically, causing everything from chronic high blood pressure and diarrhea, to headaches, chest pain and more, it’s causing you to overeat.

When stressed, your body releases cortisol, which also happens to increase appetite. Whether you’re hungry or not, your body is craving food, and to quell that “hunger” you eat. In many cases, you end up eating high-fat, sugary foods, making the overeating even worse.

Stop Once and For All: If you can’t reduce the amount of stress in your life right now, the next step is to recognize the potential for overeating and stop it before it starts. When stressed, rely on portioning your food, and when you go out to eat, get half of your meal put in a box for later before you even start eating. If you’re hungry for a snack, when you normally aren’t, check in with yourself: Is this stress or am I really hungry? Take Michael Pollan’s advice: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry.

Eat Before You’re Hungry

This idea may sound odd, but think about these two scenarios:

  • You eat dinner a little early, not because you’re very hungry but because you know you’re going out with friends and don’t want to order out—or you wait until you’re starving and eat post-drinks. You pour a glass of wine, browse the fridge, take your time making dinner, eat until you’re relatively full and then head out.
  • You decide not to eat before going out because you’re not hungry. You wait to eat dinner until 8pm, after you’ve gone out for drinks. Now you’re ravenous. You dive into your cabinets looking for whatever is easiest to make, and dig into the first thing you see. You eat so fast, you don’t realize how full you are—and now you’re stuffed and wishing you hadn’t eaten so much.

In the second scenario, you’re so hungry that you may be experiencing slight nausea or a headache from the hunger. But you may even eat unhealthier foods because you’ll likely eat one of the first things you find; forget about taking time to make a healthy dinner.

You may have similar experiences if you wait too long to have lunch at work, or eat breakfast late in the morning.

Stop Once and For All: Most people tend to eat around the same time every day. Set an alarm on your phone for an hour before you’d normally eat each meal so you remember to nosh earlier than usual. You’ll quickly find that you’re more likely to make rational healthy choices about what you’re eating and how much.

Give Yourself Time

How many times have you looked down at your plate, knowing that you’re full, and finished it anyway? When you’re done, you feel full and mad at yourself: Why did I eat the rest of that? I didn’t need it and now I feel like crap. It’s hard to resist food in the moment, thanks to our need for instant gratification. But giving yourself time to decide whether or not to finish the plate may be exactly what you need.

Stop Once and For All: The next time you’re in a moment where you would normally eat more, but know you shouldn’t, stop for 10 minutes. Give yourself time to decide if you want to eat the rest of the food on your plate. Almost every time, you’ll be happy to toss or save the rest of the food when your 10 minutes is up.

Pay Attention to All Your Hunger Cues

If you’re waiting for your stomach to growl, you may be setting yourself up to overeat, because we don’t all experience the same hunger cues. Sometimes it shows up as a headache or a bad mood that comes on suddenly. A nutritionist once said, “I always know I’m hungry when I’m happily working on something and all of a sudden I’m annoyed by what I’m doing.”

Knowing how hunger can show up in your body is key to recognizing it before it’s too late and you’re starving. Other potential hunger signals include:

  • Growling stomach
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Low energy
  • Suddenly irritable (“hangry”)

Stop Once and For All: Make note of which hunger cues you experience each time you eat. Slowly you’ll discover what means “I’m hungry” for your body, allowing you to eat right away rather than waiting until later, when you’re ravenous, and therefore more likely to overeat.

Stop Overeating

It can be so hard to say no when food is right in front of you—and so easy to ignore that full feeling and eat until you’re so full you literally need to lay down because it hurts to sit or stand. Stop the cycle of overeating once and for all with these simple tips. Test each one to see which works best for you and then stick with it. Once it becomes a habit, you’re more likely to say no when you’re full and indulge when your body needs the fuel.

JESSICA THIEFELS

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is the owner of Honest Body Fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, she specializes in HIIT and circuit training, teaching small groups and working with clients one-on-one to reach their fitness and weight loss goals.

