Food Excuses and How to Beat them

Behind every intention to lose weight or eat right, there always lurks an excuse. In order to resist “cracking” at the first temptation, find a balance in what food habits work for you and determine what is right for you. This involves a reappraisal, both psychological and physical, a review of one’s mindset, lifestyle and eating habits. Now’s the time to banish all excuses and get over setbacks standing in the way of achieving an ideal bodyweight for oneself.

MEAL TIMES MUST BE PLEASURABLE–LOW FAT COOKING TAKES AWAY THE JOY FROM ENJOYING MEALS

Learn to be creative when you prepare meals. Low fat cooking can be enjoyable if you apply your mind and make the food taste and look good.

For instance, bake, steam, grill or stir-fry foods instead of deep-frying them. Add herbs (basil, oregano, mint leaves) and spices (pepper, chili, garlic) to dishes and go easy on butter, oils and cream-based sauces. Trim off the skin and fat from the meats, so that they are more nutritious and heart-healthy.

FOOD IS A COMFORTER: IT HELPS DEAL WITH STRESS

Food is often consumed to help deal with stress, depression and disappointment. But you need to realize that there are smarter ways of comforting yourself. Eating mindlessly will only add to stress because you then get into a habit of consuming unnecessary calories. Identify events and emotions that are most likely to prompt you to use food as a comforter. Once you recognize these, find other ways to deal with stress. Write a list of distracting activities – you could instead choose to meet a friend, read a book, hear music, exercise, shop, soak in a bubble bath or watch your favorite film. Plan in advance what to do and decide how to beat the blues successfully without adding extra calories.

EATING AT RESTAURANTS IMPLIES PUTTING ON WEIGHT

When you eat out, make special requests to get what you want. For example, you can request for baked potatoes instead of French fries, honey and lemon dressing instead of mayonnaise, mustard instead of butter, salsa instead of creamy sauces, tandoori food instead of rich gravy dishes, roti instead of buttery naan, low fat cottage cheese instead of regular cheese.

SKIPPING MEALS COMPENSATES FOR THE PREVIOUS DAY’S OVERINDULGENCE

You must eat regularly. Skipping meals just simply doesn’t work. Starving the body can, of course, be set off against any excesses from the previous meal. But this offset is illusory. Deprived of regular nourishment, the body gets in the habit of functioning to a minimum, slowing down its metabolism. When you feel you need to take a break after an overindulged meal, stick to eating light for the next meal. Cut back… but don’t cut out!

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAN FOR HUNGER PANGS

Sudden, overpowering hunger is one of the surest ways to eat more than what you need. When food craving grips, you tend to make a dash for the fridge or eat whatever you find accessible. More often than not, you end up eating things you regret, a piece of cake, cheese, chips or chocolate. Avoid giving in to temptation by planning ahead. Keep some ready-to-eat foods such as fruits, cut vegetables, sprouts, a sandwich or roasted savories, handy. Just make sure they are accessible when you need them.

IT IS DIFFICULT TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN FOOD CRAVINGS AND APPETITE

Our bodies are equipped with a highly refined guidance system: the appetite. Dietary whims and cravings are normally a function of a desire. Learn to separate “correct” information of a need for food, from the “disrupting” desire for food cravings. For example, an aromatic, attractively presented dish stimulates the senses and there is likelihood of overindulgence with it. Enjoy your food, but learn to stop when you’ve eaten enough. Re-educate your appetite so that you are in control of it. The easiest way to distinguish between craving and appetite is to wait a while before you eat. Give it 20 minutes, if you are still hungry your body needs the food, if it is only a craving the urge to eat passes.

TO DIET ONE NEEDS TO GET RID OF THE PLEASURES OF THE PALATE

First of all, focus your attention on what you can have rather than on what you can’t. Instead of saying: “ I mustn’t eat jam”, say to yourself, “I can enjoy fresh fruits of the season.” If you want to shed surplus pounds, you really need to change your mindset and take another look at your eating habits. Think of innovative ways to enjoy food without adding extra calories. Enjoy experimenting with different flavors, vegetables, spices, herbs, fruits, seeds and nuts. Be creative! Discover new ways of cooking and experiment with different flavors, so that tasty eating is always a pleasure.

SHOPPING AT THE SUPERMARKET MEANS BUYING GOODIES THAT ARE HARD TO RESIST

The surest way of sticking to your food plan or diet is to buy just what you need and nothing extra. Also, make a list of your requirements, so that you are better organized when you shop for food. If you are likely to be tempted by the goodies available, make sure you eat before you go to the supermarket. Filling your trolley with indulgences is more likely to happen on an empty stomach.

MEALS ARE BEST ENJOYED WHILE WATCHING TELEVISION

If you eat while watching television, chances are that you won’t be disciplined about the foods that you consume; the mind gets distracted and is not focused on eating right. It is best to eat on the dining table or at the kitchen table where you bite slowly, savoring your meals. This discipline goes a long way because you are then aware of what you eat and how much you eat.

PRACTISING CONTROL OVER PORTIONS IS HARD

Exercising control over the quantity of food consumed is a discipline of the mind. Serve yourself small portions of food; you can always fill more later on. Get out of the habit of serving large portions and then overeating. Also, resist the compulsion to “clean the entire dish”. If you are worried about wasting food, distribute the leftovers or refrigerate it for the next day.

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