I’m nudging you now, because many people have the tendency to put this off. As in, “I’m going on a surfing trip next week and I can’t be seen looking like this” A crash diet to take off a couple of pounds in a week might make you slightly less self-conscious in your board shorts, but if you really want to make some headway before swimsuit season, the time to start is now.
Posts tagged: eating habits
One key to maintaining a healthy weight is to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. But that’s sometimes easier said than done.
Balancing your calories sounds deceptively simple. Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight. Take in fewer calories than you burn and you’ll shed some pounds. Keep your “calories in” and “calories out” about the same, and your weight should stay pretty stable. So why is it that hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t complain to me that they’re “exercising like a madman, but not losing any weight” or, “eating like a bird but the scale won’t budge”? It simply boils down to this: when it comes to counting calories accurately – the ones you eat and the one you spend – there are so many ways it can go wrong.
Think keeping a food journal is a waste of time? You might want to think again. Study after study consistently tells us that self-monitoring – that is, keeping track of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how much you weigh – is one of the key components to successful weight loss. In a recent review of 22 studies1 on the subject, the authors concluded that, across the board, there was “a significant association between self-monitoring and weight loss.”
What the studies tell us is that when you’re accountable to someone – not just to yourself, but also to a healthcare provider, a life partner or a friend – you greatly improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off. And, the more often you keep track, the more successful you’re likely to be. In one study involving nearly 1700 people2, those who kept food journals six days a week lost double the weight of those who kept food diaries only once a week or less.
January is all about resolutions and “turning over a new leaf”. So all this month, we’re talking about the big nutritional benefits you can get from making just a few small changes. Now let’s take a look at ways you can start to eat less without leaving your tummy grumbling.
We started with little adjustments you can make when you’re buying food, and in the last post I suggested some ways in which you could make changes in the way you prepare your foods to shave calories and make them healthier. You might already be reaping some benefits if you’ve been trying to make these changes – and you may even be thinking that there isn’t a whole lot more tweaking you can do. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but a little fine-tuning in the way your foods are served can also affect your food intake, too.
Do you remember the New Year’s resolutions you made last year? Let me guess…. if you’re like most people, you probably vowed to eat better, get more exercise – and maybe floss more often. So, looking back, how did it go? Did you accomplish all you set out to do? Or, did you start the year out strong – then fall back on your old patterns, so that you’re making the same resolutions again this year? This may surprise you, but I think that’s okay – and here’s why. If you make the decision every January to shape up, it says that taking better care of yourself is important to you. If it weren’t important, you wouldn’t keep working at it. And just because you make the same promises to yourself every year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t accomplish anything last year.
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Do you remember the old nursery rhyme about Jack Sprat who ate no fat, while his wife “could eat no lean”? As the tale goes, things with Jack and his wife worked out pretty nicely – he ate his foods, she ate hers – and between them, they “licked the platter clean”. But what happens in real life? How do couples work it out when one person needs to lose weight and the other one doesn’t?
Our bodies send clear signals telling us when to eat and when to stop – but are we listening?
I was talking with a new client the other day and I asked her to describe her appetite. She thought for a minute, then told me, “I can’t really say that I ever get hungry.” She ate frequently throughout the day (maybe a little too frequently), and on a fairly set schedule. So she relied on the clock – not her hunger – to tell her when it was time to eat. And when I asked her how she knew when she’d had enough –that it was time to stop eating – she was completely stumped. “I don’t have a clue,” she said. “I’ve never really thought about it.” Read more »
I’ll never forget a patient I had many years ago. I was taking a diet history from her, and asked her what she usually ate in the morning. “Oh, just some tea, and bread with jam”. For lunch? “Another cup of tea, and bread with jam.” Same for her afternoon snack. And the same for dinner, too – except she’d add a piece of grilled chicken. She knew how to cook, and she told me that finances weren’t an issue. So why such a limited diet? “Well,” she said, “I just really like bread with jam.” Read more »
Most of my clients know the healthy eating drill pretty well – keep your fats down, eat plenty of fruits and veggies, make most of your grains “whole” and focus on low fat protein. But many of them have adopted some eating habits that they truly believe are healthy – and I have to spend some time trying to convince them otherwise. These eating habits sound like they’re healthy – but they really end up being less so when they’re put into practice. Are your eating habits as healthy as you think they are? Read more »
Some of the most challenging clients I have are the ones who have a lot of weight to lose, who need a complete diet and lifestyle overhaul…and who take me to task on every suggestion I make. Pack a lunch instead of going to the drive through once a week? “Can’t – no time in the morning”. Get up a half hour earlier to take a walk? “Nope – too tired”. Get rid of the ice cream in the freezer? “No can do – I keep it there for the kids”. Mind you, I’m not asking them to make all these changes all at once, but some people really resist even the smallest change. Sometimes they’re afraid to fail, or they feel the sacrifice is too much. Sometimes, the rewards aren’t readily apparent. So when someone has a lot of bad habits that need to be broken, the best thing I can do is to try to help them prioritize – and work on the easiest things first. Read more »
It looks as if the obesity crisis in America isn’t going away any time soon. In its sixth annual state-by-state survey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently reported that the incidence of obesity among adults has doubled – or nearly so – in 17 of the 50 states over the last 15 years. What’s even more staggering is that 20 years ago, not one state reported an obesity rate higher than 15% – now, obesity incidence tops 15% of the population in all 50 states.
Yes, we’re not as active as we should be, and we eat too much – but why has our calorie intake gone up so much in recent years? High calorie foods, bigger portions, and more frequent eating contribute, to be sure – but a recent study1 attempted to tease out which of these factors have contributed most to America’s problem with girth control.