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Eating Healthier by Putting Things in Proportion

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Updated July 24, 2003

Updated July 24, 2003
by David Junno Psy.D.

Managing the portions and timing of what we eat can significantly improve our efforts to eat healthier.

One of the obstacles to maintaining a successful diet is not eating enough!

Too often we associate dieting with not eating. The problem with this is we end up becoming hungrier. When we are hungrier we want to eat more. So when we do eat we are more likely to over do it. The solution to this problem is to build in more eating into our diets.

Timing

For most of us it makes sense to eat between five to seven times a day. This might include the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a midmorning, mid- afternoon and evening snack. We want to eat before we get hungry. This way we will be less tempted to eat too much at the next meal. The same is true if we want to save money food shopping. We are going to buy less food if we go the store after eating, then if we go before we eat. So one thing we need to do is anticipate when we are going to be hungry and plan to eat before that builds up.

Portions

Now eating this often can be a lot, unless we manage the portions. Here is where a little preplanning can come in handy. We need to first think about the times that we are going to want to eat. I heard awhile ago that we are often tempted to eat during times of transitions. One of the most common transitions most of us face is coming home from work or school. Once I learned this I started noticing how much this happened in my own household. The first place people in my family, (including me), go when they come home is the kitchen. Rather than fighting this tendency and building up hunger, and resentment of our diet, a more productive strategy would be to have a healthy snack available.

To control the portion of the snack, it is helpful to set aside the amount we want to eat, before we get hungry.

For example, let’s say we decide to have some low fat pretzels as a snack when we get home from work. First we must decide how big of a portion we want to have for a snack. Then we can take the large bag of pretzels and divide them into separate portions and put the portions in smaller plastic bags. Then put the smaller bags back in the larger pretzel bag. So when we come home we can go right into the cupboard and grab a predetermined portion of pretzels. This limits the tendency to just keep eating out of the larger bag of pretzels until we think we have had enough.

Another helpful way to manage how much we eat at a meal is to start with a small portion. Most of us will eat the amount we are given to start with. By starting with a small portion we increase the possibility of stopping before we have had too much.

So increase your success at having a healthier diet by eating- in moderation!

Remember, having the right diet and getting enough exercise will not only improve your health- IT WILL IMPROVE YOU LIFE.

Until next time,

Dave Junno Psy.D.

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Dave Junno Psy.D. is a psychologist, coach and author of Lowering High Cholesterol and Reducing Your Risk of Heart Disease- READY OR NOT! To contact him email drjunno@drjunno.com or visit his website: http://www.lower-high-cholesterol-ready-or-not.com and sign-up for his free e-mail newsletter: Ready or Not.

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