Quick Steps to Changing Your Eating Patterns
Observe your daily food intake. This does not mean count every calorie and nutritional value that you consume, it means be aware of just how much food you are eating. Analyse how many meals you have each day, roughly how big they are, what you were feeling before you started to eat and be critical about the kinds of food you are consuming. There are a number of reasons why we over eat, the size of the plate we are eating off, how long it has been since our last meal, emotional comfort and satisfaction, the list goes on. Becoming aware of our habits is the first step to changing them.
Notice how much food you need: Our stomachs are conditioned to our eating habits. If you eat 3 plates of food for lunch every day you body will become use to this routine and your stomach will modify to be able to receive it. I recommend eating slower, if you HOOVER your food down like a vacuum cleaner by the time the message gets from your stomach to your brain to say ‘hey I’m full’ you have already over eaten. Combine slower eating with reduced portion sizes (this doesn’t mean cutting your meals in half, see below) and notice the difference in how quickly you begin to feel full.
Find balance in your meal planning: portion controlled meal plans are a great way of finding balance in your diet. The base layer of our diet should include only plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried peas, beans and lentils, breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain). These foods contain many different nutrients and should make up the bulk of the food we eat. Eating a variety of these foods each day should provide good amounts of energy from carbohydrate, as well as protein, minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre. To get a great balance in your day, plan your meals around plant foods and…
1-2 servings of Milk or Yoghurt or fish or eggs or cheese or meat
1-2 servings of Oil or butter or margarine
Dont confuse Hunger for Thirst: one of our greatest habits is confusing our bodies desire for water with hunger pains. When you are feeling hungry have a large glass of water, wait for 5 minutes and then decide if you are still needing food. This does not mean ditch meals for water, just become more aware of your bodies messages. You should be consuming approx 8 glasses (2 lt) water per day. This keeps the body regulated, improves our immune system and flushes the toxins that we consume. Water is a great key to weight loss!
Large Lunch & Dinner makes 6 great sized meals: Try to spread your food intake through out the day. It will help to increase your metabolism and in turn burn more fat and supply more energy. If you split your two large meals into 6 small meals a day your body will not reach the point where it is famished and needs to gorge on a massive servings.
Eat Healthy… derrr! It seems common sense that healthy food will contribute to healthy lifestyles and waist lines, but just as a gentle reminder, here is the recommended food guide from Nutrition Australia
A few personal tips to make these steps a little easier.
- Carry a 700ml sports bottle of water with you everywhere you go, instead of reaching for a choci bar reach for your drink bottle.
- If you can fill it 3 times in the day you know you have had your daily intake!
- If water is a little bland add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
Good Support and Goals
- Be realistic when setting new eating goals, we have conditioned our bodies over years, don’t expect them to change over night.
- Dedicate to your new eating habits with a friend, partner, family member or colleague. When you have a support network that you can share your excitement, disappointment and achievements with you will find more satisfaction and persistence.
Modifying Food Intake and Portions
- When eating out dont just order meat and chips! Most restaurants and bistros have an excellent variety of vegetables and salads, remember to keep everything in moderation.
- Try eating from smaller plates, bowls and spoons. You should notice quite quickly the association between your mind and your stomach. You will feel just as full from a small plate compared to a large one, but you will be consuming less.
- Experiment with new cooking concepts by having regular dinner dates with your friends (get them to cook their favorite dish), eating out (try international cuisines) and searching online for your favorite ingredient and finding new ways to prepare it.