After my second child was born, I went on an eating binge. Part of it was induced by stress. I was dealing with several work-related and personal issues. Food offered me comfort and I found myself mindlessly snacking to help ease some of my pain. The other thing that contributed to my overeating was that I really didn’t know how much I was eating. I often indulged in calorie-laden breakfasts, frequent business lunches, and too many sugary drinks. All of these things are fine in moderation, but I subscribed to the “eat, drink, and be merry” line of thinking. I ate whatever I wanted to and didn’t worry about the consequences.
The funny thing is that it didn’t really pay attention to my weight gain until I saw a photo of myself. My daughter and I were on our way to a father/daughter dance and my wife snapped a picture before we left. When she showed my the picture, I was shocked to see how overweight I had become. After that incident and a few more life changing events, I realized that I had to start eating better and losing weight.
Although I managed to get back to a healthy weight, I still struggle with maintaining it. But I know that the key to managing my weigh and overall health, is to control my diet. If you want to manage your weight, here are 10 ways you can do it by eating less.
10 Ways to Manage Your Weight by Eating Less 1 of 12
Use smaller plates 2 of 12
The size of a dinner plate has grown significantly over the years and we often feel compelled to cover every square inch of the plate with food. We can better manage our food intake by using smaller plates. Instead of an 11" plate, use and 8-1/2" plate. During my weight loss journey, I started using my children's plates. Although they were much smaller than the "adult plates," they allowed me to control my portions and reduce my tendency to overeat.
Have meals with your family 3 of 12
Eating meals with your family helps you to relax. The talking, interacting, and sitting around the table together encourages you to eat more slowly and engage with your loved ones. Place healthier foods such as salads and vegetables within everyone's reach to avoid pilling up on higher calorie options. My diet improved significantly after I committed to have regular family meals.
Slow Down 4 of 12
I love the scene in Ratatouille when Remy hands his brother a tasty morsel of food and his brother shoves the whole thing into his mouth and Remy says, "Don't just hork it down. Chew it slowly. Only think about the taste." I was like Remy's brother. I'd gobble down my food in record time without bothering to savor it. Since then, I've learned to eat more slowly and I stop eating when I feel full. Even if you have a short time to consume your meal, take small bites and eat more slowly. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.
Maintain a food journal 5 of 12
Maintaining a food journal was the thing that helped me to stay on track when I was trying to lose weight. I wrote down every single thing that I ate each day and I was surprised by how much I was consuming. You can track your eating in a notebook or use an online journal such as FitDay. There are several apps available that will help you track your eating too. My favorite is LoseIt. Although documenting your food choices may seem tedious at first, it will make a huge difference in your weigh loss journey. I still use this technique to help me maintain my weight.
Designate "No-Eat Zones" in your house 6 of 12
To combat mindless snacking, I have designated "No-Eat Zones" in my house." Food can only be consumed in the kitchen. This rule prevents me and my family from sitting on the couch and devouring a whole bag of potato chips while mindlessly watching TV. It also makes us more mindful about our food choices because we're not always seeking snacks that we can carry to other parts of the house.
Make unhealthy snacks less accessible 7 of 12
Obviously, the best way to resist unhealthy snacks is to not buy them in the first place. However, many of us enjoy eating indulgent snacks periodically. To prevent overindulging, make the unhealthy snacks less accessible. Place the snacks on higher shelves in the pantry or towards the back of the refrigerator. Keep healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts in the forefront.
Drink plenty of water 8 of 12
I know that you've heard this advice thousands of times and it may sound like a cliche. However, it is sound advice and will help you to eat less. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually experiencing thirst. Drinking water regularly helps us to feel full. The next time you feel the urge to grab a candy bar, pour yourself a glass of water instead.
Avoid eating in the car 9 of 12
Before I lost my weight, my car was a wasteland of fast food wrappers. I thought nothing of grabbing a burger and fries, while on my way to my next appointment. We all live busy lives and don't always have time to stop and eat a healthy meal. Therefore, our cars become mobile diners where we gulp down fast food. It may not be possible to totally eliminate this practice from our hectic lifestyles, but we can avoid it as much as possible. Try to eat before you get on the road or wait until you get to a place where you can eat something healthier.
Don’t eat everything on your plate 10 of 12
Many of our parents instilled in us the value of cleaning our plates. The point was the lesson was to teach us not to be wasteful, but this benign lesson has led to an epidemic of overeating. Instead of forcing yourself to eat everything on your plate, stop eating when you feel full. There is no need to stuff yourself just because you don't want to disappoint mom and dad.
Manage your stress 11 of 12
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