Monday, August 2, 2010

Why am I eating?

I am finally back from vacation! I am very eager to get back into my fitness routine and my normal eating patterns and food. It is hard to stay true to your healthy eating lifestyle when you are with family with vast differences in eating. I found that when I was with my family I ate more and most of the time it was not the most healthy choice. It seemed like I was eating just because it was there..and believe me there was plenty food there ALL THE TIME.

This whole scenario reminds me of an article I read recently about why people diet and why diets do not typically work. Did you know that each year 45 million Americans go on a diet? I have found that most diets fail because they focus so much about what you eat instead of why you are eating. I have found that the best success for long term weight loss is to develop a healthy relationship with food and to go for making new long term habits that serve you. Roller coaster diets really do not work for long term results.

Here are some signals to evaluate to ensure you are actually hungry before you dive into a meal or snack:
- Time: Are you eating just because you normally eat at this time and ignoring the fact that maybe you had a large breakfast just a couple hours ago.
-Visual Cues: Are you eating due to watching the food network, a food commercial, walking by a bakery, bowl of candy on someone's desk, because someone just told you about a delicious recipe?
-Emotional eating (girls, this one is for us): Are you bored? (This was me last week), Are you lonely? Are you depressed? Are you eating because you think you deserve this?
-Self-Restriction: Did you tell yourself that you cannot have chocolate or carbs or something that has now backfired and caused you to crave it?
Mindless Consumption: Did you eat half that bag of chips while you were watching tv and distracted?

Before eating ask yourself these questions:
Am I hungry? This will cause you to stop and evaluate body signals such as stomach growling, headaches, difficulty concentrating rather than boredom, stress, or time of day.
What do I need? If you are hungry ask your body what is appropriate for you at this time. You may be thirsty and really all you need is a glass of water. Maybe you need an apple or some almonds. Most of us do not need chocolate but if you do then have it. I find that sometimes I am so hungry so I wil eat a quick bowl of cereal only to find that 30 minutes later I am hungry again. Really what I wanted was protein and I could have made a fresh fruit smoothie with some protein powder and been satisfied.
What do I have to eat? Set yourself up for success and have healthy snacks and food at work, in the car, and at home. Nothing is worse than really being hungry and having nothing to choose from. I keep some almonds in my car so that when I am starving after teaching for a while I can have a quick snack before I get home. Keep plenty of fresh veggies and fruit to snack on at home and at work. Choices make or break you. The more options you have the better chance you will not fall on the old standby that is not what you reall want or need.

I think if we just stop and evaluate why and what we are eating we will all make better choices. I should have written this article before my trip. :)

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