Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why can’t I lose weight and keep it off?” Today, we are going to talk through the five biggest diet hurdles that many people face and the simple tips to overcome them.
Watch our G+ Hangout with Stefanie Painter, RD from Retrofit who explains more.
With food in our sights while walking down the street, in our office break room, or next to the cash register at the store, we are prompted to want to eat at any turn. Also, many times we will use food for comfort after having a stressful, long, or emotional day. However, our bodies do not know that we got yelled at by our boss, had back to back meetings, or broke up with our boyfriend. So, eating outside of hunger sabotages our efforts. When we have ignored what true hunger feels like for a long time, we have to retrain our bodies (and brains) to understand when and how much we actually should be eating for a healthy weight.
Think of a hunger gauge like a gas tank: On empty, we are the most hungry we have ever felt in our entire lives, like when you have had to fast for a medical test. At full, we are so stuffed that we can’t imagine eating another bite, like on Thanksgiving. These are the extremes that we need to avoid as much as possible. When you are feeling hunger (belly rumbling), then you are at one-quarter of a tank and it’s time to have a meal or snack. As you are eating, slow down and savor each bite so you can feel when you hit half of a tank. This is when hunger is gone. Four to five bites later, you will hit three-quarters of a tank and it’s time to be finished, no matter how much food is left on your plate.
Moderation vs Deprivation
Most diets require us to take something out of our food choices or make certain foods “off limits.” While this will create a calorie deficit and result in weight loss, it is not realistic for a long term lifestyle, especially because we are often forced to stop eating some of our favorite foods. Deprivation can quickly lead to disaster!
Make ALL foods part of our healthy eating plan! Yes, focus on the healthiest foods — fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy products, and whole grains, as your main choices — but plan for treats and heavier meals in your day or week. For example, if you love chocolate, have one small piece (of dark) every day so you do not feel deprived. If your favorite meal is a burger and fries, make that part of your weekly plan so you can enjoy it. No food is “bad” when we plan for it!
Produce, Produce, Produce
Fruits and vegetables are truly powerful foods. They are super nutritious, low calories, and crazy high in fiber. When we work on adding more produce into our life, we can fill up on lower-calorie, high-fiber foods and decrease our portions of higher-calorie foods. Plus, fiber is much harder for the body to break down, so our metabolism goes in to over drive to digest and use produce for fuel. This helps boost our metabolism and burn more fat.
Getting in more produce can be a challenge, especially when we aren’t used to eating it often. Start small… add a piece of fruit with breakfast, then some veggies at lunch and dinner, and lastly work on using fruits and vegetables as part of a snack. The ultimate goal is to have 50 percent produce at all of your meals and snacks.
Portion distortion is running rampant. Everywhere we go, bigger is better, but not so much for our waistlines. As mentioned before, one of the best ways to start to decrease portions of higher-calorie foods is to aim to make half of your meal or plate produce.
Another handy tip is to use your hands as a portion size guide. Put both of your hands out in front of you flat, fingers closed, thumbs tucked in, and touching. This is the appropriate portion of a meal for your body. Most restaurant meals, or even meals that we cook at home, are much larger than this. Pairing your hands as a portion size guide with listening to your hunger/fullness queues using the Hunger Gauge is a dynamic combo to keeping your portion sizes in check.
Planning ahead can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not so much about planning, but more about being prepared for whatever your specific challenge may be.
Thinking about diet hurdles you have faced in the past, how can some of these tips help you stay on track in the future?
By Stefanie Painter, a registered dietitian for Retrofit. You can save $50 at Retrofit with this coupon. #Sponsored
Imagine sitting at your computer telling a program what you want to eat and how many calories you want your meal to have, then hitting print and feasting on a pizza from your 3D printer. It’s not one of Willy Wonka’s prototypes, but a legitimate concept being developed by mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor and NASA.
Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, was recently awarded a six-month, $125,000 grant to develop the sci-fi printer, which could help eliminate food waste and worldwide hunger. The new technology could also help provide a sustainable food source for lengthy space missions, as the printer’s ingredients will have a shelf life of up to 30 years. It works by synthesizing a meal one layer at a time, using proteins, carbohydrates, oils, water, and powdered foodstuff.
Mechanically engineered food seems like a counterintuitive concept considering the prevalence of foodies and food porn, but Contractor thinks we need to change our perception of what we see as food. Experts agree the earth’s population will reach full capacity toward the end of this century, topping off at a standing room only 12 billion people. “I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” said Contractor. (more…)
Food is the one thing that always unites us – be it a celebration, a mourning, or charitable cause. Today, One.org is using food to unite the blogging community to help a cause we should all be hungry to fight – malnutrition. They’ve banded 25 food bloggers to share the sweet potato love today, and in doing so, help raise awareness of chronic malnutrition, which they say is, “a hidden killer of nearly 2 million children around the world.”
It’s something that mothers around the globe face for their children. We tend to immediately think of poor, underdeveloped countries – those scenes are stark and real and very much deserving of our efforts. It’s very much a domestic issue, too, but one we think isn’t possible right here in our own neighborhoods.
According to CharitySub.org, which made hunger its charitable focus last winter, one in seven American homes is considered food insecure, with one in four children living in food insecure homes.
One.org thinks we can reverse this trend with one little super food – the sweet potato. “We’re on a mission to make the sweet potato famous. Why? Because it packs a huge vitamin A punch, and it’s saving lives in Africa today.” (more…)
The National Letter Carrier Food Drive is the largest single-day food drive in the U.S., and it’s taking place on doorsteps across the country this Saturday, May 12.
This marks the food drive’s 20th anniversary of helping millions of American families in need with the help of thousands of local letter carriers.
The National Association of Letter Carrier’s Stamp Out Hunger President, Fredrick Rolando, says the need in 2012 is particularly staggering.
“Sixteen percent of all Americans are at risk of hunger – uncertain where their next meal may be coming from. That includes 1 in 5 children under the age of 18, plus 4 million seniors who are forced everyday to choose between paying a utility bill and buying food,” he said.
Rolando reported that last year, despite many obstacles, letter carriers were able to collect more than 70 million pounds of food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the history of the food drive to more than 1.1 billion pounds. (more…)
Of the many things I don’t remember about my time there as a 3-8 year old, one thing I do have a vivid memory of is walking down to a nearby park with my mom and sister to get a free lunch that was provided to families in the neighborhood who were going through particularly difficult financial times.
We weren’t starving, but the lunch certainly helped. And while some view programs like this is a handout, that isn’t always the case as they can be a great benefit to communities. Although not everyone agrees, this seems to be the case with a recent trend in schools helping out struggling families by feeding children an extra meal before sending them home for the day.
In light of the economic downturn, there have been a number of schools that have begun serving students supper in addition to the breakfast and lunch they’re already being provided during a typical day at school. (more…)