Original Article Here

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16793654How often do you eat out? Once a day? Once a week? Rarely? Almost every meal? People who eat out more often, particularly at fast food restaurants, are more likely to be overweight or obese. However, you can still manage your body weight when eating out by making better choices.

To eat out without blowing your calorie budget, there are three things to think about:

  • What you are eating and drinking,
  • How much you are eating and drinking, and
  • How your meal is prepared.

Get started

What are you eating and drinking?

  • Check posted calorie amounts, and choose lower calorie menu options. Many restaurants post calories on menus, in pamphlets, or on their websites. Compare food and beverage options and think about how they fit within your daily calorie limit. For example, if your daily calorie limit is 1600 calories, think twice before ordering a meal with 1300 calories. Also, don’t forget about the calories from drinks, dressings, dips, appetizers, and desserts. They all count!
  • Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods. Focusing on smart food choices from each of the 5 food groups can help you stay on track at restaurants.
  • Think about what you drink. Ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, select options with fewer calories. For example, a frozen pina colada or margarita can have over 400 calories! You can check the calorie content of other beverages by going to Food-A-Pedia.
  • Watch out for desserts. Some restaurants are serving small portions of desserts, which can help decrease calorie intake. However, as a good rule, eat dessert less often.

How much are you eating and drinking?

  • Avoid oversized portions. A major challenge for many people when they eat out is being served large portions. Most people eat and drink more when served larger portions. To overcome this challenge, choose a smaller size option, share your meal, or take home half of your meal. For example, hamburgers can range from as few as 250 calories to 800 calories or more. Choose a smaller option with fewer calories.
  • To help you eat less when eating out, order from the menu instead of heading for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Many people overeat at buffets. Getting a plate of food, instead of unlimited access to food, may help you eat less. Don’t forget that you don’t have to clean your plate!

How is your meal prepared?

  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sauteéd. Avoid choosing foods with the following words: creamy, breaded, battered, or buttered. These words indicate that the food is higher in calories.
  • Ask for dressings, sauces, and syrups “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want. These sides are often high in calories – so don’t eat much of them.Stumbling blocks

Avoiding Stumbling Blocks

Concerned about making better choices when eating out? Below are some common “stumbling blocks” and ideas to help you overcome these barriers.

“I feel that I have to eat everything on my plate since it is there in front of me or else I feel like I’m wasting food.”

To control how much you eat, ask for a take home box with your order, and box half of the food up as soon as it arrives. This way you know that you will have saved on calories and also have a delicious lunch for the following day.

“I like to have a cocktail with dinner.”

Moderate alcohol consumption can be a part of a healthy diet. Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Don’t forget that some drinks provide a lot of calories. Many alcoholic beverages range from 100 to 400 calories each.

“I have heard that salads can be worse for you than a big meal!”

Salads can be high in calories if they have toppings like fried chicken, loads of cheese, and creamy dressing. To start a meal, choose a salad that is all vegetables, and ask for dressing on the side. For a main dish salad, choose one with topped with grilled or baked chicken, seafood, or lean beef.

“It’s a tradition now to get dessert after our meals when we eat out.”

Ask your friends or family to support your efforts to eat less by understanding that you won’t be ordering dessert. While they eat dessert, have a cup of tea or coffee. Have one bite of someone’s dessert if they offer to share. If fruit is available as a dessert option, order it without the whipped topping or sauce.

– See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/when-eating-out#sthash.1H5aboVU.dpuf

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What's Your Ideal Body Weight?To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. But it’s not always clear how to do that. For most people, a successful weight-loss plan has two parts: healthy food choices and physical activity. Understanding the balance between the two can help you lose weight more easily and keep it off!

According to the National Weight Control Registry, of adults who have successfully maintained their weight loss:

  • 98% have modified their eating habits.
  • 94% have increased their level of physical activity, especially walking.
  • 78% eat a healthy breakfast every day.
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

So you think you’re ready, but you’re not sure how to take that first step? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Start your weight loss journey using these 5 steps:

Set realistic goals.

