Sports Nutrition-Eating to Optimize Athletic Performance: What to Eat Before, During, and After a Performance, Game, or Competition

Sports Nutrition-

Eating to Optimize Athletic Performance: 

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What to Eat Before, During, and After a Performance, Game, or Competition

The Meal Before an Athletic Performance

 The goal of the pre-exercise meal is to maximize glycogen stores (which is the sotrage form of readily available energy), provide adequate hydration, minimize hunger, and minimize any undigested foods that can lead to GI distress. In order to meet these goals, the pre-game meal should occur 2 to 4 hours before the game/performance.

The pre-game meal should be high in carbohydrates; that is 60 to 70% of the calories from that meal should be from carbohydrates. A high carbohydrate diet is needed to maintain glycogen stores and blood glucose. Muscle glycogen is used for energy during exercise, and liver glycogen stores are used to maintain stable blood glucose levels during the athletic performance.

The pre-game meal should be moderate in protein. Only 10 to 25% of the calories in the meal should be from protein foods.

Finally, the pre-game meal should be low in fat, low in fiber, low in spicy foods, and low in simple sugars. Meals high in fiber may cause GI distress during a game.

Pre-Game Meal: Quick Reference 

  • Eaten 2 to 4 hours before the performance
  • High Carbohydrate (60 to 70% of total calories)
  • Moderate in protein (10 to 25% of total calories)
  • Low in fat, spicy foods, simple sugars, and fiber (To prevent GI distress)

Pre-game meal examples:

  • 1 cup of pasta, spaghetti, or rice and tomato sauce
  • Turkey sandwich and pretzels

  The “Meal” During an Athletic Performance

The most crucial essential nutrient during a performance is water so be sure to HYDRATE during the game. You should take 3 to 4 sips of water every 15 minutes. If the performance last for more than one hour, you should consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates to enhance endurance, and drink a beverage containing sodium.

Examples of “during performance carbohydrate snacks” are a banana (also a good source of electrolyte, potassium) or an energy bar like the  CLIF BAR – Energy Bar – Chocolate Chip – (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count) Each Clif bars contains the important carbohydrates and electrolytes needed for longer performances. You can also get both the sodium and carbohydrates needed by drinking a sports drink like Powerade Sports Drink Variety Pack (20 oz. bottles, 24 ct.) or BodyArmor SuperDrink, Variety pack – 7 flavors – Including Jummybo mints

If the performance last MORE THAN 3 HOURS, drink an electrolyte containing drink. Drinks like Powerade, Gatorade, and BodyArmor not only contain water, carbohydrates, and sodium, but also contain other electrolytes as well. These drinks will also work well for performances lasting longer than 3 hours. When exercising for an extended period like in a marathon, consume carbohydrates such as bananas, gel packs like PowerBar, Performance Energy Gel, Strawberry Banana Flavor, 24 Gel Packs, 1.44 oz or energy bars like Clif bars every 15 to 20 minutes. You can find Clif Bars by clicking on the following link. CLIF ENERGY BAR – Value Pack – Chocolate Chip and Crunchy Peanut Butter – (2.4 oz, 6 Count, 6 Pack)

Why is Salt Intake During an Athletic Performance so Important?

When you are exercising for an hour or less, plain water is recommended. However, if you are in an athletic competition for over an hour, you should begin replenishing your electrolytes, especially your sodium content. When we sweat, we lose water AND salt. We know that lack of water can be dangerous so we often make sure we are drinking plenty of water during an athletic performance. However when you replenish the water in your body WITHOUT replenishing the salt in your body, the sodium content in your body becomes diluted. In other words, the sodium to water ratio becomes out of balance. So the problem is not only that you lost sodium in your sweat, but that the sodium-to-water ratio becomes out of balance as you drink more and more water. This is called hypernatremia.

Unfortunately symptoms of hypernatremia are similar to symptoms of dehydration so someone may think they are dehydrated and drink more water when in fact they are actually experiencing symptoms of hyponatremia. Drinking more water WITHOUT sodium makes the hypernatremia worse. Symptoms of hypernatremia includes dizziness, lethargy, thirst, headache, nausea, cramps, irritability, and in severe cases even coma and death. Notice the similarity of the symptoms to the symptoms of dehydration. The take home message that water is crucial! We should drink water throughout any athletic event no matter how long the event. However, if the athletic even is over an hour, we should also drink a sports drink that contains water AND electrolytes.

During Performance Meal: Quick Reference

  • HYDRATE
  • Consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and drink a liquid containing sodium if the performance last for more than one hour to enhance endurance. Example: a banana or energy bar like a Clif bar
  • You can get the needed carbohydrates, water, and electrolytes in drinks like Powerade or Allsport.
  • Drink electrolyte drinks if you will be exercising for more than 3 hours; Examples: Powerade, Gatorade, or BodyArmor (These are carbohydrate sources as well)
  • When exercising for extended period of time (marathon): Consume CHO every 15 to 20 minutes. Ex: Gel packs and energy bars like Powebar or Clif bar

* Put simply, drink 3-4 sips of water every 15 minutes if you are exercising for less than an hour. If you are performing for more than an hour drink an electrolyte and carbohydrate drink like BodyArmor SuperDrink, Variety pack – 7 flavors – Including Jummybo mints or Powerade Sports Drink Variety Pack (20 oz. bottles, 24 ct.). If you are performing for greater than 3 hours, drink an electrolyte and carbohydrate drink and consume a carbohydrate snack/drink every 15 to 20 minutes.

