Travel Soccer Meal and Snack Ideas for Optimal Performance

Travel Soccer is no cake walk especially if you are eating cake before the game! Travel soccer players often have to play two games a day and games are frequently on back-to-back days. The soccer player’s meals should provide adequete fuel, hydration, protein, and electrolytes and post-meals also need to replenish nutrients lost during the prior competition. Players want to eat these meals in a time frame that can help prevent hunger AND prevent GI problems due to undigested foods.   With the busy schedule and frequent games, sometimes deciding on meals and snacks is overwhelming. This post provides travel soccer meal and snack ideas. Whether you prefer to cook at home or need something you can grab and go, this post has it coverd.

Pre-game Meal Overview

The Pre-game meal should be high in carbohydrates (to maximize glygogen stores, which is the storage form of readily available energy), moderate in protein, low in fat, spicy foods, simple sugars, and fiber. The meal should be eaten 2-4 hours before the game. (I lean towards 2 hours)

During the Game Nutrients Overview

Hydrating with just water is recommended if your competition last for less than an hour. Since soccer is a one-hour sport, frequently drinking water throughout the game is usually preferable. If you are attending a long practice or an all day soccer camp, consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates after an hour to enhance endurance. Consume electrolyte-replenishing products like Gatorade or nuun tablets along with water when you are practicing for longer than an hour. When exercising for an extended period of time (marathon time frame), consume carbohydrates every 15 to 20 minutes. Ex: Gel packs, energy bars (See links below)

A Note about Electrolyte Replenishers

Note that limiting simple sugars is a pre-game recommendation to prevent GI distress, and yet some sports drinks contain simple sugars. This can be confusing since after an hour you will need electrolytes and carbohydrates, but you are also trying to avoid simple sugars. I have heard testimony from some runners that the simple sugars in sports drinks do, in fact, bother their stomach. Everyone is different, and some can tolerate simple sugars a little more than others.

Here are my thoughts on this subject. Ideally you will eat more complex carbohydrates and less simple sugars in your pre-game meals or between game meals and snacks. However, sometimes our bodies run out of energy. Have you ever seen a runner “hit the wall?” These runners have literally run out of fuel. They no longer have the fuel to be able to move! So in a crutch and when you don’t have the time to get the fuel from elsewhere, simple sugars found in sports drinks will do the trick.  Sports drinks have the needed carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water all in one place. Therefore, sports drinks are good to have handy in a pinch. Plus, if your glycogen storage (storage form of carbohydrates) is extremely low, these simple sugars are faster acting.

But…

You do have other options. Remember, when you are exercising for over an hour, your body is going to need more electrolytes, carbohydrates, and, of course, water. One option is to get your electrolytes and water through your beverage and your carboydrates through food. You can do this by using electrolyte tablets like nuun tablets in your water. Another option is to get your electrolytes and carbohydrates through food; then, drink plain water to rehydrate. Many energy bars contain electrolytes and more complex carbohydrates like oats. I also love no-bake energy bites as an electrolyte and carbohydrate source. You can find several excellent dietitian developed recipes below. In other words, sports drinks contain all three components: water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. However, you can combine other options to get all three componets and still consume less simple sugars.

*Note if you have decreased kidney function, be sure to talk with your doctor before using electrolyte supplements or enerygy bars. When you have decreased kidney function, you may need to limit the amount of electrolytes in your diet.

soccer photo

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Ideas to Replenish Electrolytes During a Long Practice or All-day Camp:

 

 

Two Games a Day: Meal Between Games Overview

The goal of the between game meal is to replenish glycogen stores, replenish fluid loss, and replenish electrolyte loss. Your meal should be higher in carbohydrates and moderate in protein. You want the meal to satisfy hunger, but not cause GI distress. In other words, you don’t want to eat something too heavy between games.

Ideas to Replenish Electrolytes Between Games:

  • See above “Ideas to Replenish Electrolytes” 

Post Game Meal IF you do NOT have a game the next day: Overview

Your number one priority is to hydrate. The goal of this meal is to replenish glycogen, lipids, and protein lost during the game. You can replenish these adequately with a normal healthy meal. A healthy plate should be ¼ lean carbohydrates, ¼ lean meats, and half fruits and vegetables.

Post Game Meal IF you have another Game AGAIN the Next Day: Overview

The #1 priority is to replace fluid loss. If you have a game the next day, the meal should take place within 30 minutes after the competition. The meal should be high in carbohydrates to replace glycogen loss and moderate in protein. Make sure half your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables as well. THEN, if you are competing AGAIN the next day, you should eat 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kg body weight every 2 hours for 6 hours.

Carbohydrates Ideas to Eat Every 2 Hours for 6 Hours (When playing AGAIN the next day)

  • Banana
  • Pita bread and hummus
  • Whole Wheat Crackers with babybel cheese

  • Whole Wheat Crackers with peanut butter or cheese

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites (See Recipe)

Remember your pre-game meal, between game meal or snack, and your post game meal especially if your are completing AGAIN the next day should be high in carbohydrates and moderate in protein. Use the table below to pick a meal high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, and low in spicy foods, simple sugars, and fat.

Pick a Carbohydrate Pick a Protein
Baked Potato Lean Turkey
Whole Wheat Pasta Lean Ground Beef
Whole What Bread (Sandwich) Grilled Chicken
Brown Rice Cheese
Whole Wheat Pita Eggs
Whole Wheat Soft Tortilla Nuts
Whole Wheat Bagel Thin slices of chicken
Banana (Eat a whole wheat carb as well; natural simple sugars are ok as long as they are eaten with a complex carb. Complex carbs last longer.)
Orange (Eat a whole wheat carb as well; natural simple sugars are ok as long as they are eaten with a complex carb. Complex carbs last longer)
Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Recipe from Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD at www.hungryhobby.com

 

Sometimes you may not have time for a sit-down meal between games, or when your game is early. Below are some healthy on-the-go meal or snack options.