Before beginning a weight-loss program, assess where you are today so you know what you need to improve. Learn your BMI to help determine how much weight you would like to lose to reduce your risk of health problems.

Set yourself up for success with short-term goals, like “I will make lifestyle changes which will help me lose (and keep off) 3-5% of my body weight” or “I will reduce the amount of times that I eat out each week from ___ to ____.”

Short-term goals like these can seem more achievable, and can, little by little, keep you on track toward your long-term goals. If the goal is too difficult, it’s harder to achieve and can lead to self-judgement and disappointment that can derail the smaller successes you’ve achieved.

Understand how much and why you eat.

Use a food diary or tracking app for a while to gain an understanding of what, how much, and when you are eating. If you tend to snack late at night or visit fast food restaurants several times a week, those might be opportunities to make healthier choices. Being mindful of your eating habits and aware of common roadblocks and excuses in your efforts to lose weight can help you set and reach realistic goals.

Manage portion sizes.

It’s easy to overeat when you’re served too much food. Smaller portions can help prevent eating too much. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving and how to keep portions reasonable.

Make smart substitutions to reduce sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.

Foods high in saturated and trans fat and sugar are often high in calories too. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite flavors. Learn to make smart substitutions instead. Learn how to reduce the added sugars in your diet with these infographics. Take the 21-Day Sodium Challenge to reduce the sodium you eat. Discover healthy snacks for between meals and fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods to help keep you fuller longer.

Balance what you eat with physical activity.

Most of us can agree it’s easier to take calories in than to burn them. The amount of physical activity an individual needs to lose weight can vary, but in the weight-loss equation, healthy eating and physical activity complement each other. Both are essential parts of losing weight and staying at a healthy weight. Physical activity is anything that gets your heart rate up. Learn the AHA Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults.

Tips to help you on your weight-loss journey:

  • You may want to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) to create a healthy eating plan. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a “find a dietitian” resource on their website.
  • Learn how sleep can affect eating and see if there are changes you could make in your sleep schedule.
  • If you feel you need more support, look for a weight-loss program that’s been proven safe and successful. Get personal support from a weight-loss group or buddy.
  • Aim for a gradual weight loss with healthy lifestyle changes until you reach a healthy weight.
  • If you have any heart conditions or you are experiencing symptoms of other chronic health issues, talk to your healthcare provider before starting a weight-loss or exercise program.
  • Include maintenance in your goals to help you keep the weight off.
  • Remember, these steps lead to life-long healthy eating. They are not a quick-fix diet.

Source: 5 Steps to Lose Weight

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16830095It’s the holidays and for most Americans, that means eating – lots of eating – followed by weight gain and a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

But why not take a healthier approach to what we eat during this holiday season and beyond?

According to a recent website survey, about 18 percent of people say it’s hard for them to eat healthy because they don’t want to stop eating their favorite foods. The good news is you don’t have to. You can still enjoy your favorite occasional indulgences, but in moderation. It’s all about being mindful of what you eat.

When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. Here are some tips toward a more mindful approach:

  • Control portions. Especially during the holidays, know that you’ll have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to deprive yourself, just eat smaller portions and less often.
  • Eat when you’re hungry. Just because the clock says noon doesn’t mean you have to eat. If you’re not hungry, wait until you are – just don’t wait until you’re famished because you might overeat. Also, don’t eat just because the food is available. Learn more about why you might be eating when not hungry.
  • Plan. Prepare healthy snacks throughout the day. If you tend to get hungry between meals, bring along a 200-calorie, whole grain, high-fiber snack. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Learn how a little planning helps your heart, and your budget.
  • Slow down. Enjoy each bite and put your fork down while chewing, then take a drink between each bite. This gives your body enough time to trigger your brain that you are satisfied (not necessarily full).
  • Pay attention. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer, or while standing in the kitchen or talking on the phone. When you do these things, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
  • Use technology. As we continue to become increasingly distracted by modern technology, our focus on health can fall to the back burner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can actually use our smartphones and other electronic devices to help us. There are now apps that manage food records, count calories, help you track what you eat and even provide guidance on healthy food choices at the grocery store and restaurants.
  • Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat, look at it, then identify why you ate it – was it hunger, stress, boredom? Then look for areas you can make adjustments and incorporate healthy changes. Keeping a food diary is really key to awareness. Most people are surprised at all they’ve consumed when they review what they’ve eaten.