The Meal After Performance, BUT NOT Performing the Next Day 

During exercise, the body is breaking down glycogen, triglycerides, and muscle protein for energy; therefore, the body must restore muscle, glycogen, and lipids after the performance. The meal simply needs to be a normal healthy meal. One fourth of the meal should consist of healthy whole grains, one fourth of the meal should contain lean meats, and half of the meal should contain fruits and vegetables. Note this is the after performance meal when you do NOT have a performance the next day. However, the recommendations are slightly different if you are performing two days in a row.


After Game Meal, But NOT Performing the Next Day: Quick Reference

  • Hydrate
  • Normal Healthy Meal

The Meal After A Performance IF Performing AGAIN the Next Day

 If you have finished an athletic performance, and are performing again the next day, your after performance meal should take place within 30 minutes after you have finished competing. The number one priority should be replacing fluid loss.

The meal should also be high in carbohydrates. A high carbohydrate meal is needed to replace glycogen stores. If you do not replace the glycogen stores, your body will use muscle protein to replace the stores. Many think that eating high protein is crucial to replace or build muscle after a performance; however, you need to make sure you are getting enough carbohydrates as well. If your body does not have enough glycogen (carbohydrate stores); then your body is going to get glycogen by breaking down your muscles! You should eat 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kg body weight every two hours for 6 hours! So if a person weighs 150 pounds, they could eat about 1.5 cups of pasta every 2 hours for 6 hours. So they would eat 1.5 cups of pasta three times in six hours for a total of 4.5 cups of pasta in six hours. Remember, you do not need to eat every 2 hours unless you are performing the next day. This is to build up your depleted glycogen store before your next day performance.

The Meal After a Performance IF Perfoming  AGAIN the Next Day: Quick Reference

  • #1 priority: replace fluid loss
  • High CHO: replaces glycogen; if you do not replace glycogen, your body will use muscle protein;
  • Eat 1 to 1.5 grams of CHO per kg body wt, every 2 hours for 6 hours. 

 

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Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award!

Being a new blogger is a little intimidating! When I started blogging, I delved into a world of unknowns. I had so many doubts and fears; this is why being nominated for the “Blogger Recognition Award” is so exciting! This community of bloggers has been so encouraging and have shown such support. Thank you so much for the nomination!

I want to start out by saying a huge THANK YOU to Lauren Najar from Laugh Always for giving me the nomination!  Her blog https://laughalways.net/home/.  She had started a blog three times and finally felt like it was the right time. She was right because she has received two blogger awards! Congrats to her for getting nominated as well!

So what is blogger recognition award?

Blogger Recognition Award is given to bloggers by bloggers to encourage and acknowledge the hard work and effort that goes into creating posts.  It’s an opportunity for bloggers to recognize one another for each of our contributions to their blog and the blogging community!

How did you start your blog?

I have always had a desire to write, and I have been writing stories since I was a little girl. I also have a passion for nutrition. Throughout my career as a dietitian, I kept going back to writing. I have been a freelance writer, written a nutrition column for our local paper, and written for our church blog. Over the years I have written so much on nutrition and about my faith that I thought that instead of letting the information just sit in my office at home, I should share all of it with others. I hope that my blog can provide inspiration and usable tips to others.

Two pieces of advice for newbies:

  • Support other Blogger – The established blogger have been such a help to me. They have been ready to answer my questions and give encouragement. I hope to be able to do the same for other new bloggers.
  • Be Patient- I had to overcome a learning curve when I began blogging. Little by little, I have learned more and more. I know I have much more to learn. I know knowledge will come over time.
My nominees:

When you are nominated, there are few simple steps that you need to take to accept the award nomination and the guidelines are as follows:

  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers to nominate.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

Congrats to these nominees – all of these blog sites are beautiful!  I can’t wait to see your posts!

 

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God Moments: Why Are You So Afraid?

God Moments: Why are you So Afraid?

 

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Hearing God through Journaling

I have always loved journaling. I still have my Mickey Mouse journal from elementary school. My journaling evolved as I got older. Later, my writing switched from talking about the day and my latest crush to writing about God. I now keep a prayer journal, but the journal holds so much more than prayers. I do include my prayers to God, but I also write as I read scripture. In my little journal, I transcribe all of the thoughts and questions I have after reading scripture. I also include what I call “God Moments” in my journal.

I write everytime I experience one of  those amazing “that just gave me chills” moments. Do you know what I’m talking about? These are those stories that make you feel like God is talking to you, or those moments when you realize God is trying to get your attention. God moment stories often make you cry happy tears because you feel like God IS right there! These are stories about those moments when you FEEL God’s love and guidance.

Journal So That You Will Remember

After something beautiful and amazing happens, I think to myself, “wow, I won’t ever forget this!” But I have found that as time passes, I only remember some of the God Moments of my life. So I made it a priority to get those stories written ASAP before I forget! Do you know what I found after writing them down? These kinds of stories happen A LOT!!!! God is guiding us, and when I began collecting all of my God moments in a journal, I noticed just how often God has guided me.