Use the table below to pick a On-The-Go meal high Carbohydrate, Moderate protein, low in spicy foods, simple sugars, and fat.

Pick a Carbohydrate Pick a Protein
Popcorn (It’s a whole grain!) Boiled Egg
Whole Wheat Bread Peanut Butter
Whole Wheat Bagel Lean Turkey Slices
Whole Wheat Pita Thinly Sliced Chicken
Whole Wheat Crackers Nuts
Whole Wheat wrap Cheese
Organic Boom Chick Pop Cream Cheese
Pretzels Hummus
Banana BabyBel Cheese
Orange Horizon Organic Cheese sticks
Low Sugar/whole grain cereal
If You Really Don’t Have time you can grab a Bar that has Both Carbs and Protein
Sustain Energy Bar Sustain Energy Bar
Power Bar Power Bar
ClifBar CliffBar
Unreal Bar Unreal Bar
Rx Bar Rx Bar
Gel Pack Gel Pack
No-Bake Energy Bites (See a list of Dietitian Developed Recipes Below) No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Peanut Putter Cherry Trail Mix Bites from Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RD at www.bucketlisttummy.com

Protein Brownie Bites by Lara Clevenger, RD at www.laraclevenger.com

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls from Dixya Bhattarai, RD at www.foodpleasureandhealth.com

Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites from Amy Gorin, RD at amydgorin.com

Brownie Pistachio Energy Bites from Jennifer Mulr Bowers, RD at dr.jennbowersnutrition.com

Soccer photo

Pre-game, post-game, and Between Meal Ideas:

 (Remember pre-game and in between meals should be high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fats, fiber, and spicy foods. You don’t want the between game meal to be too heavy since they meal will probably be within 2 hours of the game. Incorporate high fiber fruits, beans, and vegetables in the post-game meal.)

  •  Baked Potato with lean ground turkey and cheese
  • Whole wheat pasta with lean ground beef and tomato sauce
  • Whole wheat turkey sandwich with pretzels
  • Marinated grilled chicken with brown rice
  • Lasagna
  • Whole wheat bread with thinly sliced chicken
  • Omelet sandwich on whole wheat bread and a banana
  • Turkey and cheese wrap in a whole wheat soft tortilla
  • Whole Wheat Bagel with cream cheese
  • Pita bread (whole wheat) with hummus
  • Whole Wheat French Toast

 

On-the-Go Meal or Snack Ideas (great for times when you are in a hurry or in between two games):

  • Whole Wheat Bagel with Cream Cheese
  • Boiled egg, Pretzels, and a Banana
  • Popcorn and nuts
  • Turkey sandwich with pretzels
  • Peanut Butter or cheese with whole wheat crackers, or
  • BabyBel cheese and crackers

  • Total Cereal, orange slices and a boiled egg

  • Hummus on whole wheat pita bread
  • A ClifBar and a banana

  • Popcorn, nuts, and a banana

* Note: When stopping at a restaurant, try to follow the same meal guidelines. For example, when you are eating a pre-game meal, you may want to choose a grilled chicken sandwich without the fries. Fries are higher in fat and can cause more GI distress. Remember to try to avoid higher fat foods and fried foods.

For more details on why these meal recommendations are helpful for the soccer athlete, see “Sports Nutrition: What to Eat Before, During, and After Competition for Optimal Performance.”

 

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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The Ultimate Gift List for the Health and Fitness Fanatic

 

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links (See full disclosure). No really, this particular post is all about my favorite health and fitness gifts.  Sooo this particular post has affiliate links all up and down and sideways. Writing this fun post has me ready to make my personal wish list! Have fun reading and gift lists planning!

The Health and Fitness Gift List

    1. I love this water bottle!

30oz Inspirational Fitness Workout Sports Water Bottle with Time Marker | Measurements | Goal Marked Times Bottle For Measuring Your H2O Intake, BPA Free Non-toxic Tritan (Think Pink Fuchsia)

This pretty water bottle includes inspirational words to keep you motivated and uplifted. The water bottle is BPA free as well. My favorite water bottles provide a time marker/measurenent indicator on the bottle so that you can be sure you are taking in enough water throughout your day.

2. I am so excited about this Fitbit! The Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch, Slate Blue/Burnt Orange, One Size (S & L Bands Included) is amazing and looks cool too! Just like the other fitbits, you can track your steps, workouts, calorie burn, sleep, recieve call and text notifications, and many more features. This Ionic includes workouts on your writs with step-by step coaching. You can store and play 300+ songs and access your favorite apps! I would LOVE to get this as a Christmas gift (wink, wink to my husband)

3. Ok, so if your loved one gets this Fitbit or has another Fitbit, you may want to give Fitbit accessories as a gift like a pretty Fitbit band. I am in love with the teal color band for the Fitbit Ionic! Check it out and other pretty colors by clicking the link below:

Quartly New Soft Silicone Replacement Sport Band Strap for Fitbit Ionic Smart Fitness Watch (D)

 

4. Okay, Okay so there are a ton of awesome Fitbit accessories, but I will only recommend one more before I move on to other great gift ideas. The Fitbit Aria 2 Wifi + Bluetooth Smart Scale, Black kind of blows my mind! This scale syncs stats automatically to your Fitbit!

5. This next fitness gift is a cute inexpensive item that your fun health and fitness conscience friend would get a kick out of.  This gift is called Fitness Dice by Strength Stack 52. Bodyweight Exercise Workout Game. Designed by a Military Fitness Expert. Video Instructions Included. No Equipment Needed. Burn Fat and Build Muscle at Home. You just roll the dice to see which workout you will do next. This keeps your exercises interesting, and the dice are easy to carry with you when you are traveling. I would be so happy if someone got me these dice.

6. I cannot believe this is even a thing. I love all things personalized, and I love coloring. This is a Color In Yoga Mat – Adult Coloring Book Style Exercise Yoga & Pilates Mats, Bonus Carrying Case with Pocket – Birds – By Yogartistic. Did you get that! You get to color your own yoga/fitness mat!!!! They have several different prints to choose from.

