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Ever experience a "food hangover"? You know the morning after a night of binge eating or eating unhealthy foods that give you a stomach ache, head ache and terrible taste in your mouth. Often times, food addicts swear off they'll never repeat such an incident and before long they're right back in the same situation.
So what do you do if you have this experience and you want to correct your faltering ways? You must identify the triggers that lead you into this scenario so you can break the behavioral chain. What were you feeling leading up to prior to this overdose of sugary, starchy and/or fat ladened foods? Who were you with? Where were you? Why do you feel like you made this unhealthy choice?
“In general, mankind, since the improvement in cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Maybe it wasn't all emotional eating for you. Perhaps it was the portion distortion that got you a little confused. The key to weight loss and to managing a healthy body is to first be aware of the basics such as what you are eating, why, how much and where are you eating it? These simple questions can tell us a lot about where we’re at and where we need to go to get healthier.
Here’s an important question to ponder. Do you eat foods for entertainment vs. searching for foods that fuel for your body for energy and performance? If you’re like most other Americans, you’re answer is probably “entertainment” as it’s become such a major part of our culture. This means you’re likely consuming more energy than your body needs for optimal performance.
Most of us can improve our health simply through improving our nutrition balance in our daily snacks and meals and with a little better portion control. Most of us need some nutrition and portions training as the knowledge that got us into our current health status will probably not lead us to better health.
“What should I be eating? What are proper portion sizes and how many calories should I eat in a day?” These are common questions for anyone trying to lose weight or get into better shape. So what does the body actually need and how can I balance this with what I want to eat? This is where it gets a little tricky. Each of us is different and our bodies use different amounts of fuel to perform at our best.
The problem is nowadays the plates in most of our homes and restaurants are 12-14” and most of us are not burning enough calories to consume the larger the portion sizes. To lose 1 lb the average person needs to burn an extra 3500 calories. Now the average person burns about 3500 calories running a full marathon (26.2 miles). Do you get the point? It takes more activity and exercise then we think to burn off our over eating. Just look at these examples of commonly ordered appetizers and meals in the marketplace…
Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries & Ranch Dressing
2,900 calories, 182 g fat, 240 g carbs
Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce
2,430 calories, 128 g fat, 207 g carbs)
Today’s fast foods are filled with more empty calories, unhealthy fats, salt (sodium), sugar (high fructose corn syrup) and other unnatural food chemicals. They are designed for our taste buds and not for our nutrition. In light of this you’ll want to make healthier choices on what to order and definitely use a smaller 7 to 9” plate (or the inner ring of the larger plate) as a portion guide. You’ll also need a general understanding of how many calories you’re burning in a day.
To find out how many calories you’re burning (your Total Energy Expenditure or TEE) using the easy method, use the following formula:
Your current weight (in pounds) x 11 calories = TEE (daily caloric need)
This formula is based on a sedentary individual, so you’ll need to adjust it as you step up your exercising, as follows:
Multiply your TEE by:
1.2 (for light exercise)
1.5 (for moderate exercise)
1.7 (for heavy exercise)
For example: 162 lbs × 11 kcal/lb = 1,782 kcal × 1.2 = 2,138 kcal/day (TEE)
You can use the formulas below to determine your calorie-burn while running and walking. Scientists consider this the best way to evaluate the actual calorie-burn of any exercise.
1 mile of running = .63 x your weight
1 mile of walking = .30 x your weight
This basic information can guide you to better balanced nutrition and calorie intake but you’ll need a more personalized plan to help you get the specific results you desire.
Holidays such as Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or any picnic holiday can cause breakdowns in our otherwise healthy Take Shape for Life eating plan. It is extremely important to be very aware that picnics can pack thousands of calories that we would not normally indulge in. So, what should you do?
1. Continue to practice your healthy eating habits on the picnic day. Do not skip meals or save calories for the “big meal”. That sets you up to overeat!
2. If going to a party or picnic, offer to bring an appetizer and side dish. This will guarantee you there will be healthy choices for you.
3. Be watchful of your portions and choose NOT to have the dessert! Instead, maybe bring a box of sugar free popsicles to share with the crowd or have a cup of coffee instead. If you're not in the weight loss phase enjoy dessert but be mindful of your portion sizes and how much exercise or activity you're doing to burn it off.
4. Make sure that you do not slack off from your daily exercise routine the day of the picnic. Try adding 10 or 15-minute brisk walks twice that day with available family members or the partygoers. Plan active activities such as crochet, bike riding, or taking a hike instead of sitting around and talking or watching TV.
5. If you are throwing the party, have lots of vegetables available, instead of chips only. Prepare lower fat dips and offer salsa. Explain to your guests in advance your determination to make this a healthier holiday celebration, and ask them to keep this in mind when preparing any dish they may be bringing.
6. Stay away from high calorie beverages such as sodas, juices, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. There are nearly 150 calories in one 12-ounce can of soda or juice. Smoothies and coffee drinks are often 250-500 calories, excluding the whipped cream. Alcohol is packed full of calories and carbs. It can also cause you to let down your defenses and overeat or make poor food choices. All of these indulgences will kick you out of the fat burning stage (if in weight loss phase) and you’ll set yourself back 3 days on your journey to your goal weight.
7. Make sure to have a Medifast supplement before going to the picnic... ALWAYS plan ahead.
8. At the picnic choose healthy foods and stay away from the chips and bread and corn.
9. If the holiday party is at your house, send some of the left-overs home with your guests, especially the desserts!
10. Remember to eat slowly, which will help you to eat less and feel full and satisfied.
11. During holiday weekends, make your goal to maintain your weight and not to gain any!
12. Be positive. Don’t let your weight and cravings take control of you.
13. Holiday traveling, don’t forget to pack convenient snacks! Put healthy snacks and meal replacements in zip lock bags and use them to cushion around items in your suitcase. Also bring a cooler full of fresh vegetables and water.
14. Remember the reason for the season and focus on 'fellowship' and not on 'food'!
15. Habits are habit forming... People form habits but habits transform people! Let's Take Shape for Life! Let’s transform our thinking about what we eat and why we eat it. Let’s make it a habit to select healthy foods as part of our ‘prescription for life’!
Have a Happy and Healthy Spring and Summer Picnic Season!