Thank you to everyone who is entering the Stuffed giveaway this week! Obesity is a serious issue that we must deal with, and I’m thrilled to see your comments. I’m going to wrap up this obesity mini-series today with a short list of my 5 tricks to keep you on the right dietary track. Disclaimer: I am NOT a nutritionist or a physician. You should always seek your doctor’s advice when drastically changing your eating patterns. These are tips I use every day to stay healthy, happy, and full!
1. REDUCE PORTION SIZES.
Many of us are used to eating 3 large meals a day, and for some people, this works well! If you find yourself still getting hungry between meals, try reducing your meal size to half and introducing more between-meal healthy snacks. Soon, you’ll be amazed at how little food it takes to fill you up! At home, use smaller plates at meals. You won’t be able to load as much food onto it so the temptation to overeat isn’t there. At restaurants, divide your plate in half as soon as you get it. Only eat half of the entree and take the rest home for lunch/dinner the next day! If you can’t resist the temptation to eat the whole thing, ask for a doggy bag immediately. Load half of the entree into it, and push it away from you.
2. SNACK SMART.
First of all, don’t go grocery shopping hungry. You’ll purchase more junk food if you’re hungry. But, if you never buy that stuff at all, it’s not in your pantry later when you’re searching for a snack. Fruits and veggies make great snacks because they are loaded with fiber and other great nutrients to keep you feeling fuller longer.
3. GO THE EXTRA FEW STEPS.
Take the stairs or park in the back of the parking lot. If you don’t have time to get a good cardiovascular workout, these little steps can help increase your energy expenditure for the day. The increase will be tiny, but every bit counts!
4. LIMIT THE EMPTY CALORIES.
The jury is still out on which sweeteners are better for you, but we DO know that diet drinks have no calories! If you absolutely must have a soda, reach for the diet so that it doesn’t cut into your daily caloric allotment. Be careful even when drinking things you think are healthy. For example, Gatorade is packed full of electrolytes to help you recover after a workout…but it’s also loaded with calories. Most of us don’t work out hard enough to get such an electrolyte deficit to justify the extra calories in Gatorade. There is a lighter version now available, but your best bet is always WATER! It has ZERO calories and is essential for so many bodily functions!
5. INDULGE OCCASIONALLY.
Yes, indulge. Many diets and eating plans are too strict. They don’t allow enough freedom so we’re just setting ourselves up to fail. It’s OK to have a slice of cake at a birthday party! Make healthy choices for meals & snacks so that you can enjoy that sweet indulgence every once in a while. One of my favorite sweet snacks is a piece of a dark chocolate Hershey’s bar. It satisfies that sweet craving, doesn’t make me feel overly full, and has healthy antioxidants!
Ok, I’m going to get off my soapbox now. I can’t guarantee that I won’t get back on it sometime in the future though. Like I said, obesity is a huge problem in America (and many other parts of the world) so we need to start taking action! Do you have other tips for staying healthy & happy? I’d love to hear ’em!
And, remember, the Stuffed Giveaway ends this Friday at midnight. Don’t miss this great opportunity!