With summer fast approaching on the horizon we can all use a refresher on a few ways to shed those extra pounds that might have crept up on you (ok, you know they did) over the winter. Put all the pumpkin spice everything down and keep reading for simple, realistic tips to come back from hibernation.
- Eat slowly. I know I’ve been guilty of wolfing down a meal on more than one occasion. In fact, I rarely have time to sit and eat a meal. With two small children and attending school full-time – I’m always on the go. That being said, there’s a mountain of evidence that would suggest I’d be doing myself, and my family, a big favor by slowing down at mealtimes. Dividing up my meals into smaller portions so that I can ‘snack’ on my food while doing other things is my best plan of attack. Making sure I completely chew and enjoy my food while I’m eating is another way to force myself to appreciate my food and eat more slowly.
- Eat smaller meals more often. I’ve got a confession to make. I skip breakfast, a lot. I usually regret it as I’m then starving all day and then gorge myself at night. Next thing I know I’m climbing into bed with a full stomach and then do it again the next day. I hate it and it makes me feel awful. Not just because I know better, and because it’s become a bad habit, but because I literally, physically don’t feel good. What I need to do is pre-make snack sized meals that can be taken with me wherever I go and left in a backpack. Small batches of granola, grapes, Luna bars anything with decent nutritional value that is portable.
- Choose a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. I know I like grapes, apples and bananas. Dragon fruit I’m not so sure about. Then one day I tried it and you know what? It tastes yummy! I’ve been lucky that when it comes to fruits and veggies, my adventures have been rather enjoyable. In fact, at the store today I purchased my first yam (sweet potato). The ‘fear’ of buying these foods I’ve never had before really lies in the fact that I have no idea how to prepare them. Finding a good online resource for cooking tips has really helped me get over my irrational issues with new and different cuisine.
- Eat smaller portion sizes. It doesn’t help that after starving myself all day I come home ravenously hungry. Eat a cow? Yes, I could do that! Do I really want to? No. Controlling how much I put in front of myself is the best way to keep myself from piling it too high, or eating the entire bag of chips before I even realize I did. Planning goes a long way here. I’ve seen these plates at the store, they’re usually for children, but they separate out the different areas of food to keep everything from running together. (For those of you with kids who are picky eaters – you know what I’m talking about.) These are a great idea for those of us that have a hard time determing how much is enough (since we feed ourselves whilst hungry). Meat goes in a small sized section. Veggies and fruit in the big one, and the side dish in the other small one. Since it might be humiliating to order a kiddy dish while out to eat, when out at a restaurant it’s a good idea to order a doggie bag with the meal. Put half (or more – I’m looking at you Claim Jumper) away so you aren’t tempted to keep snacking on it even though you know you’re full. Which brings me to my next point…
- Put food away when the meal’s over. Thanksgiving always come to mind here. The entire holiday is centered squarely on overeating for the entire day. This breaks the bank later when your clothes no longer fit right. The only good news is that you can keep them for Christmas when you do it again, but then when New Year’s hits we feel guilty and finally feel the reckoning. Really, all we had to do was stop eating before we felt full and then only graze on small amounts a couple hours later. Skip the pie (or at least the ice or whipped cream), and take a big helping of the fruit and veggies and skip the mountain high piles of mashed potatoes and stuffing drowning in gravy. Most of all, when dinner’s over, put the food away (or help grandma do it). It helps to put everything into doggie bags and allocate what goes home with who so that snacking later is more difficult once it’s already bagged up.
I hope these quick and simple ideas help you so that I see you out on the beach! Until then, stay healthy! 😉