Ready to get started? Download this holiday eating guide from the American Heart Association.

Original Article from American Heart Association

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There are a lot of viable ways to get fit or maintain that optimal physique, but did you know that coconut oil could one of the best things you could use?  That’s right: the saturated fats that are found in high-quality coconut oil may actually increase your general health over time.  In a world where the average consumer is inundated with weight loss and health improvement options, it may come as a relief to some folks to hear that something as natural as coconut oil could make all the difference.  While certain folks hear the word “coconut” and picture sunny beaches and tropical drinks, others are hearing the same term and instead becoming reminded of its incredible health-related properties.

The Truth of the Matter

You may have heard some bad things about coconut oil, but your source was mistaken.  If coconut oil were so bad for your health, then those cultures who have been using it would have some serious health problems.  The truth of the matter is: those who use coconut oil regularly are often healthier than those who do not.  Although the benefits may not be obvious to some folks, it is important to understand the value of a good source of saturated fats.

Coconut oil is typically classified as a “medium chain triglyceride” (MCT) which means that the fats within it are passed through your body relatively quickly.  In addition, these particular types of fats rush to the liver which turn the MCTs into a quick burst of energy for you as well.  At the end of the day this benefit could translate into a better working metabolism and ultimately a stronger body.

Other Benefits

Did you know that there are a lot more benefits to using coconut oil besides for simply improving your metabolism?  In reality, coconut oil contains robust amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well. On top of that, coconut oil is great for cooking because it does not go through oxidation as quickly as other cooking oils.  The slow oxidation makes coconut oil essential to removing harmful free-radicals and other toxins from the body.  These combined properties make coconut oil a wonderful addition to any recipe and are vital to healthy weight loss and fitness management.

Can Coconut Oil help with Diabetes?

Okay, so coconut oil is great for weight loss and fitness, but it is any good for those people who deal with type 2 diabetes?  The answer is a resounding “yes.”  Because coconut oil is turned into energy so quickly, it has the ability to help people manage their blood sugar levels more efficiently.  Over time, users of coconut oil could actually see their insulin sensitivity reduced to surprising levels.

What else should I know?

In our attempt to become optimally fit and healthy we often turn to some pretty desperate measures – ones which ultimately leave our bodies feeling the brunt of those bad decisions.  Thankfully, there are remedies such as coconut oil to come to the rescue.  Using a high-quality coconut oil in your recipes can help soothe any indigestion, all while lessening those cravings for sweets you may sometimes get.

Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is a spectacular ingredient that you would be wise to incorporate into your everyday diet.  Losing weight is one thing, but being able to improve your overall health in a simple way is essential to your longevity.  Be sure coconut oil is right for you by speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist for more information.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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Fitness buffs start year with boot camp at Lakeland YMCAIt can be difficult fitting exercise into the daily grind. People come up with so many excuses to keep them from a healthy lifestyle and staying active. Becoming one of the “fitness faithful” may seem out of reach, but guess what? It’s actually a lot easier than you think! Exercise has to become part of your daily and weekly habits and once it is, it’ll become second nature and just another part of your routine. Here are 4 easy ways to make exercising into a sustainable habit, instead of feeling like an occasional chore.

1. Have a Partner

You know those days where you just don’t feel like getting up and stepping out of the house? It becomes more difficult when you have a friend waiting outside, ready to go! Having a workout buddy helps to create a fun atmosphere and gives you someone to share your workout journey with. There are even websites, like sparkpeople.com, where you can get a virtual workout buddy and log/track your progress.

