Consider new ways of eating

Some of the easiest and simplest strategies to portion control, appetite management, and appropriate mindful eating.

It DOES make a difference what you eat and drink out of. 

  • Want to drink 25-30% less juice, soda, wine or other beverage, without even noticing it? Simply use a tall, skinny glass instead of a short, wide glass. A project at Cornell University found that everyone poured more fluid into a short, wide glass, even experienced bartenders!
    • Drink out of tall, skinny glasses
  • Get rid of dinner plates, and replace them with salad plates (8-9 inches across). When you place the same amount of food on a salad plate that might look lonely on a dinner plate, the mound of food tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more (even though you may be
    4eating the correct portion of food). It increases satisfaction without the extra calories.

    • Eat all meals out of salad plates
    • Eating on a blue plate results in eating less
  • While we are getting rid of things, get rid of serving dishes on the table. When there is extra food sitting around, easily accessible while we may be socializing at the table, it is simply TOO EASY to keep eating even though we may be full.
    • Ditch serving dishes. Put food directly on salad plates to be taken to the table, with no unnecessary access to seconds.
  • When you get really serious about training your brain to eat appropriately (not mindlessly), limit the places where you eat so that your brain associates food with a certain place, with appropriate cues for eating.
    • Eat only while sitting down at your designated eating place. That means no mindless tasting while cooking, “shopping” in the pantry or refrigerator and munching there!  If you are going to eat it, put it on a plate, sit down at your “eating place”, and eat it.
    • Eat only from your specific salad plate.
    • Office is for work; TV is for viewing;  car is for transportation.  No eating in your office, car or while watching TV.  (Soon, you will notice that you no longer associate food with these places, and you are healthier for it).
  • Retraining the brain to eat less can take many forms
    • This suggestion is hard core . . . eat everything with a utensil. Yep, cut that sandwich in small bites and eat it with a fork.  Boredom may set in to deter your eating the second half!!! Yes, an apple can be eaten with a utensil. . .
    • When you feel hungry, had you ever thought that you might be thirsty instead? Drink a full glass of ice water, wait 10 minutes, and if you are still hungry, then go ahead and eat.
  • Want to boost your metabolism for several hours?
    • Drink 16 ounces of ice water within minutes of awakening. The body expends calories just to warm the water, and hydration (necessary for fat-burning) is begun for the day.
  • Change the way you eat to make eating more
    • Visualize what you are going to eat BEFORE you take a bite. Look at your food. Allow yourself the time to smell your food.
    • Then take a bite. REALLY taste it. Notice the texture of your food.  Notice how the tastes develop in your mouth.
    • REALLY enjoy your food.
    • Eat until there is a natural “pause” in your eating. During that pause, consider whether or not you wish to eat anymore.  You COULD eat more,  but are you really HUNGRY for more?
    • Reflect mindfully on the food that you just ate, and thoroughly enjoy the memory of eating appropriately.

What new ways of eating have you used that have been particularly helpful to you?  Please click on the “Leave a Comment” link next to the date at the top of the blog under the headline. I’d love to hear from you!

By Dailey Grainger, PhD, ARNP, founder and CEO of Next Health Now, a Nurse Practitioner in the forefront of helping make America healthier.

 

Write it down BEFORE you eat it

Brains are habitual organs, and those habits that you want to ADD (and undesired habits you wish to alter) can be increased/minimized if you “fool” your brain into thinking it is hardly changing, AT ALL.  Somewhere between the 12th and the 20th time that you do a new behavior CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY, it becomes a natural habit. Each time you replace an undesired behavior with a desired one, the undesired habit weakens.  But until the brain “recognizes” that this is a new habit, it tries to retain the old pattern. Gently train your brain to do write a listwhat YOU want it to do.

Write down what you eat BEFORE you eat it.  This uses a different part of your brain…to decide what to eat prior to eating.

  • Visualize the food in your mind. (Closing your eyes and focusing inwardly on what you have decided you are going to eat)
  • Decide just how much you are going to eat.
  • Write down the food, amount and, if desired, the approximate calorie count, amount of sodium, saturated fats, etc., or any other ingredient-item of interest to you.
  • Then slowly eat your food, savoring every bite or swallow. Don’t put the next bite into your mouth until you have completely chewed, swallowed and ENJOYED the last one.  Yes . . . this DOES take a while!
  • This applies to everything that passes your lips (munching while deciding what to eat, nibbling while you are cooking, licking that spoon ALL count as FOOD TO BE RECORDED!).

Research shows that people who write down what they eat prior to eating it, lose twice the amount of weight as people who don’t write down their food.

Using a different part of our brains in decision-making increases the inner resources we have….that inner ability to be more in control of our behavior.  You can feel good about making these very small changes that will help you reach your goals.

After awhile, you will notice that you are NATURALLY eating more MINDFULLY, slower, and actually ENJOYING your food more.  You will also notice that you will remember to pick up that pencil PRIOR to eating.  I remember long ago that I wrote down 2 chocolate chip cookies, and as soon as I saw that, I was vaguely repulsed, and marked through the “2” and wrote “1” instead.  Just seeing that I had made a healthier choice helped me remember that incident…enough to share it a decade later with you.

Have you ever kept an Eating Diary?  How did it work for you? Please click on the “Leave a Comment” link next to the date at the top of the blog under the headline. I’d love to hear from you!

By Dailey Grainger, PhD, ARNP, founder and CEO of Next Health Now, a Nurse Practitioner in the forefront of helping make America healthier.