From the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you are on a rigid dietary budget. Eek. What could be more exasperating. If you’re like most people, restriction and restraint bring about stress — a precursor to emotional eating. No wonder dieting is a great way to gain weight. What ever happened to the simple pleasure of eating?
Math Made Easier
If you used to break out into a cold sweat when you walked into your math class, brace yourself… because losing weight now is ALL about the math. But thanks to the hundreds of apps, calculators and products on the market, you no longer have to tally every calorie you buy, burn, chew, and crave… it’s all done for you. Does that make it better? NO. It’s made weight management a technological obsession. It’s now easier than ever to get an up-to-the-minute score on your “perceived” success — or failure.
The Three D’s
Dieting. Ugh. Diets are things you feel you have to go on, but can’t wait to get off. Your eating plan should be something you can sustain for life. It doesn’t start on a Monday morning and end by Friday afternoon. Dieters usually strive for perfection and feel failure if they falter. That’s why diets often lead to the three D’s: Deprivation, Defeat and Depression — all of which lead to harmful emotional and binge eating.
Exercise Needs Energy
Consciously restricting calories and fighting the drive to eat when hungry is counterproductive to healthy exercise. Your body is not meant to be more active when it’s in a state of chronic hunger. Will power can only go so far before your physiological and psychological demands take over.
Go for Low
You can reduce your calorie intake simply and sensibly without triggering your appetite and without endless calculations. The key is to reduce the density of your meals and snacks. High-density foods yield a lot of calories per bite.
- High-density foods are usually DRY, FIRM, SUGARY, and/or FATTY.
- Low-density foods are usually high in WATER and FIBER.
Use the following three approaches when planning your meals:
- Decrease fat (especially saturated fats) | See video: Outsmart the Physiological Triggers to Overeat
- Eat water-rich foods (e.g., choose soups instead of casseroles, fresh fruit over dried, tofu instead of cheese)
- Increase your servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (which are naturally higher in water)
- Eat oatmeal made with lots of milk or water. Add fresh berries and bananas instead of dense sugar, honey or raisins.
- Always start your lunch and dinner with a big green salad or vegetable soup.
- Make a ‘tall’ sandwich piled high with veggies (i.e., tomatoes, lettuce, onions, sprouts, and cucumbers).
- Dip your vegetables in fresh salsa instead of ranch dressing.
- Top your whole grains (like barley, brown rice) or baked sweet potato with lots of steamed, grilled or roasted vegetables.
- Load up your stews and soups with lots of extra veggies. Add more broth and/or water. Use beans and legumes instead of meat.
- When dining out, request a double or triple order of veggies with your entree instead of a side of buttery mashed potatoes or fries.
- Skip the creamy fettuccine and opt for whole grain pasta topped with a tomato-y marinara and grilled veggies.
- Choose nonfat milk and yogurt instead of low-fat or whole.