7. Sticking with the personalized theme, this is a PERSONALIZED Duffle Bag or Monogrammed Gym Bag by BROAD BAY. My favorite part is the compartment at the bottom where you can carry your dirty shoes separately.

christmas gifts photo

8. I actually mentioned the gym bag purposely above these next few gifts.  If you really want to wow someone special with an amazing gift, you could fill the above gym bag with a few of these smaller items like a water bottle such as the inspirational one mentioned above and the Chill Pal (Blue) PVA Cooling Towel Stay Cool Towel Cold Towel Sports Towel Chill Towels For Sports Men Dogs Kids Neck Bulk Athletes Instant Cooling Relief Yoga Camping Workout Running.

9. You could also add your friends favorite healthy snacks and nutrient replenishers to the gym bag likeCLIF BAR – Energy Bar – Chocolate Chip – (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count) and Nuun Hydration: Electrolyte Drink Tablets, Juicebox Mix, Box of 4 Tubes

10. If your family or friend works in the health and nutrition industry, they might like the Health o meter Digital Measuring Tape, Accurately Measures 8 Body Part Circumferences

11. The nurtition conscience person or health professional would love the EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale – Professional Food and Nutrient Calculator. This scale not only weighs your food but also calculates the calories, carbs, fiber, sodium, fats, vitamin K and six other nutrients in the amount of food your are weighing!

12. I am a huge believer in journaling. I especially like journaling about my fitness journeys and my spiritual growth. The 40 Days of Faith and Fitness: A Devotional Journal lets you journal about both!

13. If you friend would rather have a straight health and fitness journal, try the Fitlosophy Fitbook: Fitness Planner and Food Journal, Black Single (12-Week)

14. I like comfortable and cool workout clothes. These Fitglam Women’s Soft Modal Yoga Harem Pilates Pants Long Baggy Sports Workout Dancing Trousers. ARe so comfy. I feel like they are flattering at the waist too! That is a huge plus in my book. You can get them in all sorts of colors.

15. Fitness fanatics love getting new workout equipment. The Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System helps you target specific muscles!

16. I want this MILATA Fruit Pineapple Shaped Women Pu Leather Clutch Purse Cross Body Bag (yellow)! They have several other fruit shaped purses as well! What a cute accessory for the health professional or the health conscience.

 

17. Okay so the Luxury Insulated Wine Clutch – Black Crocodile is technically for wine, but what a great way to keep your water cool and your veggie snacks fresh.  You can have healthy snacks wherever you go! I mean, its a cooler…in a purse! How awesome is that!

18. Fitness Cookie cutters! Enough said! You CAN make your cookies healthier too! Yoga Silhouette Cutter Set

19. This Gmai Chic Jewelry Fitness Gym Barbell Plate Dumbbell Weight Plate Men Women Pendant Expandable Wire Bangle Adjustable Packing organza is so pretty and fun! You can add these fitness charms to a bracelet or necklace!

That is it! My favorite health and fitness gifts! Which were your favorites?

If you want to see more fun gift ideas, check out “The Ultimate Gift List for the Christian Soul.”

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

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Another Award- Leibster Award!

Mindfulness in Faith and Food has been Nominated for Another Award- The Liebster Award!

Thank you Taylor Leigh Welborn for your Nomination!

Being a new blogger is a little intimidating! When I started blogging, I had so many doubts and fears; this is why being nominated for the “Liebster Award ” is so exciting! The blogging community has been so encouraging and has shown the Mindfulness in Faith and Food” blog so much support. Thank you so much for the nomination!

Follow the Rules: Find them Here

Please everyone go check out Taylor Leigh Welborn’s blog “Simple Living Nursing Mama.” Taylor provides so much helpful information such as great recipes, breastfeeding advice, tips and tricks, and more! Please go check out her blog!

Another one of my favorite blogs is …

The “GreatBig Life” at necasmith.com. Neca is a professional counselor/therapist and writes a Christian blog for Christian women who want to grow spiritually and have a purposeful walk with Christ in everyday life. Her blog is uplifting and inspiring. She helps us, her readers ask questions like “What is next for me?” What is my purpose?” and “Why an I here?” I have enjoyed many of her blog post, especially her posts, “4 Things Keeping You From Experiencing the Presence of God on a Daily Basis,” and “6 Scriptures to Meditate on During a Difficult Work Day.” Her blog not only has great content but also is visually appealing with beautiful bright colors. I feel better after reading her blog! Be sure to check her blog out at

10 Random Facts About Myself

  • I am a registered dietitian with a master in human nutrition.
  • I love all things Disney, especially Walt Disney World.
  • I enjoy dancing and have even danced with a MixxedFit Dance crew.
  • I have two children: an almost 8 year old boy and a 4 year old girl.
  • I enjoy cooking for my family and friends
  • I graduated form Clemson University and am a HUGE Clemson fan
  • I ugly cried when Clemson won the National Championship
  • I have tried out for the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel for two years in a row, but have yet to make it. Third time is a charm?
  • I love to wear sweatpants!
  • Sleeves make me feel uncomfortable. I wear sleeveless shirts even in the winter. I just put a jacket of sweatshirt over the sleeveless shirt.

Q&A

  • . For what in your life do you feel most grateful
    • God, my family and friends
  • What is your favorite meal?
    •   Mexican food is my current favorite
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
    • Walt Disney World because I am a kid at heart.
  • What is your favorite blog post? Why? (Include a link)
  • What makes you laugh?
    • Silly movies
  • What is your weirdest quirk?
    • I don’t like wearing sleeves
  •  What made you start blogging?
    • I have always had a desire to write. I was writing stories since I was a little girl. Throughout my career as a dietitian, I kept going back to writing. I have been a freelance writer, written a nutrition column for the 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 desk drawer, I should start sharing all of my writing with others in hopes that others will find some of the information helpful.
  • Where do you see yourself a year from now?
    •  I hope I am still blogging and helping others in the areas of health and fitness and mindfulness. I hope God leads me, and I hope I listen. I hope I have learned more than I know now.
  • What would be your biggest piece of advice to fellow bloggers?
    • Be kind and supportive of other bloggers. I have received so much support from other bloggers, and I am so thankful for that!
  • What is your favorite song to dance to?
    • I like to dance to Disney songs with my kids
  •  What is the best vacation you have ever been on?
    • Walt Disney World, of course!

 My Nominee Picks!

GreatBig Life at Necasmith.com

Less in the Nest

Our Cookery

A Frugal Desteny

Army Wife With Daughters

A Mama Tale

Questions for the Nominees!

  • For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  • What is your favorite meal?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
  • What is your favorite blog post? Why? (Include a link)
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What is your weirdest quirk?
  • What made you start blogging? Where do you see yourself a year from now?
  • What would be your biggest piece of advice to fellow bloggers?
  • What is your favorite song to dance to?
  • What is the best vacation you have ever been on?

Get Back to Me!

Please leave a comment on this post that you have accepted your nomination!

Make sure you comment on The Global Aussie’s post to let him know that you are nominated!

If you have any questions make sure to head over to The Global Aussie! You can find all the information that you need there!

Thank you again Susan for nominating me!!

 

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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

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

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

 

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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“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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DIY Weight Loss Plan: A Dietitian’s Guide on How to Create Your Own Weight Loss Plan

 

All You Need to Develop Your Own DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Plan.

This is one of my favorite of my nutrition posts. This is what I would call my anchor post. Below I have included an adaptation of the assessment I developed for my weight loss clients. I used this assessment to customize their specific plan.  I am sharing this assessment and my whole blog because I professionally and personally understand the weight loss struggle. I know the peace I get from mindful eating and more importantly the peace I feel from mindfully being aware of God’s presence. This is the go-to post if you want to learn from a dietitian how to develop your own plan.  This is how I develop weight loss plans for my clients!!! Now I have it here for anyone who needs help creating an effective weight loss plan. Save/pin/bookmark this for when you have time to sit down, carefully read the whole post, take notes, and develop your own weight loss plan. The assessment will determine which diet plans, tricks, and tips will work best for you. I have pulled together almost every trick, diet, and tip that I have collected throughout my years of being a dietetic student in undergraduate and graduate school, a dietetic intern, a dietitian, and a nutrition instructor. The assessment will link you to the specific lists of tips and diet plans that will work for you. Now you can create your own DIY Weight Loss Plan!

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

 

How to Use This DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Develop Your Own Plan

Step 1

First, answer the questions! You will notice that the questionnaire wants you to think of the reasons you cannot lose weight. Remember, when you go through this first step, you are not just making excuses. You need to understand your barriers to be able to make the change. After determining ALL the barriers that are hindering your weight loss, write them down. You will narrow your barriers down in the next step.

checklist photo

Step 2

After determining your barriers, pick a few barriers that are Your biggest issues or pick a few you would like to focus on. If you have printed off the assessment, circle the questions that revealed your BIGGEST barriers.

Step 3

For the next few steps, you will continue narrowing down your goals until you have determined the few that will work best for you. Now that you have determined your barriers,  you need to find solutions to each barrier. You will find links in the parentheses below each question that will help you pick tips, tricks and diets. Click on the links and pick the articles that you feel will best help you find solutions to your particular barriers. Circle the article links found in the assessment that you feel will benefit you the most based on your barriers OR print, pin, save the articles that you would like to focus on. notepad photo

Step 4

You are getting close to determining your specific diet plan. Now you will look at the articles you selected and determine which tip, trick, or diets within the articles that you will actually use. Pick 3-5 tips or tricks that will be part of your plan and write them down. You may want to keep your plan somewhere visible. Keep practicing your changes until they become second nature to you.

Things to Remember

  • Often times if you try to change too much at once, you will get overwhelmed. Plus, you might be surprised at how many calories you can decrease by changing just a few small areas of your diet. For example, I had a client once tell me that she loved to sip on sweet tea. She sipped on it all day. She had a glass when she was cooking, when she was on the computer, and when she was watching TV. She had a glass all the time. We figured out that if she just switched to unsweetened tea or water, she would decrease her calorie intake by around 700 calories a day. She lost 20 pounds by making this one change. Every bit counts and adds up. You only need to take 300-1000 calories out of your day to lose 1/2-2 pounds per week. If you take out more calories than this you risk slowing your metabolism, increasing your chances of giving up, AND losing more muscle instead of just fat.
  • You will want to combine several different techniques to personalize your own plan. For example, you may want to do the calorie counting diet (see the“Calorie Counting post”), but you want to make calorie counting easier by doing the prepackaged meals your breakfast and lunch. You decide that eating a breakfast biscuit like Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry, 1.76 Ounce, 12 Count for bre and replacing your lunch with a frozen meal like the Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) will make calorie counting easier since all you need to do is look at the back of the box. Planning to eat prepackaged meals everyday has advantages and disadvantages. Please read the “Prepackaged Meals” post to see if this plan is right for you. For dinner you decide to keep track of your calories by using the Myfitness pal or your Fitbit app (You can get a Fit bit by clicking here: Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)). Now you have combined three different types of diets (Calorie Counting, Pre-Packaged Meals, and the use of apps to customize a diet for you.)
  • With all diets, I strongly recommend incorporating Mindful Eating. Mindful Eating can help with almost any barrier from work nibbling, portion control, snacking, and dining out.
  • Make sure you DO choose tricks that address one of your problems. For example, if snacking is not a problem, then don’t choose a snacking tip. Choose the ones that will make the biggest impact. And remember; don’t try to do everything or every trick.
  • Understand that “mess ups” are part of the process. We are not perfect. We will mess up. That is part of the process in every diet. The key is to not give up when you do mess up. If you feel like you failed on Wednesday, don’t say “forget it,” and eat poorly on Thursday too. Again, you would have saved many calories if you had just gotten back on track on Thursday. Some weeks you will get frustrated. Some weeks you lose more than others; some weeks you will reach plateaus, and I know from experience plateaus are frustrating. Unfortunately, the closer you get to your goal weight the more your body holds onto those last few pounds. So for anyone going through a plateau, I know how you feel, but I want to encourage you that it will pass.
  • Take a multivitamin. I wish we were all getting the nutrients we need, but most people, unfortunately, are not getting all the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets.
  • Give your plan a few weeks. If you are having trouble with one component of your plan, go back to the solutions and try something else. Or after implementing your plan for a while you may notice a barrier you had not thought of before. Go back to the solutions or tips to decide how you can combat that barrier. Sometimes perfecting you plan takes time and practice. If you do mess up or find something difficult, don’t give up. Instead re-analyze why you messed up. Come back to your assessment to figure our ways to prevent it from happening again.

