If you want to lose weight this year, you aren’t alone. Last year more than ever, I saw most people gain weight. A combination of gym closures, higher than normal stress levels, and poor eating patterns led to a perfect storm, creating an expanding waistline. The best way to get where you want to be, and stay there, is to approach weight loss in a realistic, healthy way.
While many people start out with a firm resolution to stick to a healthy eating plan, exercise 3 or 4 days a week, and even cut out alcohol, I’ve seen these efforts fall flat time and time again – for many reasons: hormonal changes, unrealistic dietary changes, or social pressures.
But there’s a simple, mindful, solution that’s healthy and can assist weight loss. A combination of consistent exercise, portion control and a wide variety of healthy foods is your best bet.
There is something to be said about the quantity of food you consume. No matter what the source. Any calories not immediately needed by your body for fuel are either stored as glycogen for use later, but more often stored as fat. Over time stored body fat adds up!
Portion sizes from the 1970s to today have increased dramatically. For instance, in 1970, Americans consumed an average of 2,160 calories per day. Now, it’s 2,673 calories daily! If you ordered some French-fries in the 70s, the caloric damage was about 210 calories, yet today that number is well over 600. Also, to tack on the “supersize” culture of fast food chains has spilled over into almost all restaurant chains, even the healthiest, which unfortunately has normalized this trend.
How to Shrink Your Portion Sizes
Calorie counting is not something I encourage as a sole weight loss strategy, but I think it’s worth looking at just how much you’re eating. Most of us eat much more food than our body needs! So here are a few suggestions I give to my patients when they need to reduce their food intake:
- Drink plenty of still (uncarbonated), filtered water. In most people the thirst mechanism is so weak from chronic dehydration that we mistake it for hunger.
- Eat off a smaller plate. You can trick yourself into being satiated with a full smaller sized plate.
- Use a smaller bowl for things like steel cut oatmeal. Larger sized bowls for your salad or soup.
- Use smaller utensils when dishing out your meals. A large spoon means a larger portion size.
- Eat in a dimly lit room. Without the TV playing. Practice eating as a meditation.
- Don’t pile the food on your plate – if you are hungry you can still always have more, but start off with small portions.
- CHEW YOUR FOOD THOROUGHLY!
- Eat slowly! – it takes about 20 minutes after the conclusion of your meal to see if you are still hungry. Eating quickly does not give your body enough time to tell you you’re full.
Quality, Quality, Quality
Above all else, consider the quality and types of food you eat. Whole, unprocessed and organic whenever possible is best to fill your body with nutrients and energy and make the most of your calories!
Stay the Course!
Don’t forget that long term weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint! It’s about changing behaviors that lead to healthier outcomes in the long term so you can maintain a weight you’re happy with long-term!
The Carragher Method has a highly specific nutritional recommendations we often use in combination with exercise recommendations and optimizing hormones to help patients reach and maintain and healthy body weight – and keep the weight off.
To schedule an evaluation with Age Management / Hormonal Optimization physician Dr. Mike Carragher, call us at (323) 874-9355, or for more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We can take care of you without you having to leave the comfort of your home.