My journal often feels like a broken record. The same most beautiful song is recorded in my journal over and over. These God moment stories are about all the random and not so random times when I would read something in the Bible at the exact time I needed to read it. God seems to often communicate to me and maybe you in this way.

In case you are searching for a cute and inspirational prayer journal, I have provided links to several prayer journals below including the journal you could win in the giveaway (See details at the bottom of this post):

God Moments: The Series

So this leads to the “Mindfulness in Faith and Food” new series announcement. Our new blog series is entitled, “God Moments.” I want to share these cool stories with others in hopes to comfort others in some way. God IS here! God does care! God is guiding us!

This Week’s God Moment Story: The Fear was Taking Over

In honor of this series, I want to share a short “God Moment” now. This God moment happened during a time when I was experiencing fear about something going on in our lives. On this particular day, fear was overtaking my day. I was experiencing this immense fear in the pit of my stomach. The fear was so strong that it was almost painful.

But Then I Found Comfort in God

Do you know that this very same day, I stumbled upon lessons about “trusting God when you are afraid” not once but twice?!!! The most impactful moment occurred when I was reading our nightly children’s devotional called God and Me to my son. I often like to read the context around a piece of scripture, but on this particular day the children’s devotional pulled just two sentences out of the Bible. The devotional simply said this, “Why are you so afraid? Do you STILL have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

These words hit me smack in the heart and comforted my fearful soul. The fact that these two sentences were written in our devotional on this particular day made me feel like the words were being whispered to me. ‘Lacy, why are you SO afraid? Do you STILL have no faith?’ This soft critique was such a comfort. I felt as if God was saying that I could trust God. God’s got this!

Thank you, God, for finding ways to speak to us and guide us. I don’t know what I would do without your comfort and guidance. I am sorry for my lack of trust and for ALL the many…many…many times I fall short. You know, like that time yesterday and the day before… Thank you for guiding me and love me anyway. Amen.

We Have a Giveaway Winner

To celebrate the God Moment series, I had a giveaway. The Giveaway is now over, and we have a winner! Congrats to one of our subscribers, Lauren! She won the Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal.

This is such a fun Journal! You can use this journal to write down you prayers, questions, thoughts, and God moments. After writing, you can color in the journal while you pray and think about what you just wrote. What a great way to slow down and be mindful!

Tell Me Your God Moments

I love to hear how God is working in our lives today. Please tell me some of your God moments in the comments section. How has God guided you and comforted you in your life?

More God Moments

God Moments: We Prayed and Then This Happened

God Moments: Did That Just Happen?

God Moments: God Follows Through

God Moments: Choosing the Same Picture

God Moments: We Ran Out of Gas

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Dietitian Confessions: Why Mindful Eating Works for Weight Loss

Dietitian Confession: I am a Dietitian and I was able to lose weight through Mindful Eating. I finally easily lost weight and was able to keep it off. Here is why mindful eating worked for me.

Mindful Eating Works Because Mindful Eating is About Enjoying your Food

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Before understanding mindful eating, it helps to understand mindLESS eating.

MindLESS Eating

One of my clients realized mindLESS eating was one of his major barriers. His story helps explain mindLESS eating. During a nutrition counseling session, one of my clients revealed that while he was walking past a coworker’s desk, he took a chip off of her desk and ate it without asking. The coworker jokingly said, “Hey! Don’t eat my lunch!” His response was eye opening for him. Do you know what he said? “Did I just take that chip? I didn’t even know I did it!” He began to realize how often he mindlessly ate without even thinking, and how this affected his weight. Did he even enjoy that chip? No, he didn’t even know he had eaten it!  He is not alone; many of us do it. I say when you consume calories; you might as well enjoy them right? This is one reason why mindful eating works.

Mindful eating is about ENJOYING your food!

eat photo
Photo by Joshua Rappeneker

Mindful Eating Helps with Weight Maintenance

Mindful eating has been helpful not only with weight loss, but also with weight maintenance, not only for clients but for me as well. Although mindful eating might be a new concept for many, dietitians have been using at least some aspects of mindful eating with their clients for years, and some have found mindful eating so successful that they almost exclusively focus on mindful eating and hunger cues to help with weight loss.

Mindful Eating Helped ME Lose Weight

I am one of those dietitians who has always used mindful eating in combination with other weight loss strategies. Because I noticed that Mindful Eating was one of my most successful strategies, I began leaning more heavily on Mindful Eating techniques. In some of my other post, I have talked about my weight loss struggles. (See more about my weight loss struggle here)

I have lost weight and kept it off successfully for years. Like many others, as the circumsances of my life changed, I would find myself needing to lose extra weight again.  I first lost weight in middle school. This is the reason I decided to go into dietetics. I kept the weight off all through high school and college, but I found myself gaining weight as a newlywed.