Sample Diet Assessment

 Still need a little help seeing how this will work? Let’s look at a couple of examples of barriers  and solutions:

Barrier 1: You see from your assessment that you have problems with portion control so you click on the suggested solution articles. You first look at the Portion Control Tricks blog to see if there is a trick that can help you. You like the trick about pre-portioning and freezing your foods. Now you have a way to stop your portion control problem. Or maybe you decide the “Prepackaged Meals or Meal Replacements” Blog would help you with your portion control problem. You decide you are going to do the Healthy Choice Chicken Soup Variety-15 oz, 10 ct meals for lunch. You like that with this solution the food is already pre-portioned for you. You think you can’t mess up on portions because these are already portioned for you.

Barrier 2: After finishing the assessment, you discover afternoon snacks are your main problem. You select the suggested post “Healthy Snack Choices”. You decide that instead of eating in the afternoon, you will do an activity in the afternoon.weights photo

Below is a Sample Plan Developed After Completing the assessments  

 My Plan:

I will eat Kellogg’s cereal Kellogg’s Cereal Cup Assortment Pack – Wellness (6 Flavors),Pack of 60 for breakfast with skim milk. I will use a measuring cup to portion my cereal.

I will take a frozen dinner like a Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) to work for lunch.

I will bring a bag of raw carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower to work to snack on throughout the day. I will not eat the donuts that are always at work. Instead, I will have my snacks always available.

For dinner, I will cook a meal using the low calorie cookbook, Betty Crocker The 300 Calorie Cookbook: 300 tasty meals for eating healthy everyday (Betty Crocker Cooking), and I will eat from a small breakfast plate. I will fill most of my plate with food, but avoid getting seconds. Half of my plate will be filled with vegetables.

For exercise, I will park far away in a parking lot. I will walk up and down my stairs 5 times every time I enter my house. For one 30-minute television show a week, I will run in place during the commercials.

Alright, now you are ready to do your own diet assessment and develop your personalized plan based on proven weight loss techniques.

DIY Diet Assessment Form

Date                           .

Height:                  Age                   Weight                Usual Weight                           

How much would you like to lose?

Have you recently gained or lost weight?                  If so, how much                       

Medical History : Please discuss any medical conditions with a doctor and/or dietitian. A dietitian can help you personalize a diet for these specific conditions. For example, if you have diabetes, a dietitian can teach you how to do what is called “Carb Counting” or how to use the “Diabetic Exchange.”

Your Daily Routine Questions

How many meals do you eat per day?             Snacks per day?         

Do you eat breakfast?        

(If no, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”, pay attention to the tip on eating breakfast)

Do you skip meals?         

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tip on skipping meals.)

Do you find following a diet difficult due to always feeling hungry?

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tips in this section that mentions helping you feel full, or preventing hunger,)

Work Questions

Occupation                                           .

Describe how your occupation affects your eating and exercise                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                           

Do your coworkers tempt you at work by always ordering take out, going out for lunch, or getting fast food together?                  

(If yes, see “Pre-packaged, Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Weight Loss Tips”,  tip #2 in “16 Weight Loss Tips“, “When my Work Environment Causes Weight Gain,” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight“)

Do you travel frequently for work?                  

(If yes, see “Vacation or Frequent Traveler Weight Loss Tips” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight” to develop your diet plan)

Is snack food always available at work or do you snack at work?              

(If yes, see “Snacking Tips for Weight Loss” and “When Your Work Environment Causes Weight Gain” to develop your own diet plan.)

Personal Side Note: We always had complementary food available on the center of the table in the break room or there were always food available in the break room due to celebrating a coworker’s birthday or having a going away party, or baby shower, etc. I had to avoid the break room and bring my own food to work. Eating food from the break room, even a little bit was not an option for me.

Dining Out Questions

How many times do you eat out per week?              

Do you eat out often or are you always on the go and never eat at home?         

If Yes, see “Eating Out Tips for Weight Loss”.)

Name the restaurants where you most frequently eat?                                                                                            

Do you pass by tempting restaurants on your way to work? Is it hard to pass by that restaurant or coffee place without getting something?                      

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, tip number 6)

Do you tend to overeat or eat high-calorie, lower-nutrient foods when you eat out?

(If dining out seems to be a weight loss barrier for you, see Dining Out Weight Loss Tips)

Meals at Home Questions

Who cooks your meals?                       .

How often do they cook per week?                     .

Are the majority of the meals you eat cooked at home?                .

Are you expected to cook meals or are you the main cook for your family?             

If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you often cook high fat meals because it is easier, quicker, or because you can’t think of what else to cook or you don’t know how to make meals lower in calories?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you feel you are not good at menu planning?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Who do you eat with?                           .

Do you feel like you can’t cook lower calorie meals because your other family members won’t eat it?                  

(If the answer is yes and you feel that you cannot control what types of foods you eat due to your family, then control how much you eat instead by using Portion Control Tips. You could also try cooking the same meals that your family always enjoys, only using the lower calorie versions, see “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat” and “How to Reduce the Fat in the Foods you Already Eat” for ideas.” Many times families think they won’t like lower calorie foods but they are just as good. Try a few lower calorie recipes to see what your family thinks.)

