Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FitMommas Big Weight Loss Secret - Eat Less Food!

Okay, this could be a career ender for me right here, but I'm going to give you the big, weight loss secret that trumps all others - eat less food, exercise more.  Alrighty, my work here is done, we can all go home now.
(crickets chirping)

Oh, you're still here?  This "eat less, move more" theory isn't as easy as it seems?  Well, all joking aside, it obviously isn't, because look at us.  We, as a nation, are huge!  And it may just have something to do with the fact that we eat constantly!  Have you noticed this?  I referenced in my post yesterday about our extreme overconsumption, and in no area is that more prevalent than in the area of food.  We eat from sun up to sun down, we eat when we are not hungry, we eat when we're bored, tired, upset, happy, sad, up and down.  And we're teaching our kids to do the same.  My just-about two year old son eats all day, and I'm to blame!  I can't leave the house without half our pantry in small ziploc bags in case he has a Goldfish freakout in the middle of Costco.  

So what to do?  Nine times out of ten, it's all about portions.  That's right, folks, good ol' Portion Control will save you inches off your waist.  You can eat the exact same foods, just eat less of them, and you will lose weight.  Now, if you want to do an Ali-like transformation, yes, you will need to address what you're eating as well, but good health can be attained by simply eating less.  Here's some ideas to help.

1.  Only Eat When You're Hungry - I'm going to go out on a limb here with this crazy suggestion.  Don't eat if you're not hungry!  Hunger is a physical feeling in your tummy, not a mindless reach for the chips because it's 3pm and you're bored.  If you're bored, take a walk, call a friend, check your email, read a book to your kid.  If you're sad or angry, call a friend or write in your journal.  If you can't resist when someone else opens up a bag of chips, carry some sugar free gum with you, and pop it in your mouth.  No explanation needed, just say "No Thanks!"

2.  Learn What a Portion Is - Restaurants have seriously distorted our view of what portions are, and we are partly to blame for this.  We feel like we're getting a better deal when they bring out a bowl of spaghetti the size of the Colosseum.  But spend a few days in your pantry.  Read those labels, and find out that a portion of chips is not half a bag.  Dole out those portions, and learn what a 1/2 cup of rice actually looks like.  Also, use some handy non-food references.  Body For Life taught me to use the palm guide (not palm reader...).  When filling up your plate, only give yourself about a palm-sized portion of each item you're eating.  

3.  Eat Slower - One reason we eat so much food is that we've swallowed half a plate of food before it even hits our stomach.  We're a society on the go, and eat half our meals in the car or at the counter in about five minutes.  Be like the French, and sit back and relax - savor each bite!  Make eating an event, and slow down.  When you allow the food to reach your stomach after each bite, you'll find that feel fuller after eating less food! 

4.  Use Smaller Plates - When we registered for our wedding, I insisted on these awesome 12 inch white porcelain plates from Pier One.  I love them.  They also look really, really empty when I put normal portions sizes on them.  Surely that's not enough food, look at all that white space!  In turn, I've taken to eating more meals on our lovely salad plates.  It gives the illusion that I'm eating a full plate of food, and amazingly, it works!  

5.  Stop Cleaning Your Plate - Oh, your mom is so mad at me for this!  But seriously, stuffing your face will not help the starving kids in China, or anywhere else for that matter.  If you can't control the portions that are given to you, do not feel the compulsion to eat every last morsel.  If at a restaurant, ask for the lunch size portion, and if that's not an option, ask for the to-go box up front, and put half your food in it right away.  If you're with friends or family, Just Say No to more food when they start pushing.  Sing praises of the chef, but politely suggest that you simply can not eat another bite, you're full!  (Yes, they'll talk, but they're talking if you're overweight, too, so don't worry about it!)

6.  Ban the Buffet - Let's face it, we love to get a good deal.  And if I'm paying $9.95 for an all-you-can-eat, you bet I'm going to eat all I can!  So just don't do it.  HomeTown Buffet is now angry with me, but those just aren't good places to go if you're trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.  This also goes for big family gatherings, you know the ones where every bit of counter space is covered with some dish, and you just keep going back in for one more bite.   Stop lurking over the counters, and go sit in the living room and strike up a conversation with your Aunt Myrtle instead.

7.  No More Family Style - Along the same lines as Ban the Buffet, let's change what eating Family Style means.  Take the pot of mashed potatoes off the dining room table and keep it in the kitchen.  Make it harder to go back in for seconds.  If you really want more, you have time to think about it while getting up and walking into the other room - you may decide that you aren't still hungry after all.  If you really want to go gangbusters here, dish out everyone's plate, and immediately put all the food into tupperware.  Then you'll definitely have room for dessert!

And speaking of dessert, you'll find that if you aren't constantly eating all day long, you actually have a few calories to spare for a nice, small treat!  Rather than the extra large Blizzard, opt for a small cup of ice cream with nuts on top.  And sit back and enjoy!

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