Pasta is an incredibly versatile food. It’s an easy option on a busy night, or when funds are low. It’s a comforting option when you want something warm and filling. It’s also a heavy option when you’re trying to cut calories and watch your waistline.
It’s this last reason that can give pasta a bad rap, especially among dieters. So we want to share a secret with you: You can eat pasta and lose weight. Really. We promise.
The problem is, most people don’t focus on making good pasta. So, let’s start there. Let’s assume you’re already buying a whole grain option, therefore getting maximum nutrients from each and every calorie. But how are you preparing it? If you’re like most people, you’re probably just setting the pot to boil and dumping it in. If you take just a few extra steps, your pasta will taste much better.
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
By Janis Jibrin, M.S. RD, Lead Nutritionist for TheBestLife.com
Having trouble getting your portions under control? Here are five tactics to help you rein them in.
Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re likely to feel hungrier because your body produces more appetite-spiking hormones and fewer “I’m full” signals. For instance, a German study found that after just four nights of sleeping seven, six, six and finally just four hours, women took in 20 percent more calories than they did after getting eight hours of sleep. For most people, seven to eight hours is ideal.
Don’t wait too long between meals. You know what happens when you do—you become ravenous and devour everything in sight! Make sure to carry a nut and seed bar or another 150- to 200-calorie snack for when you’re stuck in a meeting, on a plane, or in another situation where having a meal isn’t an option. (more…)
The china said it all.
When Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN and author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” inherited her husband’s great grandmother’s antique china, she unpacked a lot of salad plates, but was miffed when the dinner plates were nowhere to be found. She called her aunt, who had long been steward of the china, to investigate. Turns out, the salad plates were the dinner plates.
“The dinner plates from the 1920s were like our salad plates today,” said Bonnie. “They just don’t compare to the giant plates at restaurants.”
Portion size has grown exponentially over the last 100 years. Factors like plate size, familial dynamics, and monetary investment in our food have contributed to an increased average portion size, and in turn, made America fat.
Bonnie was quick to point out that at fancy restaurants, the plate sizes are smaller, and customers tend to value those limited portions more because of the high cost. On the flip side, diners, drive ins, and dives are serving up “brontosaurus bones” on the cheap. No matter the price, people are going to eat what’s in front of them because if they paid for it, they’re gonna finish it. And Americans love to get more bang for their buck. “Value is very often associated with volume,” said Bonnie.
“If you feel like you have to eat as opposed to choosing to eat, then you belong to the ‘clean-plate club’ and it’s time to cancel your membership,” she told us. (more…)
For many healthy-minded consumers, calorie postings on menus and menu boards greatly impact their decision when making food selections. While grabbing food on the go, it’s useful to know how this item will fit into a person’s allotted daily calories. Even though it may not feel like overeating, before you know it, you’ve consumed over half of the recommended daily calories.
For instance, see the calories in typical menu items. Seeing and internalizing the number of calories allows us to realize that snacks and seemingly healthy foods may, in fact, not be so healthy at all.
Our country’s obesity epidemic is growing exponentially much like the waistbands of many Americans. Just twenty years ago, no states had obesity rates above 15 percent. Today, 38 states have obesity rates more than 25 percent and the U.S. national obesity rate is a record 37.5 percent. Americans are eating more of their food outside their homes, whether dining out, purchasing prepared food, or grabbing a vending machine treat. (more…)