Does someone else cook the food and therefore you feel you do not have control over what you eat?                   

(If yes, then you will have to control your portions instead of what types of foods you eat so see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips. The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” post may also work well for you temporarily)

Does living with others make buying and having healthy foods in your house difficult?                

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.”)

Do you have difficulty with wanting larger portions or seconds at meals?                      

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or the “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined.)

Do you feel like you always end up putting too much food on your plate?             

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined. Focus on the tips about plating your food in the Portion Control Tips)

Do you feel like you aren’t eating very much at meals?

(Maybe you just don’t realize how much you are eating. If this could be a possibility see “Calorie Counting Tips,” “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips,” or the “Prepackaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement Tips”)

Are you not sure what a serving size is or not sure how much you are suppose to be eating?                  

(If this is an issue, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.“)

Who does the grocery shopping?                     .

Are there unhealthy foods in your house?                           

 (If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.”)

Do you often snack on unhealthy snacks?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss.”)

Are you sometimes too busy to plan meals when you get home, so you just make something easy and quick           

(If yes, see “ Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss,”  “Tips for Reducing Calories in your Meals and Cooking” and “Tips for Reducing Fat in the Meals you Already Eat.”)

Are there certain foods you have trouble resisting?        What are some of those tempting foods for you?              

(If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss Tips“.)

Do you have trouble resisting certain foods in the grocery store?           

(If yes, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.“)

How often do you eat frozen meals per week?            

(If you eat frozen meals or quick meals often and rarely cook, then the “Pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement diet” tips may work well for you.)

Do you only have to prepare meals for yourself?                      

(If yes, the “Prepackaged. Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Plans for Weight Loss,” “How to Lose Weight by Calorie Counting,”  “Meal Planning for Weight Loss,” “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “.“)

Where do you eat when you are eating at home?                  

Do you eat at different places other than the table?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“.)

Is the TV on while you eat?                

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”.)

Non-Meal Times, i.e. Snacking Questions

What time of day do you snack or nibble on anything other than your meals?               

List the foods you snack on                                                                                              

(If snacking is an issue see “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you nibble on a few things here and there occasionally throughout the day?     

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you graze throughout the day?       

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you taste your meals or nibble while cooking?

(If yes, see  “Snacking for Weight Loss“, pay attention to the tips about snacking while cooking)

Do you sometimes grab a couple of bites while doing something else like working, cooking, watching TV, using the computer, studying, etc?          

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Eating our Emotions Questions

* If you snack due to any of the emotions below, you may find the “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss” post helpful.

Do you snack or splurge when you are bored?          

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are stressed?         

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are sad?              

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are tired?

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Are you getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights?        

(If no, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, #8, and “Snacking for Weight Loss,” # 1.)

Do you eat because you need a break from work or because you are procrastinating?             

  (If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss”)

Activity Questions

exercise photo
Photo by Fit Approach

How often are you currently working out and what do you do?                             

Do you have trouble finding time to exercise?          

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips”, # 11, “How to Lose Weight When You are Too Busy to Exercise“, and “Exercises You can Do with Your Children”)

Do you enjoy exercise?          

(If no, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

When is the best time for you to exercise?           .

Do you get bored exercising?           

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you have trouble balancing exercise with time with your children or do your children seem to take up all of your time?            

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you often feel too tired to exercise?                  

If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you feel too embarrassed to exercise in public?                

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children” to find activities you can do alone until you have more confidence, or find activities that you would not be embarrassed to do, or find ways to get physical activity throughout your day.)

Motivation Questions

Do you start out doing great on a diet and then have trouble keeping it up?              

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you give up or get frustrated when you mess up on a diet?            

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you get frustrated and give up if you don’t lose weight right away?           

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you sometimes say to yourself, “Well, I have already messed up today, so I may as well go all out?”             

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you spend a lot of time out with friends or at social gatherings?            

If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Parties and Social Gatherings“)

Misc. Questions

Tell me what your day is like from morning to night including everything you do throughout the day and eat including condiments and serving sizes.                                                                                                                                                          

Do you gain weight during vacations?            

(If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Vacations and Frequent Travelers“)

List the things you most often drink? Do these drinks have calories?                   

(If yes, see “Top 5 Tips for Reducing Liquid Calories”)

Do you tend to go through more than one container or packet of sauces and dips like ranch, honey mustard, may, BBQ sauce, etc?

(If yes, see the post on Hidden Calories and  How to decrease the Fat and Calories in the Foods You Eat)

Do you find resisting sweet foods difficult?                           

(If yes, see 4 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have a Sweet Tooth)

Do you find that you tend to eat healthy until you get out of your routine, and then your healthy lifestyle falls away? In other words, do you find that you go from one extreme to the other when you diet? 

If this is a problem with you, you may want to focus on mindful eating. Some days you will eat more calories than others, but you will not lose control and over do it. On days when you can’t follow your routine, if you mindfully eat, you can still joyfully eat a healthy portions of food.

After going over this questionnaire, pick 2 to 3 of your barriers that are causing most of your difficulties losing weight. In other words, what are your major weaknesses?   (Examples: ex: afternoon time, stress, boredom, sweets, getting seconds, portion control, alcohol, snacking, grazing, TV watching time, work stress, social occasions, dining out, eating immediately after work, etc)?                                                                                      

                                                                                                         .

                                                                                                         . (Pick your top 2 to 3 biggest barriers and make a plan on how to fix the problem using the tips articles provided. Pick 1 to 3 tips or solutions to your barriers. Write down your plan and keep it where you can see it.                                                                                                                 

 

I want this plan to include everything you need to be successful; so it you find another tip that worked for you, please let me know. If the research backs up any recommended techniques, I will add it to the list.

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

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Dietitian Confessions: How to Decrease Your Calories by 500 a Day!

 

How I ate decreased my Calories by 500 a Day and Still Ate the Same Amount of Food!

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The Confession

I have a gigantic confession to make. This is an embarrassing confession considering, you know, I went to 7 years of school to obtain a bachelors of science and masters in human nutrition. My confession is (drum roll please) I was eating close to 500 calories a day in condiments! My favorites are ranch and any restaurant’s signature sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I knew too many condiments could increase your calorie intake. I’m pretty sure I have included the tip, “limit or avoid condiments” on another post. Hold on let me check…

Yep, I included that particular tip right here aaaand here.

Did I realize what a difference my condiment affections were making in my life? Not even close!

Ranch dressing photo
Photo by soupboy

The Ephiphany

My epiphany came one day after eating at Chick-Fil-A. I was trying to be a “mostly” good little dietitian by mindfully selecting the grilled chicken sandwich and small fries. (I love a little taste of Chick-fil-A waffle fries. Everything in moderation, right?) I even took off one half of the bun because an open face sandwich was plenty of bread to satisfy me. For added measure, I only ate half of my small fries.

I’m thinking I did pretty well until I started adding my food into my Fitbit Charge 2 (Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Plum, Large (US Version) . My calorie intake from actual food was fine. Then I started adding in my beloved “Chick-Fil-A sauce.” One packet of “Chick-Fil-A Sauce” is 140 calories, according to their website. If I had eating just one packet, my calorie range for lunch would have STILL been just fine… But I had (whisper voice here) three. That is 420 calories in condiments!!!

You may have heard people say I like ranch with my food. I am one of those people who likes food with my ranch. Notice the difference?

The Impact of Hidden Calories

When I learned this about myself, I was reminded of a client who drank sweet tea all day long. That client lost substantial weight by only switching from sweet tea to unsweet.

My condiment obsession produces similar math to the sweet tea reduction. To lose a pound, a person needs to decrease their calories by 3500 or burn an excess of 3500 calories. In other words, 3500 calories equals one pound. The best strategy is to increase your calorie burn through exercise AND decrease your calorie intake to equal about a 3500 calorie deficit a week. So to lose one pound a week, a person would need a calorie deficit of about 500 calories a day. Ummm… I basically could get that by omitting condiments from my diet! Heck, I could almost hit that deficit by omitting condiments from just one meal a day!

Making the Changes

So what did I learn from this epiphany?

  1. I need to back off of those condiments! But you know we dietitians want you to get more specific with your goals. So I’m going to say, “My goal is to reduce my condiments to one serving per meal.”
  2. Using an easy and accurate calorie tracking method has helped me see my big issues, especially the more hidden calories. I use the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Plum, Large (US Version) to track my calorie intake and calorie burn, but others have found success with apps like Myfitnesspal.

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How to Mindfully Eat to Lose Weight: A Step by Step Guide

How to Mindfully Eat to Lose Weight: A Step by Step Guide

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Instead of focusing on restricting foods, when you mindfully eat, you focus on having high quality, relaxed and pleasurable eating experiences. With Mindful eating, you learn to eat only when you are hungry and only when you are truly enjoying your food. This means you would avoid grabbing a chip from a serving bowl at a party or while cooking dinner. When I am not focusing on mindful eating I sometimes grab food from my toddler’s unfinished plate. Afterwards I think why did I even do that? Cold chicken nuggets are not even tasty! Whenever I do this mindLESS grabbing, I am never really enjoying my food.

I had a client once tell me that the last bite on her plate always tastes the best because that is the only bite she notices. She then always wants a second helping because she didn’t pay attention while she was eating the first serving. So how do you know if you are mindlessly eating? If you are grabbing bits of food here and there and eating from the serving bag or bowl, you are probably mindlessly eating. Are you are scooping up your next bite while you are still chewing your first bite? If so, you are probably mindLESSly eating. If you are a fast eater, then you are probably mindLESSly eating? So what are the steps to mindfully eating?

(Remember, for every step of the eating process, from preparing, plating, and tasting your food, you should focus on being aware of the moment you are in.)

Step 1: Preparing your food

cooking photo

When preparing, don’t taste and nibble while you are cooking. You should always sit down and eat from a plate.

Step 2: Plating your Food

When plating your food, be conscious of how much you are plating. PAUSE and ask yourself is this a reasonable amount of food? Do not starve yourself. Don’t eat so little at one meal or throughout the day that you binge the next day. Just look and ask yourself is this a reasonable amount of food. Think about a healthy plate vs. an over-the-top plate. How does your plate compare? If you want to see examples of a healthy plate check out myplate.gov plate below.

One technique that may help in combination with Mindful eating is to plate your food on a smaller salad plate. If you use a smaller plate but have issues with piling your food too high; grab another plate, turn it over, and use it as a lid. If the rims of both plates do not touch, you may have piled the food on too high.

Or you may want to mindfully plate your food using a portion control plate which includes a lid. You can use the lid to make sure you are not piling the food on to high. One type of preportioned plate is 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 includes the lid so that you can be sure you are not piling the food on to high.  (If you would like more of these tips to use in combination with Mindful Eating, click here.) Before sitting down, PAUSE to make sure you were not mindlessly piling on the food. You will notice pausing is crucial to the Mindful eating process.

myplate photo
Photo by USDAgov

Step 3: Eating your Food

Remember to sit down and eat from a plate. Before putting a bite in your mouth, PAUSE. Really notice the food. Thank God for this time to enjoy your food. Notice the color, textures, and smells before your first bite. Continue to do this for every bite. Put your fork down between each bite. DO NOT PREPARE the next bite until you have swallowed and taken a sip of drink. Take a sip of drink between each bite. During the meal, PAUSE occasionally to notice if you are full and ask yourself questions. Ask questions like “Am I full?”; “How does this bite taste?”; “Am I enjoying my food?” “Am I hungry or emotionally eating?” Asking these questions helps you stay mindfully aware throughout the meal. You will be surprised at how full and satisfied you will be on less food. The key is pausing before you put food into your mouth.

