It’s easy to put on weight when you’re stuck at home and self-quarantined. Could your food choices be the culprit? Maybe you are skipping meals? Now matter how good your at-home workout is, proper nutrition – what you put in your mouth each day – is the key to getting results from any successful exercise program, whether you want to lose pounds or add lean body mass.
Consuming food but not paying attention to what, how much or the taste of what you are eating is called “mindless eating,” and it can quickly result in unwanted weight gain. Whether it’s sitting in front of your computer screen in your home office, on the couch with a bag of chips, or snacking on cheese and crackers while making dinner, being unaware of your eating habits can affect your health. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated health care solutions company, have these tips to help you eliminate those unnecessary calories, have a healthier approach to food and truly enjoy what you eat.
- Begin With Breakfast. There’s a reason breakfast is known as the “most important meal of the day.” Studies have found that starting your day with a healthy breakfast can produce benefits such as more energy, higher daily fiber and calcium intake, and consumption of less fat throughout the day. Sitting down to a well-rounded breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and provides the energy and brain power you need to make healthy food choices throughout the day. Try sitting down with the family and planning out your breakfasts for the week, challenging yourselves to come up with something new each morning to add to the breakfast table!
Another reason to not skip breakfast is that starving yourself will slow down your metabolism and ultimately lead to weight gain. And if you don’t eat for hours on end, ultimately you will be starving by the time your day is over. Then you will be tempted to eat more food later in the day or before you go to bed, which will surely add pounds as you will consume calories but not burn them off because you’ll be asleep.
- Track Bites. The best way to stay accountable for what you eat is to write it down. Make a meal game plan for the week and do your best to stick to it. It may seem tedious but it’s a good way to keep yourself on track, control eating habits and limit those extra calories. Even if you don’t plan your week out, you can write down what you eat right before you start eating it. Doing so helps you track and makes you aware before you start munching.
- Drink Plenty of Water. It’s easy to mistake hunger for thirst or dehydration. Drink a full glass of water and wait 15 minutes before giving into a craving. In addition to keeping you hydrated, water helps control eating habits, as it can make you feel fuller so you’re less likely to snack on unneeded calories. Add some variety to your water by adding fresh or frozen fruit. This will give your water a bit of flavor while adding additional nutrients. If fruit does not fit into your nutrition plan, try unsweetened flavored water.
- Stay Small. Studies have proven that smaller plates lead to smaller portion sizes. We “eat with our eyes,” and using larger dishes can make a serving of food appear smaller than what it truly is leading to overeating. Many times we simply eat what’s on our plate, try using a smaller plate to help with portion control. Improve your eating habits by choosing the healthier sides like veggies or fruit if you need an additional serving.
- 5. Ditch Distractions. Eating while focused on something else, whether it’s watching TV or browsing the Internet, causes you to eat more and faster. You are also less likely to think about the health value of the food you’re putting in your body and the calories you’re consuming. Try eating in the kitchen, dining room, or a screen-free room so you can focus on each bite and enjoy your meal.