As soon as I realized that I was carrying too much extra weight, I did my own self assessment and developed my own plan. In other words, I became my own client.  I naturally gained weight after having babies. By that time, my lifestyle had changed, and I needed to re-assess my diet and develop a plan that would work for a new mom. I lost my excess baby weight by, again, becoming my own client and developing my own plan. If you would like to do a free self-assessment and develop your own plan click here.

eating photo
Photo by Sole Treadmill

 Less Need for Willpower

After my last baby, I needed an easier way to keep the weight off. I could lose weight with willpower, but what am I going to do when the willpower wares away like it always does? (I often tell my clients that my nutrition degree didn’t take away my love for food) After seeing the research and success of mindful eating, I decided to almost exclusively use Mindful Eating with only a few other techniques to help me with my weight loss barriers. I lost 55 pounds, and it was the easiest 55 pounds I have ever lost!

With Mindful Eating, No Food is Forbidden

With Mindful Eating, I never feel deprived. I rarely feel the need to cheat because I am ALWAYS giving myself permission to enjoy eating. I’m not at war with food anymore. I messed up less and feel guilty less often because with Mindful Eating, no food is forbidden. I also rarely “mess up” because I experience pleasure with food all the time. If I do mess up, it isn’t “over the top”  anymore. In other words, I rarely “fall off the wagon” and stuff my face until I am painfully full.

Being mindful is about being aware of your food as you are eating, and being aware of how your body is feeling. My body never feels good after overeating, and I can’t enjoy the rest of my day when I feel so uncomfortably full. When I mindfully eat, I slow down, and notice my fullness sooner.

With Mindful Eating, Food Doesn’t Have the Power over You Anymore

Not only is Mindful eating helpful with weight loss, but could also be helpful for people struggling with binge eating and food obsessing. When people are constantly dieting, they are constantly obsessing about food. When there are no forbidden foods, food doesn’t have that power over you anymore. Mindful eating works because you don’t feel deprived, you enjoy your food, there are no forbidden foods, you feel less guilt, and it takes less willpower.

To Find out how to Mindfully Eat, click here

or

If you want a more detailed explanation as well as the opportunity to intigrate mindfulness into your life with a hands-on book and mindfulness worksheets, I would recommend “Mastering Mindfulness” by dietitian, Gina B. I am so excited about this book. I have included the link to her book below.

Another product I just found out about  is the PortionMate – Meal Portion Control Rings and Nutrition Tool

This makes portioning super easy. You can take these portion rings with you anywhere and place them on your plate to make sure your food is the appropriate portion. I think this product used in combination with mindful eating could greatly help with portion control.

Resources:

Today’s Dietitian

The Center for Mindful Eating

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Trick Your Body into Eating Less: 55 Portion Control Tips

Trick Your Body into Eating Less: 55 of the Best Portion Control Tips

*Don’t try to follow all of these tips. Just pick a few that will work for you. In fact, some tips will not work with each other. For example one tip might say, “decide that you will avoid getting seconds,” while another tip might say, “get seconds of vegetables.” Obviously these tips would not work together. You pick and choose and customize a plan that works for you.

Below are a list of my absolute favorite portion control tips. I also included links to some of my favorite portion control tools and products! So here they are, 55 of the best portion control tips for weight loss.

Disclosure: This site may provide affiliate links (See full disclosure)

1. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger.

Drink a glass of water, first, when you feel hungry to see if water is what you are really craving. Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty

I like water bottles that help you keep track of how much water you are drinking like the 30oz Inspirational Water Bottle With Time Marker + Measurements | Goal Marked Times Fitness Sports Bottles Best For Measuring Your H2O Intake, BPA Free Non-toxic Tritan (Think Positive Purple)

2. Eat the lower calorie foods on your plate first.

After you have eaten the lower calorie foods like vegetable, you will feel fuller. Then you won’t feel the desire to devour the high calorie foods at the meal.

3. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables first, then add meat and starches to your plate.

Sometimes we leave little room for the fruits and vegetables because we pile up the plate with other foods first.

4. Eat your fruits and vegetables first. 

This is a twist on the tip above. Vegetables are lower in calorie, so your goal could be, ” I will eat the vegetables and fruit on my plate first.”

5. Split your plate into sections:  Half the plate fruits and vegetables, 1/4 the plate meat, and 1/4 the plate starch.

Most meals are either divided into food groups like meat, carbohydrate, and vegetables. Sometimes our food groups are combined into recipes like in spagehetti. If you have a combination food, which is usually a meat, a starch, and maybe a few vegetables mixed in, then fill half your plate with only vegetables and fruit and half your plate with the combination food. Combination foods include foods like a spaghetti or casseroles. If you are eating any vegetables that are not plain vegetables like squash or broccoli casserole or fried okra place these foods on your combination side of your plate.

If you like this tip, but want to take the guess out of plating your food, you might want to try the Precise Portions 2-Go Healthy Portion Control Plates, Pack of 2, BPA-Free, 3-Section Plate with Leak-Proof Lids, Dishwasher & Microwave Safe, Helps Manage & Lose Weight, Metabolism & Blood Sugar. This plate takes the guess work out of portioning. You can even use the lid to prevent you from piling the food to high. The lid also makes the plate very portable. You can pack you  lunch for work using the portion plate!

