archives

portion control

This tag is associated with 13 posts

A Sneaky Trick For Dealing With Cravings

popcorn

I love collecting tricks and tips to help people stay healthy and maintain a happy weight. Click through to read one of my all-time faves: a very easy trick (…and fashionable, to boot).

Here are some other posts that I put in the category of “weight loss ninja”:

 

 

9 Natural Ways To Extinguish Heartburn

You may know that I’m busy writing away in the wee hours of the morning (in fact, I just got the go-ahead from my publisher, Kensington, to reveal the title of my first novel! Too fun.). As a result, however, I’ve been drinking just a *tad* more coffee than usual.

Can you say: heartburn?

Which, of course, has provided the inspiration for this post.

Do you suffer heartburn? Technically called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it’s that burning feeling in the center of your chest caused by a backwards flow of stomach acid into your esophagus. Yes, it’s not nice, and it really freaking hurts sometimes. So what can you do to extinguish the fire of heartburn?

There are medications, of course, both prescription and over-the-counter options. But what about non-pharmaceutical remedies?

Here are nine drug-free ways to go:

1. Don’t eat late at night.

And don’t lie down for a nap right after eating, either. Filling your stomach right before lying down worsens that backwards flow of stomach acid. Your stomach needs a chance to empty first.

2. Avoid spicy foods.

Chili peppers, hot sauces, garlic, onions, wasabi….all of these worsen heartburn.

3. Sleep on an incline.

This is simply a gravitational thing. If you properly elevate the head of your bed (with blocks under the upper end of your bedframe–not just propping yourself up with a bunch of pillows) you’ll minimize the amount of backwards flow of acid.

4. Avoid acidic foods.

Tomatoes (and any tomato-based foods like pasta sauce) and citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemon) are the big culprits here, as well as vinegar in salad dressings.

5. Quit smoking.

There’s a sphincter muscle at the base of your esophagus that helps to prevent that backwards flow of stomach acid into your esophagus. Tobacco lowers the tone of that muscle, making it looser, and allowing that acid into the place where it shouldn’t be.

6. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Big meals put more pressure on your stomach (and the lower esophageal sphincter I was just talking about), making reflux much more likely. Eating smaller meals frequently spaced through the day can reduce reflux (and may also help that waistline, too).

7. Avoid fatty foods.

Deep-fried foods and foods high in saturated fat tend to hang around in the stomach longer. And they also relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscle (sensing a trend, here?). Plus, they will, of course, make you chubbier. And a heavier weight, overall, is a contributing factor for reflux and heartburn.

8. Avoid certain beverages.

Yes, this is where I’m talking about coffee. My beloved coffee. Other liquid culprits? Acidic juices (like OJ) and soda, which is a particular heartburn demon: sugary, acidic, and gassy.

9. Embrace the slow food movement.

Yes, we’re all busy. But all that rushing around, grabbing food on the go, and gobbling it down, is a recipe for poor digestion and heartburn. Slow down. Enjoy your food and eat slowly. And read this about mindful eating.

(Curious about all this writing and novel talk from me? Check out my personal blog. Or find me on my Facebook Page.)

Emotional Eating: How To Be The Boss

(A re-run of one of my fave topics…)

Do you eat for comfort? If we’re honest, most of us could say yes to this question.

The RARE indulgence (say, for example, a nose-dive into a pint of Haagen-Dazs dulce de leche in front of an open freezer door after ending a 4.5-year-long toxic relationship with a total narcissist and cat-hater…ahem…) is not going to kill anyone. But I think we all know this is not a great habit if it happens too often. Turning to food for every little speedbump in life? Not a good idea.

I read an interesting thing recently, about the differences between men and women and their comfort eating habits (in the book Mindless Eating, which I reviewed recently).

When surveyed about their top comfort food choices, men tend to name things like pasta, soup, and meatloaf. Women, on the other hand, tend to name ice cream, cookies, and chocolate.

Why the difference?

One theory: men feel “taken care of” or “doted upon” with these foods. Meals like mom always made…right? But for a woman, soup or meatloaf or lasagne represents, typically, work. Because they’re the ones cooking these comforting meals! Which turns out to be not so comforting if you’re the one slaving in front of a stove.

The comfort foods that women gravitate towards are snackish: quick bites, scarfed down with nary a cutting board or Crock Pot in sight. And certainly without dishes to wash afterwards. And that’s comfort, in my book.

Fascinating, no?

So, the question is: how do we get that comfort factor without having to go up a jeans size?

Start by re-training yourself to pay attention to those emotional eating cues. When your fingers start twitching toward the cookie tin, ask yourself: Am I really hungry? Really? No, I mean, like truly hungry?

If not, maybe you need to seek comfort elsewhere. Spa, anyone? Call a friend? Listen to your favorite music?

Beyond dealing with immediate urges, you might need to take a look at your greater need to deal with stress. And this requires a more cohesive strategy. Breathing exercises are a great place to start, and from there it depends on your personal preferences: regular exercise, meditation, yoga…

Also, set up your environment so it’s not your enemy. If you know you are a weak, weak woman in the presence of All-Dressed Ruffles…don’t keep them in the house. Sure, you can always drive to the store to pick up a bag, or five, but making it that much harder for yourself will help. Plus the drive will give you a moment for a sober second thought. And to talk yourself down from the precipice.

Get organized with your snacking. Meaning, keep your house/desk/purse stocked with quick and easy bites that are healthy. Like baby carrot sticks. Walnuts in a snack-size ziploc. Fruit.

