How to moderate your eating

By: Michelle Cederberg

Author: Canadian Living


How to moderate your eating

By: Michelle Cederberg
Did you know that over the past few decades portion sizes have increased on most foods we eat? Not only have restaurant meals grown in size but bags of snack foods and soft drinks in vending machines and convenience stores have gotten larger and larger.

Even the prepackaged foods we buy to eat at home have increased in size. Not surprisingly, our waistlines have expanded along with this increase in portion sizes, so it's time for a little eating awareness.

What's the difference between serving size and portion size?
Eating for energy requires a close look at not only what you're eating, but how much of it you consume at any given time. There is a very big difference between serving size and portion size.

A portion size is the amount of a single food item served in a single eating occasion. A serving size is a standardized unit for measuring foods, like half a cup or six ounces, and is related to nutritional needs of your body.

That slice of pizza you buy for lunch is one portion size but likely closer to two servings. That 16 ounce chocolate milk you just bought is two serving sizes. Most restaurant meals are large enough to feed two people.

Unfortunately, most of us will eat more when we're faced with larger portions. Mindless eating takes over. We eat too fast, we eat on the run, and we don't pay attention to our hunger cues, and this behaviour is robbing us of energy and food enjoyment.

8 ways to eat smaller portions:
1. Make sure your plate is not larger than 10 inches in diameter and never load the plate to heaping.
2. Slow down and enjoy your meals. If you speed through a meal you're likely to overeat.
3. Sit at the kitchen table away from television or work. When distracted we mindlessly consume.
4. Fill your plate based on the balanced plan above. Put away leftovers before you sit to eat so you won't be tempted to nibble on extras.
5. Before you go for seconds have a glass of water and wait. It takes your body about 20 minutes to register that it's full. If you rush into seconds too soon you're likely to overeat.
6. In a restaurant take a close look at the size of your meal. If it's big, have half of it boxed up before you begin or share the meal with a friend.
7. Order a size smaller than your usual. When you �nish consuming, pay attention to your hunger. Chances are you've had enough.
8. Read labels and get educated on reasonable serving sizes. Just because you bought the package doesn't mean you need to eat the whole darn thing.

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Healthy ways to eat your favourite foods
It would be foolish and no fun to stop eating all the foods you love, so how about we strike a deal?

It's one thing to seek moderation with the amount of food you eat; it's entirely another to seek it regarding what you eat. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

If you go on eating all of the unhealthy foods you love in unlimited quantities your health, weight management and energy will take a beating, not to mention your self-esteem. I say we inject a little self-discipline into the mix.

2 important healthy eating habits:
1. Eat a little less of your favourite foods.
2. Let go of less appealing favourites in favour of healthier options to free up calories in your daily meal plan.

Avoid large portion sizes
Often our food choices are based on habit and a wee bit of self-indulgence. Maybe it didn't occur to you to order a smaller size? You love it so much you want as much of it as you can get, but how about learning to live with less?

This applies to anything you consume through the day – even healthier options. If you don't need a large, don't order it.

I used to always buy a large fruit smoothie from my favorite juice bar, and while it was packed with fruit and frozen yogurt goodness, I always struggled to �nish the whole thing. It didn't occur to me to a) stop sipping when I was full, or b) order a smaller size. Then one day it dawned on me to order the snack size. All the goodness, half the size, and now I save money and calories on every smoothie indulgence.

How to moderate your eating:
• Decrease daily indulgences to every other day.
• Pack your lunch with a wee bit less of your favorite baked goods.
• Order a smaller portion or a smaller size.
• Fill your plate with a little less.

Tell yourself it's not about deprivation, it's about discipline. A little discipline with your food vices can go a long way to helping you regain health and energy.

Simply allow yourself a reasonable dose of what one of my clients calls daily fun foods and you won't be seeking out every sugar- and fat-laden treat on the planet. I guarantee that when you do get to eat your favourite foods you'll be rewarded with guilt-free enjoyment, knowing you've exercised some healthy restraint along the way.

Page 2 of 4 -- Find out how you can make healthier eating choices on page 3
How to make healthy choices
I've already confessed to a love of cheeseburgers and I doubt red wine will ever be off my consumption list, but I should mention the compromises I make so my favourites can happily �t into my life.

For starters, when I order a cheeseburger I ask for it without bacon or mayonnaise. By living without those two fatty toppings I can happily enjoy the cheese. And I rarely have french fries as a side. I replace that calorie-laden indulgence with a big salad with the dressing on the side. Those two sacri�ces easily save me 1000 calories or more and make my cheeseburger experience a guilt-free, healthy, balanced meal.

During the day I eliminate juice, soda or other liquid calories in favor of good old H2O. I tend to do this regardless of whether I plan to have a glass or two of wine, but in the event I do, it �ts easily into my day without adding too much excess.

When you eat out choose restaurants that serve healthy options so your decision making will be easy. Remember, healthy doesn't have to taste bad. Small sacri�ces in some areas will mean full grati�cation in others.

What foods can you live without? Be ruthless in your screening so you can still enjoy your favourites.

Learn how to balance your diet
Close to 70 per cent of the North American population struggles with being overweight or obese. It's no wonder then that so many people have a strained relationship with food, viewing it as the enemy in their battle to lose weight.

While it's true that weight management is a result of calories in versus calories out, I want to caution you about obsessive calorie counting as a method for weight loss.

Yes, it's helpful to have a general idea about how many calories certain foods have and to understand your own daily requirements, so you avoid overindulgence, but there are healthy ways to accomplish that goal.

It's far more important to learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy options, to create an enjoyable balance between them and above all, to tune in to your body's needs and desires for food.

Page 3 of 4 -- Learn ways to avoid overeating on page 4
Know when to eat and when to stop eating
Intuitive eating suggests that tuning in to your body's natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight than calorie counting or monitoring energy and fats in foods.

Before you start eating let your body tell you whether it's hungry. If you've had a proper meal recently then maybe you're reaching for food out of boredom or to make yourself feel better.

When you reach for unhealthy options ask yourself if there is a better alternative. If you simply must indulge in that moment, cut back on the amount you eat.

When you eat, slow down and savour the meal and take note of when you become full. When you feel full, stop eating. Get up and walk away from the table. Pack up the rest of your meal for another time. Tell yourself that if hunger returns a little later, it's okay to have a snack.

Pay attention to how your body feels when you feed it the wrong kinds of foods or eat too much food in one sitting. At the same time, notice how much better you feel when most of your food choices are healthy.

Take small steps towards healthy eating
Weight management is about feeding your body nourishing food in moderation. It's about cutting back on unhealthy foods and adding in more physical activity, plain and simple.

The one instance where I feel calorie counting can be helpful is through small steps and small bites. If you consider that every pound of fat has 3500 calories, then start counting all the small ways you can eliminate unhealthy calories from your meal plan.

Or better yet, why not look for ways to burn an extra 250 calories per day through activity and at the same time �nd ways to eliminate 250 calories from your daily meal plan? That's 500 calories per day that will amount to 3500 calories, or a healthy one pound of weight loss per week.

Healthy eating is de�nitely one of the best options for living an energetic life, and it can be a tasty and enjoyable experience. Start with small bites, ask for help if you need it, and fuel a new you. Treat your body well and it will respond in kind.

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Excerpted from Energy Now!, copyright 2012 by Michelle Cederberg. Used by permission of Sentient Publications.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
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How to moderate your eating