Keep pushing through with your healthy exercise and eating habits. Weekends may be your best option for longer exercise sessions, and taking breaks at work for 10 minutes here and there can really add up. You get the same benefit from small bouts of exercise as you do from one longer bout. It’s true! Here are some more ideas:
1. Get more sleep. Research shows that those who get 7-8 hrs/night lose weight more effectively than those who get less. This is due to altered release of appetite hormones which make us think we are hungry when we are really tired. Go to bed earlier. Start winding down after dinner (maybe with an after dinner stroll outside with the family) and leave large projects for the weekend.
2. Make ONE meal for your family that everyone can eat such as a vegetable pasta dish or a stirfry dish with lots of veggies, chicken and some brown rice. The key is portions. Stick to 1/2 to 1 cup of starch (brown rice, pasta, potatoes) or 1 small dinner roll, and about 4 oz. of protein (or 1 cup beans; 1 serving of tofu; 2-3 eggs, low fat cheese, or other protein source). Go crazy with vegetables–the more variety the better. This will fill your stomach up with good nutrition for very few calories. In addition, have to-go containers ready for packing when you are serving everyone’s meal. This way, the leftovers will be conveniently ready to go for lunch or dinner the next day.
3. Purge your kitchen of junk and/or trigger foods that you mindlessly eat. Or, put them out of sight (out of mind). Research show this works. And, in contrast, place healthy options (veggies, fruit, lean proteins, whole grains) in full plan view. I.e. fruit bowl on the counter. Celery/carrot sticks as the first thing you see when you open the refrigerator.
4. Have a protein/healthy carb-rich snack mid afternoon to banish uncontrollable hunger upon returning home from work. Great ideas include a container of nonfat Greek yogurt, carrot sticks with 2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Cheese, apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup roasted soy”nuts” (soybeans) and 2 tbsp raisins.
5. Make a “to-do” list of things you have been meaning to do (scrapbooking, closet organizing, folding laundry, paying bills, reading a book) when you find yourself mindlessly going to the kitchen looking for a snack when you are not hungry. Place the list on your fridge or pantry so it is in plain view when you need it most. Choose an item on the list instead of reaching for a snack. If you need an oral fix, make a cup of tea, refreshing glass of ice water, or pop a piece of sugarless gum.
6. Log, log, log your foods. This is probably the most effective and easy way to avoid overeating and mindless eating. Rate your hunger when you do this (0 = not hungry at all; 5 = starving), so that you learn more about how often and when you tend to eat without hunger. Remember, hunger pangs are the body’s request for fuel. No requests? No eating! (Well, at least 90% of the time!)
Have a weight loss or nutrition question? Ask me!