2. Create a Routine

Consistency is the key to creating workout success. Pick at least three days a week at a specific time where you are dedicated to your exercise program. Make sure not to cancel those trips to the gym on a whim, unless it’s something very important. But this should be the exception rather than the rule. If you have to cancel, reschedule for the same day at a different hour or the next day. Planning your workouts into your calendar, just as you would a dinner date or business meeting, will help form and reinforce a habit, leading you to overall fitness success.

3. Make Yourself Accountable

There are many different ways to hold yourself accountable to your actions, so the idea is to find one that is realistic for you. As mentioned above, having a buddy to go with you provides motivation on those days you feel less than motivated and can help keep the energy high. Does money motivate you? There is a website, stick.com where you create a commitement contract to yourself towards achieving a certain goal. If you don’t meet the goal, it costs you money, which you can designate to go to a charity if you chose. Another way is to create a daily reminder. Most phones have free apps that ask you if you have fulfilled a certain activity for that day. Or you can be traditional and just use a calendar. Either way, when faced with a “yes” or “no” question, it’s harder to skip your workout.

4. Reward Yourself

Come up with small rewards for accomplishing your goals and you will be more likely to succeed. Everyone likes positive reinforcement and a reward system will give you something to look forward to for accomplishing your workout goals. Pick something you like and reward yourself with it for good behavior. Say you like going to the movies. After every two weeks, if you haven’t missed a day, take yourself out to see a movie. You will begin to associate hitting your goals with getting to see the next blockbuster, which will help with overall success.

Habits can seem very difficult to form and break, but if you chop them up into smaller activities, they become easier to achieve. Follow these tips and you will be able to form new, healthier habits that will lead you to a life of good health and fitness!

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

Further Reading

Lack of Workout Time? Fitness Dilemma Solved!

Preparing for a Lifestyle Change

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turkeyYou’re surrounded. Mashed potatoes with gravy, fried chicken, butter, bread, chocolate, pie… and the list goes on! Let’s face it, the holidays are as much a time to spend with family and friends as they are a time for weight gain. It’s difficult to make the right decisions when faced with pressure from family, friends and just plain availability! When it’s right in front of you; saying “no” can be quite stressful and may even feel impossible. Here are some tips to get you through the holidays, even when that apple pie seems to be whispering your name:

Make Other Options Available

Not everyone wants to eat healthy. Some people may not be concerned about their diet, their health, or gaining weight during the holidays. If pushing healthy foods may cause a backlash, and nobody wants that at a family gathering, prepare healthy options to off-set all of the heavy, fatty food instead. If it’s your party, make smart substitutions, like baked potato wedges instead of fries and pita bread with hummus instead of chips and dip. If it’s not your party, bring a few side dishes that closer resemble what you want to eat. Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean people will ignore the dish you bring. It will just give them another option.

Consider a Cheat Meal, but Be Smart!

An occasional cheat meal for moderation and variety is part of a healthy lifestyle. And what better day to pick then on a holiday with everyone you love. Just be sensible; enjoying a cheat meal doesn’t mean all or nothing. Enjoy the foods you love in small portions and eat slowly to make sure you know when you are satiated. A good balance between healthy foods and cheat foods is a winning strategy. You’ll fill up on both and you’ll have the chance to try those foods you love, without over-indulging.

Eat Beforehand

One of the biggest diet saboteurs is going to a dinner party starving! People often lose sight of what they’re eating when they’re very hungry and it’s more difficult to contain portion sizes. If you’re hungry before you leave, have a light, healthy snack. You’ll be more satiated when you arrive, making it easier to turn down foods, even the ones you love. It will also help prevent mindless munching – eating just because the food is there.

The holidays can be a rough time for healthy eating, but if you follow these tips you can make it through without a problem. Enjoy your loved ones, enjoy the holidays and enjoy the food, just make the food the bottom of your list of priorities!

© 2013 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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