Fighting weight gain over the winter – portion control

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Avoid weight gain. Start by watching how much we eat at each sitting.

For many of us in the northern Hemisphere, colder weather has arrived and with it reduced outside activities and increased temptations to eat bigger meals, have more frequent snacks, and generally over indulge ourselves.  Given the absolutely inviolate rule of “calories expended must exceed calories taken in or increased weight will be the result”, yielding to those temptations, combined with fewer ways to burn calories, the winter months can equal unhealthy and unsightly weight gain.  So let’s have a few tips for preventing those consequences.

One of the ways to start is by watching how much we eat at each sitting: Portion Control.

How much am I eating?  Start by measuring what you are putting on your plate. What does the label of the food you are eating say about how many servings in the container and how many calories in each serving?  I think that most of us would be surprised at how many servings are in that can or container and how many calories are in each serving.  Just for an example, look up how many calories are in the average burger at your favorite fast food restaurant. Often the number exceeds 800 per burger, not including fries and drink. Portions have grown over time and this site has some interesting information on how much our portions have increased in recent years – see https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm

Snacking. Snacks can be the deadly sneak attack on our battle to maintain or lose weight.  Often we don’t pay attention to how much we eat when we snack.  It is tempting to not only snack two or three times a day, but also too often it is tempting to have a large snack or even just finish the bag of nuts or chips and dip left over from a party yesterday.  Again, look up what your portion contains and what a healthy portion is. Or better yet, find a healthy snack instead of those chips and try a glass of water before you snack.

Cooking. A sneaky way calories can add up is by too much tasting and sampling during cooking.  And it is not just for flavor we often do this, but I find myself so tempted to lick off the beaters, spoons, and bowls we use making all the holiday cookies, and other sweets. These calories will add up fast, so limit your quality control part of your cooking.

The table. Try not putting food on the table, but making up the plates in the kitchen and only putting the plate on the table.  Having extra food in front of you on the table is an invitation to a diet busting second helping.  It also helps to use smaller plates for meals.

There are lots more things we can do to control what we eat this time of year and throughout the year.  You can drink eight glasses of water a day, you can go for a quick walk before meals and snacks, you can keep a diary of what you eat and its calorie content, and many other things that work for you.  Doing these little things will have a great impact on your health, weight, and self image.

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Dennis F.

Dennis has lived or traveled in Australia, the United States and Asia. He is an Army veteran with a PhD in Child and Developmental Psychology. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, USA, with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Dennis is keenly interested in antiques, particularly militaria and coins. He occupies his time researching and writing for The Silver Life and caretaking houses for the summer residents of the mountains.

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