By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Want to feel more satisfied after meals? You can, if you put your mind to it.
Eating mindfully, which can mean everything from simply noticing what you’re putting in your mouth to practicing stress reduction techniques to help end stress eating, can really help. When you become a more mindful eater, you savor, enjoy, and remember fondly each bite and sip of your meal. The end result: You’ll feel more satisfied and less likely to rummage around for more food.
In a recent University of Southern California review of 21 mindful eating studies, 18 of them helped improve in eating habits, cut calorie intake, and reduced bingeing.
There are entire books on the subject, so I won’t attempt to cover every aspect. Instead, here are my top five strategies; they work for me—and have helped people who’ve come to me for nutritional counseling.
- Identify why you’re eating or drinking. Is it because you’re actually hungry? (Rating your hunger for a week can be an eye-opener.) Or are you eating because you’re bored, stressed, or have another emotional trigger? Is it just habit (as in “I always have a 3 p.m. snack.)? Name the reason without judgment or guilt; these negative emotions can stress you out, driving you to overeat even more.
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You would think that after losing over 100 pounds, getting in the best shape of my life, maintaining it for 5 years. becoming a weight loss coach, motivational speaker and published author on the book “Fat Boy to Fit Man: A One Step at a Time Story of Success“, that it would be easy for me not to revert to old habits, right? WRONG!
Although it has become some what easier for me than when I first started on this journey, there are still times that I fall prey to the desires of wanting to eat mindlessly. (Eat mindlessly. HA! Who am i kidding? Pigging out is really what I want to do sometimes.)
Just last weekend, my fiancee and I went out to meet some friends for brunch. That morning I had gone to the gym and done an intense work out. Shortly after I arrived home and showered we left for our Sunday brunch. I was STARVING, yet I didn’t eat anything post work out because I reasoned that I was going to have a nice meal at brunch. BIG MISTAKE! Before we even got to the restaurant, my stomach was growling and I was about to chew my fiancee’s arm off! (Ok, I’m exaggerating. I was just going to nibble on her ear!)
1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
2. a severe lack of food
3. a strong desire or craving
Those are the dictionary definitions of hunger. But what does hunger really mean? If you break hunger down to the most basic definition, what is it?
A medical definition states that hunger is “an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach.”
We’ve determined hunger is the contraction and churning of an empty stomach. Now when was the last time your stomach was truly empty? Claims vary on just how long a healthy, well-nourished person can survive without food; usually it’s somewhere in the area of three to ten weeks. However, the feeling of hunger usually happens after just a few hours of not eating.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, R.D., recommends using the Hunger-Fullness scale to determine how hungry you are. The scale goes from one to ten, with one being extremely hungry and ten being extremely full. “It’s best to train yourself to eat at 2.5-3.0 and stop at 7.5-8.0, and then get hungry again in 4-5 hours.”
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Every year, more new diets pop up claiming to be revolutionary and suitable for everyone. And every year, millions try them out, hoping that they’ll finally find the solution to losing weight.
Dr. Anne Dranitsaris, PhD and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard believe that this model is not how weight loss should be approached. In their new book, Who Are You Meant to Be?, released January 1, 2013, they outline how an individual’s personality affects their behavior and, in turn, their dieting styles.
“We’re looking at [dieting] through a different lens than most. What is it that’s driving our behaviors? Why do we people behave like we do around food?” said Dranitsaris-Hilliard.
The mother-and-daughter team’s book is not a diet guide, but it may be applied toward eating styles as part of an integrated look at human behavior. Through their research, they have identified eight different “striving styles” and find most individuals fall under one of these.
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By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
When is a calorie not a calorie? Many experts argue whether you eat 300 calories in the morning or in the evening, it’s still 300 calories. This may be true in a physiological sense, but as you are no doubt aware, losing weight is about more than just calories in and calories out.
In my experience helping people lose weight, I’ve seen first-hand how dangerous nighttime calories can be. That’s why one of my Best Life guidelines (one that I’m a stickler about) is to stop eating at least two hours before bed. Here’s why I’m a strong supporter of a nighttime eating cutoff:
1. You miss the opportunity to burn off extra calories at night. If you overeat during the day, you have a chance to be more active in the ensuing hours (when you’re more likely to have the energy to do it) and burn off those extra calories. At night, as your body prepares for sleep, you don’t get this chance.
2. Evening hours are a danger zone for dieters. A lot of mindless eating happens at night. In front of the TV, after a long, stressful day at work, many of us just want to check out as we fill up. That’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. One of our bloggers struggled with this problem, until she tried the eating cutoff.
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