6.  Limit the amount of sides you cook.

Don’t cook too many things.   All you need is a starch, meat (or combination food) and 2 vegetables or a fruit and vegetable. In other words, if you have rice, corn casserole, dinner rolls, hamburger steak, and salad for dinner then good luck trying to fit it on your plate. Even if you put a little of each on your plate you are going to eat way too much. All of a sudden your plate is piled high. Bottom line, if you have too many options, you often tend to eat too much.

7.  Buy a portion control plate.

These are plates that already have the portions divided for you on the plate. All you have to do is put the appropriate food on the appropriate spot of the plate.


8. Drink water as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling starved? You could be more thirsty than hungry. Drink a glass of water first, to avoid overeating your breakfast.

9. When you are snacking, make sure your snack is no bigger than your fist.

This is an easy on-the-go portion control tip.

10.  Don’t get seconds.

Need a little help resisting seconds? Before eating a meal, remind yourself of something you really enjoy doing and tell yourself that you will do that activity after you finish eating. That way you won’t feel sad that eating, which is many people’s favorite hobby, is over. You will have something else to look forward to instead of eating. So when you want seconds say to yourself, “I have something else fun to do.” Have you ever noticed that children are often ready for eating to end so that they can play? Their life doesn’t revolve around food. We can be like children again and really enjoy our lives. So if you enjoy looking at social media or texting a friend or looking at home décor magazines. Give yourself at least a few minutes to do something you enjoy after you eat.

11.  If you really want seconds, only get seconds of vegetables.

12. Use measuring cups to portion out your food on your plate and then do not get seconds.

I like collapsable measuring cups like the ones below:

13. Drink water before a meal and with meals to feel full.

Water is huge! Drinking more water can greatly improve your portion control.

14. Don’t eat the side bread with meals.

Don’t eat the dinner rolls or garlic bread with the meal.

15. After cooking, freeze or refrigerate the food that you aren’t going to eat right away.

Do this right away. Getting seconds is harder if the food is already in the freezer.

16. Before going back for seconds, wait 10 or 15 minutes.

You might not want seconds after all.

17. Have an afternoon prep day. Make 5 meals and 5 snacks in a bag or containers.

If snacks and meals are already bagged and pre-portioned it helps with portion control throughout the week.

18. Eat slowly and put your fork down.

Put your fork down between each bite. Chew each bite and swallow before picking up your fork for another bite. Pay attention to the flavors in each bite. Enjoy and notice each bite before going for the next bite. Take a sip of your drink before picking your fork back up. It takes your brain 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full so take your time. (see How to Mindfully Eating for Weight Loss)

19. Every time you eat a meal, sit down.

Avoid stand while eating. Your body better processes that you have eaten if you sit down and slowly enjoy your food.

20. Hold a conversation while you are eating and eat slowly.

21. Eat your meals at home on a smaller plate like a breakfast plate or child’s plate and be sure to leave “white space” or open space on your plate.

Kid sized plates are often more appropriate sizes. Your plate looks fuller, and you feel like you are eating more when you eat on a smaller plate. If you are afraid you will defeat the purpose of a smaller plate by piling the food high, then get a plate with a lid and make sure you do not smash the food if you put the lid on the plate.

22. Use a breakfast plate as your personal serving plate.

If you have trouble appropriatley plating your food try this tip. Fill a breakfast plate with food and then take half of the food off of the breakfast plate and place that food on another plate. After you eat from one plate, pause to see if you are hungry before getting more food from the other plate. If you are full, save the other plate for the next meal This physical act of have to replate your food, forces you to pause to notice hunger cues before putting more food on your plate. For more portion control ideas like these read Migrate Fletcher also wrote a book entitled The Core Concepts of Mindful Eating: Professional Edition

23. Pause before you eat.

Pause and look at your plate. Think about your plate and how it looks before you eat. Would someone else think that your portion size looks appropriate? Then while pausing, pray and thank God before taking my first sip and bite. Remind yourself to be mindful of God’s presence. Eating can becomes an act of worship. Remind yourself that you are taking care of God’s creation (you).  Remember the words from 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Wow! What a great reminder!  Also look to 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 to remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we should glorify God in our body. When we mindLESSly eat, we miss the opportunity to be in awareness of God’s presence. Finally, take your first sip of drink and only then begin eating. (See Mindful Eating)

24. Get someone else in your household to plate your food.

Plate each other’s food. We tend to add a little more for ourselves. Or pack each other’s lunches for the next day.

25. Try eating at least two vegetables with every lunch and dinner.

Remember the tip from above, fill half the plate with vegetables and only leave half the plate for other foods.

26. Notice your hunger cues.

Think about how your stomach feels when it is empty. When you are hungry, your stomach will feel empty; you may get a headache or feel weak. If you don’t have any of these physical hunger cues, think about why you want to eat. Then when you do decide you are hungry and you decide to eat, be mindful of the food you eat (not mindless). Really taste and chew and think about what is in your mouth and going down your esophagus. (See How to Mindful Eating to Lose Weight)

27. Use a kitchen timer.

If after eating a meal you want to eat more, set the timer for 15 minutes. Usually you weren’t really hungry.

 

28. Decide you are not allowed to eat your next meal until after a certain time.

An example would be I am not allowed to eat anything after lunch until after 4:00.

