Weight management is all about energy balance, but what does this mean? In order to lose weight we need to eat less calories and burn more. Taking in the right portions of food is very critical in weight management. Unfortunately, in today's day and age portion sizes have doubled and even tripled in size. For example, a plain bagel 20 years ago used to be 150 calories, but now it's 350 calories. Today a small fries are 7 ounces with 610 calories, but 20 years ago it was only 2.4 ounces with 210 calories. Even the popcorn you get at the movies is 630 calories, but it used to be 270 calories. These numbers are shocking! How can 500 calories be consumed with just a bagel and coffee? Instead of refusing to go out to eat, it's better to enjoy the foods you love with modifications.
It's important to remember that you don't have to avoid eating bagels, popcorn, or french fries; just remember to eat in moderation. Instead of eating a whole bagel lathered with cream cheese, eat half of the bagel and a bowl of fruit. At the movies, ask for a small popcorn with no salt or butter. Try making your own french fries by cutting up potatoes and baking them in the oven. These alternatives make it possible to enjoy the foods you love while trimming down your waist line.
Another important aspect of weight loss is mindful eating. Try this trick... take a piece of food from your pantry and hold it in your hand. For this example a raisin will be used. Look and feel the texture of the raisin. Smell it and allow yourself to be completely absorbed in this experience. Put the raisin in your mouth without chewing it, focus on what it feels like with your tongue. When you're ready, take a bite and savor the taste. Take note of its chewiness. Taste its incredible sweetness. Clear all thoughts from your head and focus on that one raisin in your mouth. Keep chewing as long as you can, savoring the taste bit by bit. When you're ready you can swallow.
How do you feel after that? Did you notice anything about the raisin that you didn't realize before? How did it compare to your normal raisin experience? Eating mindfully helps you appreciate and savor your meals more. You'll find yourself eating less, but enjoying it more. This will create the negative energy balance we discussed before and ultimately weight loss. So the next bite you take make sure to savor it like it's your last and the pounds will certainly melt away.
This blog is written by Etana Matatia, a student intern of Valley Nutrition Counseling with a major in Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst