Sunday, May 24, 2009

Health Tips for Long-Term Lifestyle Change

Behavior Modification

A. Eating Tips:

1. Before you eat, take a couple seconds to do a mind-body check, ask yourself, “Am I hungry or am I stressed, anxious, depressed, etc.?”
2. Eat MINDFULLY! Eat and only eat = let the phone calls, reading, television watching wait until you’re done eating. Eating is the most constructive activity you can do to keep your body nourished.
3. Sit down while eating will promote enjoyment and aid digestion. Standing up while eating encourages MINDLESS eating, calories that we don’t get to relish.
4. Eat Slowly! Put your fork down between mouthfuls and chew your food ~ 20 times.
5. Pre-portion your plate with food, rather than rather than having serving plates or bowls on the table.
6. Assign ONE designated location for eating your meals and snacks.
7. Cut up your 3 to 4 ounce portion of meat or fish in small cubes or strips mixed with whole grains and lots of vegetables so you visually feel more satisfied.
8. Have a full plate when you eat by using a smaller plate (~8 inch) and fill it with lots of non-starchy vegetables.
9. Beautify your eating environment. Use nice pastel colored plates, a champagne or wine glass for your sparkling or flat water with lemon or lime, and in moderation as your indulgence for the day have your real wine or champagne. Use a linen napkin with a ring holder and a bouquet of flowers on the table.
10. Make your plate appealing. Attractively present food on your plate with a little parsley or mint leaf garnish and have lots of color with a multitude of vegetables. An unhealthy plate is all brown, definitely not appealing, e.g., fried chicken, french fries, mashed potatoes. A healthy plate is full of color.
11. If you are still feeling hungry after your meal, enjoy your “free foods” = non-starchy vegetables (e.g., ½ cup raw broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber/carrot/bell pepper sticks, pickles, jalapeno peppers, salsa), water, herbal teas, flavored sparkling waters or have a cup of hot cocoa with 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder with hot water, tsp. cinnamon/vanilla extract and a dash of Agave Nectar.
12. Have 1 indulgence a day to prevent deprivation and promote mental satisfaction.
13. Good habit, eat before you leave the house and if you’re on-the-go all day, pack an insulated lunch bag with an igloo ice pack with some balanced snacks, e.g. fruit, part-skim milk cheese, trail mix.
14. After you eat your pre-portioned snack/meal, brush your teeth, which will help affirm the completion of that eating time.

B. Lifestyle Tips:

1. After eating your portioned amount, DISTRACTION, DISTRACTION, DISTRACTION = key to portion control! MOVE away from the table immediately and occupy yourself with another activity, e.g. talk on the phone, read a book, do the dishes, take a bath, let your food digest for about 30 minutes then go for a walk.
2. Keep yourself hydrated, to help you stay satisfied between eating times. Carry a water bottle wherever you go and snack on some vegetables, e.g., ½ cup of sticks of cucumbers, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and jicama.
3. GET UP OFF YOUR SEAT AND MOVE!! For every hour you work, make 5 to 10 minutes of it MOVING time, e.g., use a portable phone and walk, put your legs up and down, dance, do the pendulum abdomen workout.
4. Integral to your success, keep 3-day food diaries weekly and consistently.
5. Increase your physical activity, by parking further away from your destination and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
6. Write a list of non-food related pleasures, e.g., bath, painting, exercise, shopping, etc.
7. If you’re hungry ~every 3 to 4 hours, GOOD JOB, you are eating balanced and the right portion sizes. If you are not hungry after ~4 hours you probably ate too much at the meal prior or you are so occupied with what you’re doing you don’t realize that you are hungry, which sets us up for overeating.
8. Realize food does not have a heart/mind/soul, it is your fuel and physical nourishment. To have mental healing, focus on doing a recreational activity – RE-CREATION (hobbies, talk to an inspiring friend, meditate, write your thoughts down in a journal, and MOVE – emotion is the state of motion.

Enjoy Liviting!
Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD