5 Changes, Better Weight Loss
Changing your diet doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes it’s all about the details.
It’s easy to follow certain dietary patterns.
Maybe you always ask for dressing on the side when you order a salad, or starve yourself on the day you anticipate a big dinner.
However, when your food behavior is unexamined you could unintentionally sabotage your diet.
If you’re on autopilot when you grocery shop or eat, here are some common but unhealthful habits to watch for.
1. Saving up calories for the big meal.
With visions of a mouthwatering restaurant dinner to come, you skip breakfast and lunch. With the calories you save, you can indulge. Right?
Unfortunately, the math doesn’t add up.
“When you go in with the idea that you saved calories by starving beforehand, you [usually] eat more than you saved,” says Jennifer Stack, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, professional chef and assistant professor at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.
Instead eat light during the day, including some healthy fat, such as hummus made with a little olive oil.
“That can make a huge difference,” says Judy Caplan, registered dietitian, spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in private practice, Vienna, Va.
2. Getting dressing on the side with your restaurant salad.
Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?
You dip the greens into the dressing, using less than if the salad is slathered in blue cheese, creamy garlic or similar flavorings?
That little cup filled with a quarter- to a half-cup of dressing isn’t your best option, according to Stack.
If you use all the dressing you could be consuming 250 calories and more than 20 grams of fat in a quarter-cup serving.
“The better approach is to ask the kitchen to toss the salad with a little bit of dressing so every green is coated nicely and not drowning in dressing. You can end up with less dressing,” says Stack, author of “The Diabetes-Friendly Kitchen” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
3. Grocery shopping right after work, before dinner.
You’re heading home, hungry and the supermarket is on the way. Stopping in for a few ingredients is convenient.
But you could be setting yourself up for grocery and calorie overload, according to a recent study from Cornell University.
Consumers who shop when hungry not only purchase more items, but more of their choices are high-calorie foods, according to the research published online in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine.
Pack a 100-calorie snack to take the edge off hunger when you’re heading to the supermarket, say nutrition experts.
The same goes for food sampling in supermarkets.
If you’re hungry you’re more apt to nibble on the chips, candies and other goods stores set out to entice you.
Chewing sugarless gum may solve the problem, writes weight expert Madelyn Fernstrom Ph.D., CNS (certified nutrition specialist) in an email interview.
4. Underestimating beverage calories.
After checking the calories – 120 per glass – you decide to enjoy a serving of Chenin Blanc.
That could be misleading because charts list calories for five-ounce servings, what you’d be offered in a fine-dining restaurant.
“When you’re pouring wine at home or in a casual dining restaurant you [may be] taking in more calories,” Stack says.
5. Eating scraps after dinner.
You’re cleaning up and can’t bear to toss your child’s half-eaten meal so you take a few bites from his plate. Those extra forkfuls add up.
Break the pattern by throwing scraps out immediately after picking up a plate from the table. Don’t leave it [the plate with food] on the counter, writes Fernstrom, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“Wasted food is not saved by you eating it,” writes Fernstrom, author of “The Real You Diet” (Wiley, 2009).
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