29. Use small bathroom cups for portion control.

Use it to portion out high calorie foods.

30. Use baby silverware so that you take smaller bites.

lose weight photo
Photo by Sole Treadmill

31. Use chopsticks to help slow your eating down. (This works better if you aren’t great at using chopsticks.)

32. Include foods in your meals that help increase satiety.

Protein foods like a handful of nuts and fiber foods help you feel full longer. Foods with healthy fats such as olives, salmon and walnuts help you feel satisfied as well.   (Remember to pre-portion your nuts and include them as one of your PLANNED snacks. Don’t just snack on nuts throughout the day)

33. Include liquid-based foods.

Including liquid-based foods such as natural smoothies and low-sodium soup into your meals can help you cut back on calories yet feel full.

34. Chew sugar-free gum after dinner instead of getting seconds.

35. Always have vegetables on hand.

Sauté a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables in olive oil and garlic. Add some red pepper for additional flavor and separate into portion-sized containers for the refrigerator. Then fill up half your plate with these vegetables at dinner.

36. Save the kitchen and the dining room table for cooking and eating.

Try not to use the table as a place to do work or other activities, or you may be tempted to eat more.

37. Keep track of what and how you are eating with food tracking apps, a  fit bit, food journals, or food diaries.

This will hold you accountable and help you see just how much food you are eating. Make sure you write down everything you eat, even little grazing bites that you eat here and there. Include how much you ate and don’t forget the condiments.

I use the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Teal, Large (US Version).

38. Avoid eating meals while doing other things like surfing the Internet or watching television.

You eat more when you aren’t thinking about the food, and you end up enjoying the food less and tasting the food less when you are doing other things while you are eating. Enjoy and pay attention to your food.

39. Take 30 second breaks sporadically during your meal to access how full you are.

This will also slow down your eating, which makes you feel full faster. Better yet, take 30 seconds throughout the meal to pause and remember that you are God’s creation. By eating, we are taking care of God’s creation and when we mindfully pause, we are taking hte time to appreciate God’s gift of food as well.  (See How to Mindful Eating to Lose Weight)

40. Turn dinner from the night before into a healthy lunch, by putting a serving of your dinner into light whole wheat wraps and take that to work.

41. Pounding out your meat will make your healthier portions look visually larger.

42. Save a portion of your food for leftovers.

Instead of wanting to finish all of your food at one meal, think of it like you still get to have all that food, you are just splitting it between meals. Just tell yourself, “I can have more later. I still get to eat all of this food, I am just taking a break until the next meal.” Even if you only have a small amount left, SAVE it for leftovers. Too often we say, “Well, there is not enough to save so I might as well eat it.” Don’t fall into that trap. Add all your leftovers together and you will have a good meal. In other words, if you love eating and find yourself not wanting the meal to end, think of yhe end of the meal as just a break from eating. You will resume eating at the mext meal.

43. Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal.

44. The more variety of foods we have to more we eat; therefore, don’t have too many choices at your meals or have more choices of your fruits and vegetables.

45. Have at least 2 or 3 fruit or vegetable options at meals but only one starch and protein option at dinner.

Since we tend to enjoy more variety, we may eat more fruits and vegetables when that is where we can get most of our variety. In other words, we will get bored of the starch and protein quicker if they lack variety.

46. Eat veggies galore.

Eat veggies for snacks. Eat a large quantity of veggies at meals and smaller amount of your favorite foods at meals.

47. When eating a sandwich, take one piece of bread off, and eat an open face sandwich.

You still get the flavor and texture of the bread, but less calories.

48. Add red pepper to your meals, especially breakfast or lunch.

Red pepper may suppress your appetite; thus, reduce the amount of food you’ll eat later.

49. Don’t serve the food at the dinner table.

Keep it in the kitchen or better yet; measure out your food to fix your plate and then put the food away in the refrigerator before you eat.

50. One day a week or even better one day a month, cook all your food for the week or month.

Then go ahead and preportion your food before freezing them. Now you are making your very own healthy homemade preportioned frozen dinners. If you want to thy this, you can purchase [10 Pack]3 Compartment Meal Prep Food Storage Containers with Lids/BPA Free Bento Lunch Boxes/Divided Portion Control Container Plates-Microwave, Dishwasher Safe, Free Cutlery


51. Use house hold items as a serving guide; know how to approximate serving sizes.

Always try to make all your servings on your plate about the sizes listed below:

Estimates of Serving Sizes Using Household Objects:

  • Meat = the size of a deck of cards
  • Cheese (1 oz) = the size of 4 dice
  • Skim milk = the size of a tennis ball
  • Fruit = about the size of a tennis ball
  • Pasta or rice = the size of a tennis ball (1 cup) or lightbulb (1/2 cup)
  • Oil = the size of a marble

52. Or go a step further and fill a box with household items like a deck of cards, dice, tennis ball, lightbulb, and marble to gage serving sizes and keep the box in your kitchen for reference.

53. Divide your plate. 

If you and your spouse are having trouble with portion control, fill one plate with food. The divide that food onto to smaller plates. You are both now eating half of what you usually eat.

