Here is Part 1 of a 2 part series on “How to avoid holiday mindless eating & weight gain.”
Previous studies over the years have suggested that the average adult gains between 0.4 and 1.8 pounds each year. According to a National Institute of Health news alert published in 2000, most of that weight (0.8 pounds) is gained “during the 6-week interval between Thanksgiving and News Years”.
A weight gain of 0.8 pounds over the holidays may not seem excessive to the average person, until you consider that this gain is accumulative year to year and not lost by the time the next holiday season arrives.
In his book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”, Brian Wansink, PhD, surmises that “mindless eating” accounts for a considerable amount of the overeating, overweight, and obesity our culture now faces. Mindless eating is eating requiring little mental effort and according to the author is the response to the numerous environmental cues embedded in our daily lives.
Here are the first 6 of 12 strategies to avoid mindless eating and create some mindful food eating habits to get you through the holidays:
1. Be mindful of your food purchases, read the labels of foods being purchased watching for those with added excessive sugars and fats and take advantage of fresh locally available items.
2. Check your recipes; if you are feeding a family of 3-4, and the recipe is for 6-8, cut it in half. Traditional holiday recipes such as a baked turkey and whipped potatoes also tend to have fewer calories than some of the modernized recipes such as a deep fried turkey or whipped potatoes with added cheese and sour cream.
3. Don’t skip eating earlier in the day in anticipation of having a ravenous appetite for the “Big Meal”. Being too hungry can result if fast eating and by the time your body registers the food being consumed, you have already overeaten.
4. Be aware of that joining in on conversations around you while eating can slow your eating, however if you are not mindful of what you are eating, you can end up overeating especially on snack foods.
5. Eat the foods you enjoy the most; a “buffet” of selections, does not mean you have to eat everything.
6. Use smaller serving bowls; research indicates that the larger the serving bowl the more you will take and the more you take the more you eat. This applies to both snacks and the main meal. If available, place your snacks on a separate small plate to control portions.
Click here for part 2.
Sources: Aspire2wellness.com, b3nutrition.com, http://zoomdune.com/, National Institute of Health news alert published in 2000, http://www.npr.org/books/titles/137985977/mindless-eating-why-we-eat-more-than-we-think, http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/09/new-wansink-book-turns-back-mindless-eating, http://mindlesseating.org/, http://www.cornell.edu/video/brian-wansink-mindless-eating-why-we-eat-more-than-we-think
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