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Better Eating Habits in the New Year

toon-1446As a registered dietitian for more than 20 years, it seemed only natural to offer my clients nutrition counseling, in addition to career and relationship coaching in my practice as a life transitions coach.

Since I am a new life coach, having received my certification this past September, I expected things to be slow in the beginning.

To some extent this was true until a couple weeks ago, when I started receiving calls and emails from prospective clients who want to control their overeating and to “eat for the right reason,” in 2015.

I read recently that most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the third week in January.  The plethora of reasons why many people overeat, including the many deep-seated psychological reasons, are, for the most part, beyond the scope of this article.

Having said this, I would like to offer some valuable, simple, and straightforward suggestions that are helpful:

1) Control your portion sizes by choosing cooked foods that come as a single serving. For example – a baked potato as opposed to pasta, rice or mashed potatoes. I say this because if you prepare a plain baked potato, once you finish eating the potato, there is nothing left, as opposed to cooking a pot of rice or pasta. If you prepare rice or pasta, take one serving and then create individual servings with the leftovers, to be eaten at a later date, or prepare only enough for a single serving.

2) Eat fruit that comes as a single serving. For example, an apple or an orange, instead of grapes or cherries. Once you’ve eaten the apple or orange, you are finished, not so with grapes or cherries, which are more likely to lead to binge eating.

3) Choose food that requires more chewing. An apple for example, takes longer to eat than a serving of applesauce, and it has greater satiety value. A salad takes longer to eat than cooked vegetables.

4) Serve meals by filling plates with food in the kitchen as opposed to serving meals family style with all the food spread out on the table. This gives you more time to think before getting out of your chair for second helpings.

5) Avoid cream sauce, cheese sauce, or excessive use of fat as a topping or in food preparation.

6) Don’t go grocery shopping or make a shopping list when you are hungry. Eat before you go shopping. Make your shopping list, and buy only what is on your list.

7) Drink a tall glass of water and eat a salad with low calorie salad dressing or a small amount of oil and a flavored vinegar, before meals. This tip is also helpful if you are going to a party where there is liable to be a lot of rich food selections. Mingle. Don’t linger next to the table where the food is spread out and just waiting to be eaten.

8) Slow down. Make your meal last at least 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to signal to your stomach that it is full. If you are a fast eater, take a break mid-meal to slow yourself down.

9) Sometimes the best exercise is learning to push yourself away from the table.

10) If  someone else is serving and they tend to re-fill your plate whenever it is empty,  you can avoid overeating, or offending them, by eating slowly and savoring the meal.

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and healthy eating in 2015!




21 Responses to Better Eating Habits in the New Year

  • andleeb says:

    I really find your advice very nice. I think if anyone follow the way you have given some ideas it can help a lot to avoid over eating. Great Idea and Great post to benefit many.
    I will try to act upon your advice and tomorrow I will take an apple with me not the grapes that I eat a lot everyday.

  • Erica says:

    Hi Michele,

    I also work with people trying to control their weight and I really love your last pointer about how to handle when someone else fills your plate. I’ve found a lot of people really struggle with not offending loved ones when trying to lose weight and I think that is a great bit of advice!

  • Jason @ says:

    Those are some good tips. I am trying to drink more water each day. I also plan on eating more fruits and vegetables.

  • Andy says:

    I eat a lot of seedless grapes, and have gotten into the habit of consciously counting the number of grapes as I eat them. My portion might range from 15 to 40 grapes depending on their size, but 25 is the average number I shoot for.

  • Mary Jo says:

    Great eating hints. I like making your meal last at least 20 minutes. I often say it took us longer to make the meal than it was to eat it. I am definitely going to have the family slow down. 🙂

    • I will be sharing more “eating hints” in future posts, Mary Jo. I am grateful for your comment and would like to suggest that you upload a photo of yourself that can show up when you comment. Happy Holidays!

  • Tim says:

    Portion size I think is one of the biggest issues along with too much processed food. All your points are well heeded and I hope everyone tries at least one.

  • All very good tips! I use several of these all year long, like individual serving size foods. Eating more slowly also helps. I find it difficult to drink a lot of water, or anything for that matter. I never shop when I am hungry. I consume very little sauces. Even with all of that I still find that I gain weight… Big sigh… Part of my issue lies with the medication I have to take. No choices there… Happy Holidays!

  • jacquiegum says:

    Great advice…and I had not considered the single serving idea for fruit! It is true…I do sort of binge on cherries! Drinking water has always been MY go-to… it fills me up and I happen to really like water:)

  • awazieikechi says:

    I like this post as the tips are straightforward. You are right single serve portion size and it does help with over eating. Thanks for the tip.

  • Have very healthy eating habits because of a minor problem with my tyroid gland. Have to live mainly on vegetables, beans and a few other things in order to make the tyroid gland work as well as possible. . Boring but it does make a huge difference.

    • I’m sure there are many ways to keep your meals interesting, Catarina, even if they are somewhat repetitive. As a vegetarian, my meals are also somewhat repetitive but I always find creative ways to spruce them up (with different seasonings or different foods within the same food group for example) and they certainly are colorful and healthy.

  • Donna Janke says:

    Good straightforward advice. I know most of these, but it’s easy to forget and get out of good eating habits. I’ve never heard the one about single serving fruit before – makes sense.

    • Hi Donna, I am thinking about continuing to blog on this topic because there is so much that can be added to what has been said. It might be fun to see if I come up with a few more ideas that you or other readers have not heard.

  • I like the idea of eating food that comes already in its own single serve portion size to avoid overeating. Great idea. Going to the market hungry is the worst! Not only do I come home with all kinds of foods that are bad for me based on my cravings at the moment, I waste a bunch of money on it.

  • Ken Dowell says:

    I think many of us anticipate over-eating during the holidays so this is timely advice, even though it may have to wait a couple more days.

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