The Unconscious Eaters Playbook
The kickoff to holiday season consumption has begun: All the Halloween candy is gone and now we face the daunting task of managing intake at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The time of year between Halloween and New Year is prime time for weight gain... And mindless eating is one of the biggest penalties committed during this time of year.
To keep yourself running toward the goal line of living a healthy and fit lifestyle, incorporate the following eating strategies into your nutrition playbook:
FOLLOW A GAME PLAN
As you run routines throughout your day, it is easy to fumble your healthy eating habits by eating something here or there without realizing how many total calories are consumed each day. When super-busy, the first play from scrimmage when you're hungry and tired is to start putting whatever is around the office or pantry into your mouth. To avoid getting yourself into this pattern of unconscious eating, set up a game plan that is easy to execute every day of every week.
The first play of the game: Figure out how many total calories are needed on a daily basis to either maintain or lose weight. Divide that total number of calories into three meals and one or two small snacks.
A SAMPLE GAME PLAN TO GET YOU STARTED ON A HOME-RUN TO VICTORY INCLUDES:
• Breakfast: Yogurt and oatmeal
• Snack: Your favorite fruits
• Lunch: A mix of whole grains, lean proteins and the
greenest vegetables possible
• Snack: High protein-based snack like almonds
• Dinner: Whole grains, lean proteins, heart-healthy
fats and vegetables
There is no quick fix. Don't get caught up in fad diets. Keep what you eat as simple as possible.
REVIEW THE GAME FILM
It's important to practice healthy eating habits on a regular basis, but especially during this time of year and the key is to keep it as simple as possible. The best way to pinpoint your eating habits and identify where you might be committing food penalties is to create a food journal. Over the course of a week, write down all of the calories you consume (food and beverages) to get a good picture of what types of foods you typically eat and how many meals/snacks you consume on a daily basis. You may be surprised by what you learn. We tend to think we eat better than we actually do. Once you review the game film, you'll be able to diagnose additional plays for your next opponent.
SCORE THE WINNING TOUCHDOWN
Portion control and eating in moderation are the star players when it comes to scoring high in the mindless eating avoidance game. To make sure you consume proper portions, use small storage containers and prepare one serving size of your snack or meal items for each one. This portioning strategy eliminates the need to worry about eating too much, once you've finished the food in your container, you know that you've consumed one serving size. Depending on your schedule, you can prepare and portion out your meals for the week during the weekend, or do it on a daily basis during the evening or morning. Just figure out what works for you and stick with it-proper planning prevents poor performance.
GAME MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
When it comes to managing the tendency of overeating at holiday parties and dinners don't be afraid to bring your healthy eating game plan with you. Instead of sampling a little of everything on the buffet table or serving platters, look through the menu, pick out the healthy options and build your own meal based on the healthy foods that are available. It is also a good idea to eat something healthy and light prior to the party to curb your appetite and reduce the risk of eating everything in sight at the event. Eating a healthy meal before you go to a holiday party is the best defense against unconscious eating.
By keeping your head in the game, you will set yourself in motion to score the winning touchdown beginning 2014 as fit as possible. Keep those New Year's resolutions to lose weight on the sidelines.
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