Step 4: Snacking on Food:

Just like with a meal, PAUSE before and during the snack to ask yourself if you are mindfully snacking. Before putting a bite in your mouth, ask yourself “Is this mindLESS eating?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then don’t do it. Save your food for when you can truly enjoy your food. No sense in wasting your allotted calories on food you are not enjoying.

Examples of mindLESS snacking are during cooking, store samples, social nibbling, dinner clean up, and (my issue) cold toddler leftovers. If the answer is ‘yes, I am mindlessly eating’, then ask youself why? Are you bored, stressed, or tired and wanting to eat even when you are not physically hungry? If you are not hungry, tell youself you can wait until the next meal, which is only BLANK hours away. Usually you only have 30 minutes to 2 hours before the next meal. If you would like more of these tips to use in combination with Mindful Eating, click here.) If you ask yourslef the question, “Are you hungry?” and you are hungry, get a plate, sit down, and follow steps 1 through 3.

Step 5: Eating at Restaurants

Ask the waitress for a box as soon as your food arrives. Mindfully, fill the box with food from your plate until your plate looks like an appropriate meal. Remember mindfulness is being aware of what you are doing at each moment. Be aware of what you are leaving on your plate. Then, follow step 3 to eat your food.

restaurant photo

Why does Mindfully Eating Work?

By eating this way, you will notice that you are full on less calories and are even craving more high quality foods.

Still not convinced that mindful eating can drastically change your calorie intake? Let me put it to you this way. Let’s say you are eating a meal with a big athletic young football player. Of course he will need AND eat much more than most so he scarfs down 3 plates full of food in 45 minutes. You use the Mindful eating techniques and only eat one appropriate plate but it also took you 45 minutes. You chewed slowly and really tasted each and every bite while he gulped down his food.

If you think about it, you had your food in your mouth and were tasting your food the same amount of time as the football player who ate 3 times as much as you. He ate more, but you had food in your mouth and tasted your food the same amount of time as he did. So you were able to enjoy it for as long as if you had quickly eaten 3 plates full.

Develop Your Own Weight Loss Plan

In another blog post, I discuss that we all have reasons for our gain weight. If we don’t understand our reasons, then we won’t be able to develop solutions. Mindful eating can often be used exclusively to help with many of your weight loss barriers or in combination with other techniques.

If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, you may want to read The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health by Ruth Q Wolever, P.h.D and Beth Reardon, MS, RD, LDN with Tania Hannan.

Have you had success with Mindful Eating? When do you mindlessly eat? What are your barriers to weight loss? Were you able to find solutions to those barriers?

*If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

 

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The ONE Thing I Did to Lose Weight AND Strengthen My Walk with God

The ONE Thing I Did to Lose weight AND Strengthen My Walk with God:

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The Weight Loss Journey

Middle school is tough, especially when you are on the heavier side. Fortunately by 8th grade I had lost all of my excess weight. In fact, my weight struggle is what inspired me to major in nutrition in college. I managed to keep off all the weight all way through high school, college, and grad school; and learned the best practices for weight loss and nutrition in college and grad school. When I practiced what I preached, I was able to keep the weight off, and I kept the weight off until I got married….

After I was happily married, the weight began to creep back on. For the first time since middle school I was overweight again. Using my training and dietetic counseling skills on myself, I was able to muster enough will power to lose the weight again. (You can read more about my weight journey and training here). Four years later, I had a baby and managed to muster up the motivation and willpower to lose the baby weight again.

break room photo

 

Mindfulness was Life Changing

As I began getting older, the weight was harder and harder to keep off. I noticed cheat days had much more of an impact. When I became pregnant again, I didn’t want to gain as much weight as I did with my first child. However, I didn’t want to diet while pregnant. I decided to use only one weight loss technique. I decided to simply mindfully eat. For the first time, I did not need willpower. After the birth of my daughter, I continued with the mindful eating, and the weight just dropped off. The. Easiest. Weight. Loss. Ever!

yoga outside photo
Photo by StevenSimWorld

I didn’t deprive myself and didn’t even feel the need to have cheat days. I discovered the most important component of mindfully eating, for me, was to PAUSE before eating. That pause or lack of the pause was the determining factor for whether I would mindfully eat or not at that particular meal. So why is this pause so crucial?

When I pause, I remind myself to take my time, notice my food, notice if I am eating an appropriate amount, and most importantly, I thank God for the food. During this pause, I remind myself to eat God’s gift of food for enjoyment and nourishment. I remind myself to take the time to pay attention to my food instead of over consuming without even noticing that I am eating.

Mindfulness Did so Much More than Help with Weight Loss

This one pause before the meal was crucial for my nutritional health, but I also began to notice how crucial the pause was in every aspect of my life. The Bible talks about praying continuously. In a way, the pause in life helps me pray more continuously.

prayer photo

I began to notice the impact of pausing and praying before entering any new environment whether the new environment is a park, a friend’s home, or the grocery store. Pausing and praying, was life changing. I began to notice the importance of pausing and praying when I felt angry, or before saying something difficult, or before even talking with my children. I noticed the importance of not only pausing and praying before meals and snacks, but also before bed and before getting up in the morning.

When I forget to do this, I notice the difference in MY actions and my strength to endure life. On the days that I do a better job of pausing, I notice God’s presence and God’s guidance more. When I pause more, I feel like I am truly letting God lead me, and I am reminded that no matter what happens, God is right there. I can feel God’s presence in the very room with me, and I feel I have the strength to focus on God’s will instead of my emotions. We don’t have to rush into every situation, and we don’t have to rush to speak. We can and should PAUSE and take our time in life.

Want to Learn More About Mindfulness?

To learn more details about how to incorporate mindful eating into your life click here. If you would like to do your own nutrition assessment and develop your own weight loss plan, click here.

You can also get some great mindful eating for weight loss techniques by reading The Mindful Diet: How to Transform Your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health.

Have you ever tried pausing more often in life? Or before meals? Did you notice and appreciate how amazing God is more often?

*If you would like to evaluate your own diet and determine which tips work best for you, please take the free DIY Diet self assessment and evaluation developed by a registered dieititian.

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

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