54. Take a picture of your plate.

Take pictures of your plates at every meal. You can show your pictures to someone for accountability or keep a chart for yourself. This will really hold you accountable, and if we look back at our pictures we can really see where we cheated. With pictures we can’t lie to ourselves.

55. Follow recommended servings per your recommended calorie range (See chart below)

Find your height below to see the amount of servings you should be eating per day if you are lightly to moderaltey active (this is an estimate; the more you exercise the more you will need to eat and the less you exercise the less you should eat. However, if you eat too little you can slow your metabolism and lose muscle mass. Avoid eating less than 1200 a day): 

LIGHTLY TO MODERATELY ACTIVE FEMALE MEAL CHART FOR WEIGHT LOSS

 

LIGHTLY ACTIVE MALE MEAL CHART FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Remember this is an estimate for lightly to moderately active males and females. You may eat more when you exercise more. This may seem like more servings than you would think; however, serving sizes are often smaller than people realize. Check out the serving size chart below

* Serving Sizes:

-Starch serving (pasta or rice) = 1/2 cup or the size of a lightbulb

-Starch serving (bread)= 1 slice

-Fruit serving= 1 fruit or 1/2 cup or the size of a lightbulb

– Milk serving = 1 cup – 1 meat serving = 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards

– Vegetable = 1/2 cup or the size of a lightbulb

 

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“So What Does a Dietitian’s Diet Look Like?”

Ahh lazy summer days…. Summer is the time for relaxing in the sun, exploring magical and exciting places and dining on delicious cuisine while on vacation. This summer has been full of all kinds of wonderful deliciousness. Yet half way through the summer I began to notice a few little changes. I was getting a little softer and my stomach was beginning to hang over my shorts a little more. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should stress over every imperfection, and we shouldn’t panick over every little weight fluctuation. But we should practice awareness and notice when we need to tweak our lifestyle a little before we go down an unhealthy hill. If we get to the bottom of that hill, the climb is going to be much harder than if we make the changes quickly.

I have often told my clients that when they notice they are begining to have unhealthy habits then it might be time to re-take the diet assessment and come up with solutions to our weight control weight loss barriers. And I have found re-assessing my own diet helpful as well. So I decided it was time to do just that. People often ask me “as a dietitian, what does your diet actually look like, and can you please explain in detail?” So here it is, my plan as well as how I developed my plan.  I took my own assessment to develop my plan.

This is what this dietitian’s diet looks like.

So Step-by-Step here is what I did:

Step 1:

I took the “DIY Diet Assessment” located here. In other words, I answered the questions.

Step 2:

 After taking the assessment, I discovered my major barriers.

(Below is a picure of a portion of my own assessment. I went through the assessment and circled all my issues. I jotted down my answer with a pencil. Excuse my sloppy handwriting.)

I noticed that my meals and routine varies from day to day. For some meals, I eat by myself. For some meals, I cook for others. Also, we have been known to frequent restaurants on busy nights.  With such a varying routine, I needed some tips that would work in every scenario. Eating too much can be an issue in all of these situations so I looked at the “Portion Control” post, the “Calorie Counting” post, and the “Mindful Eating: Step by Step Guide” for possible solutions.

I also noticed that I nibble on my children’s uneaten food, especially in the evening. According to the assessment, if this is an issue, I should look at the “Snacking for Weight Loss” post.

Since I do cook at home, I wanted to find a few ideas on the “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss,” the “Reducing Calories in the Foods I Already Eat” and the “Reducing the Calories AND FAT in the Foods I Already Eat” posts.

I also eat out regularly, so I clicked on the “Eating Out” link as well as the already selected “Portion Control,” “Calorie Counting,” and “Mindful Eating” posts.

I go to social events often so I needed to check out the “Social Gatherings Weight Loss Tips” post.

Finally, I noticed that emotional eating is not so much of an issue (except for being tired) BUT I could use a little motivation. So I planned on picking up a few tips from the “Motivating Weight Loss” post.

Step 3:

After I picked which articles would work best for my issues, I needed to narrow down the tips I was going to implement from each blog. This blog contains over 400 tips, tricks, or diets so I should be able to develop a detailed plan that specifically works for me.

(Below is a picture of the printed Portion Control post. After printing the posts which were most benficial for me according to the assessment, I circled the specific tips I wanted to implement).

And here it is…

Disclosure: This site may provide affiliate links. Since this is a post about my actual diet, the affiliate links I share are for products I actually use. (See full disclosure)

 My Final Detailed Plan:

  1. First and formost, focus on mindful eating. If I use the Mindful eating techniques, I can easily be satisfied without seconds even if I eat on a smaller plate. When I use Mindful Eating techniques, my 1600-1800 calorie range (which is my individual recommended calorie range) will feel like plenty of food. When I am eating out, mindful eating will also help me feel satisfied and full even after putting much of my food in a box (another tip I decided to implement). When I mindfully eat, I pause before eating to notice my food. I  pray and thank God before taking my first sip and bite. When I pause I remind myself to be mindful of God’s presence. Eating becomes an act of worship for me. I remind myself I am taking care of God’s creation (me). I want to glorify God by eating slowly and nourishing the body God made. I remind myself of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Wow! What a great reminder!  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 reminds me that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I should glorify God in my body. When I mindLESSly eat, I miss the opportunity to be in awareness of God’s presence. Finally, I take my first sip of drink and only then begin eating. I eat slowly and notice each bite. I put my fork down and completely chew BEFORE even reaching for my drink. I take a sip of drink, then pick up my fork and prepare my next bite. *Note that when you are use to larger portions, eating a healthier portion may seem small to you; however, take the time to pause before eating and look at your food. As you look, think about how long you are able to enjoy your food when you mindfully eat.When you do this, suddenly the portion looks plentiful. 
  2. I keep up with my calorie intake using my Fitbit app. My goal is 1600-1800 calories per day. I use the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Teal, Small (US Version).
  3. I eat breakfast AFTER getting my kids off to school. So first thing in the morning, I drink a shake to give me the energy to get the kids ready for school. I sit down and mindfully eat a healthy breakfast after taking the kids to school. Several healthy nutritious shakes are currently on the market. I am currently drinking Beachbody shakes called “Shakeology”. I get my shakes through the the official Beachbody coaching site of Heather Wilson. If you want more information click here. I am so tired in the morning that I just want to grab something nutritous and energizing before I can start my day. These shakes do this for me. They have even helped me cut down on my little vice, diet cokes. I usually don’t use shakes as a meal replacement. Many feel that they need to chew to feel satisfied; therefore, shakes as a replacement meal may not be ideal. This is true for me as well. I mostly drink a shake to get added nutrients and to hold me over until I can sit down and eat breakfast after my children are in school. The only time I drink a shake for a meal is when I have zero time eat. Drinking a nutrient-filled shake is better than skipping a meal.
  4. Like many families, we tend to stick with around 20 of the of the same recipes and only occasionally eat something new. I made a list of these recipes as well as a list of the lunch and snack foods we tend to eat. Then, I made a master grocery list based on this. Following this grocery list when grocery shopping helps me avoid impulse buys.
  5. When grocery shopping and cooking at home, I look for the lower calorie and whole-wheat version of foods.
  6. I also try to purchase mostly healthy snack foods and avoid keeping unhealthy snacks in the house, especially our most tempting unhealthy snacks.
  7. When cooking, I prepare no more than four food items. If you cook too many options, you often eat too much.
  8. I keep gum in front of the snack foods in my pantry. When I feel the urge to mindlessy snack, I grab a low calorie piece of gum instead. This is such a small thing that has had a big impact for me.
  9. I also often spend one day a month cooking and freezing dinners for the whole month. This helps prevent impulse eating out.
  10. I try to drink water before my first bite at every meal. In fact, I will grab a glass of water before I put anything in my mouth to make sure I’m not thirsty instead of hungry. Pausing to drink water before eating also helps us eat mindfully.
  11. I portion control at home by eating on a small plate. I avoid filling my plate with seconds unless I am physically (VS. emotionally) hungry. However, when I mindfully eat, I usually am satisfied without seconds.
  12. When dining out, I usually ask for a box before I finish eating, and put enough food in the box to make the portions left on my plate appropriate. If we pause and truly look at our meals, we can usually tell if our plate looks overfilled or appropriate.
  13. When eating a sandwich at home or out, I will remove one piece of bread, and eat an open face sandwich. This is just one way to reduce calories.
  14. I do a 25-30 minute “Beachbody on Demand” exercise every morning, 6 days a week. Sometimes I will do extra classes at the gym when I can. This was a solution to one of my newer barriers. I love taking classes at my gyms, LA Fitness and B-Fit Studio; however, consistency was becoming an issue. With fitness classes, you have to be available at the exact time the class is scheduled. If I have a doctors appointment, kids camp, a meeting, or anything at the time of the class, then I can’t go. Or if the instructor occasionally has to cancel because, you know, life happens, then I miss my scheduled workout. To combat with this problem, I knew I needed something I could do anytime, but I also knew I am the type of person who needed someone to motivate me and push me. The instructors on beachbody do this for me. I still workout at the gym, but I don’t worry if I can’t get to the class. I count my beachbody video as my workout. The group classes at the gym is just extra and for fun. As I mentioned earlier, I order my Beachbody products through an official Beachbody coach, Heather Wilson. With Beachbody on Demand, I have access to all of those amazing Beachbody exercise programs that you see advertised on TV like P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, Hip Hop Abs, Cize, and more. I have always wanted everyone of them! With Beachbody  on Demand, I can get all of them for a year.
  15.  Group boards, forums, or challenge groups, are great sources of motivation. In groups, you can support and encourage each other. Health and Fitness Groups give you a place to cheer each other on, share your success stories and weaknesses. We also discuss ideas and recipes. For motivation, I regularly share my successes and challenges with a Beachbody coach and team. A Beachbody coach is really someone who facilitates the conversations and starts the challenge groups. You can also purchase Beachbody products through an official Beachbody coach. Click here for more information.
  16. Remember I also get motivation and insiration  by pausing before I eat to remember those awesome Bible verses from 1 Corinthians that I discussed earlier
  17. Social gatherings, I drink a glass of water before eating or drinking anything else and I try to eat mindfully.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

 

 

 

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