Okay, I know baby carrots are an exceedingly poor substitute for chocolate. But it just may fill up that little corner or satisfy the need to munch on something long enough for you to distract yourself. Or get yourself outside for a walk, or to the yoga studio, or to your best friend’s house, or whatever it takes to abort the impending breakdown that triggered the chocolate craving in the first place.

Baby carrots. So crazy it just might work.

Busy? 5 Health Mistakes You’re Making Because You Think You Don’t Have Time

We’re all “busy”. But sometimes things get particularly frantic. And when that happens, what’s the first thing to suffer? Yep, your health. Are you guilty of the following health mistakes when the going gets tough? Let me flip things around for you, and show you a different way of thinking about each of these faux pas. 

1.Skipping sleep.

Too many things to do, not enough time? I’m in touch with that emotion. And many times, I’ve sacrificed sleep to get more done. But I should know better. Tasks done while sleep-deprived rarely end up being my best work. Do you fall into this pattern? Thing is, making time for sleep is an investment. A well-rested you will be more productive and efficient. Plus, skipping sleep means you’re flirting with a lot of long-term health consequences. And if you get truly sick…well, just think about how unproductive you’ll be then.

2. Not drinking enough water.

It seems like an easy thing to do–drink water–but many people neglect this one when they’re dashing to and fro between appointments. Trouble is, mild dehydration is a very common energy sapper–and one you wouldn’t necessarily recognize. When you’re busy, you need all the energy you can get. That mid-afternoon slump could be perked up quite nicely, thank you very much, with a tall, cool glass of water. How much water do you really need to drink? Read this

3. Blowing off exercise.

“I’m so busy, there’s no WAY I have time for a workout”. Sound familiar? We’re all guilty of this one, I’m sure. Exercise is usually the first thing to go when your schedule crunches down. But…I think you know what I’m going to say here. Saving time by skipping workouts is a false economy. If you don’t make some time for exercise your energy lags, grumpiness grows, stress level goes up, productivity goes down. But I get it–how can you possibly carve out a full hour for a proper workout? Good news, people: you don’t have to! You can get your exercise in bite-size chunks of 10 minutes at a time, that you accumulate through the day. Read more about this approach here.

4. Depending on a glass of wine to relax.

Okay, I’m all for wine. But depending on it is a bad idea. I consider wine to be a healthy indulgence, it’s a very pleasurable ritual, and it’s a key part of the Mediterranean diet. There is plenty of research to show it’s a boon for heart health. But, clearly, you can overdo it. Liver disease springs to mind. Alcoholism is a pretty ugly thing. Plus, alcohol can mess with your sleep (see above). Bottom line? Enjoy your wine, but don’t medicate with it. There are many other ways to relax at the end of a busy, stressful day: yoga, a hot bath, a good book, a walk…

5. Eating too many meals that come from restaurants/takeout containers/frozen trays in the microwave.

Don’t get me wrong–I love restaurants; I’m a fan of take-out. Perhaps has something to do with the fact that washing dishes is the 6th layer of hell for me. But–there are good reasons to keep this sort of thing as an occasional treat only. If your weekly diet is heavy on the convenience food or takeout, you’ve relinquished control over what you’re eating. Restaurant and otherwise prepared food tends to be much higher in the unhealthies: fat, sodium, sugar. The portions are probably way bigger than you really need. And chances are, the choices will be a heavy in the meat-cheese-carb department and light in the fresh fruit & veggie department. It takes a little planning but simple, fresh food can be super-easy to prepare. It makes you feel better & look better. And if I can’t convince you on the health front, think of it this way: if you’re spending all your money in restaurants, how are you going to afford all the new pants you’re going to need to accommodate that muffin top you’ve grown, courtesy of all those meals out?

Ya know?

How To Resist Temptation With Two Little Words

You’ve resolved to stick to your diet. You’re feeling strong. And then…someone offers you a slice of your favourite: sticky-sweet pecan pie. Or a second helping of divine, cheesy, homemade lasagna.

How do you attempt to resist temptation?

If you’re like most people, you put on a pained expression, stick out your hand, shake your head—I can’t, you say. It’s like a physical act of being restrained.

But a new study suggests that those words “I can’t” are setting you up for failure. It’s a signal to yourself that you’re being deprived, being forced against your will, and that there’s some nebulous outside force controlling your actions. What does that set up? Feelings of rebellion. I’ll show you.

It’s human.

So what’s better, instead? To use the words “I don’t”. At least that’s what a recent study showed. Women who were instructed to use the phrase “I don’t” rather than saying “I can’t” were more likely to stick with their diet goals. Why? Because “I don’t” feels more empowering, and shows a sense of determination. Like you’re in charge, and this is what you’ve decided for the good of your own health.

The cool thing is that this is something you can learn to do. It’s a habit, like any other. (Read this, for a primer on how to change self-talk.)

This was a small study, but it’s an interesting line of research. I’m always fascinated by what makes people decide to do the things we do. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing…but something stops us from doing it, right?

As I frequently find myself saying (in fact, it’s part of my manifesto)…you and your body are on the same team.

The words “I don’t” just might help you act like a team.

Passport to Slim: Weight Loss Secrets from Around the World

North Americans may be many things, but one thing we’re not? Svelte. Not on average, anyway. And certainly not compared to the rest of the world. Are there things we could learn from our friends in other countries around the globe? Why, yes. Yes there are. Join me on a little tour.

Japan

In Okinawa, Japan, they eat using this principle: hara hachi bu. Roughly translated, it’s an instruction to eat until you’re 80% full. And it’s an excellent practice to live by. There’s no reason to eat until you’re stuffed. Also, there’s a delay in the message from your stomach to your brain that signals “full”. By the time you register that you’ve had enough…you’ve already overdone it.

India

This is the birthplace of yoga, of course. I’m a big fan of yoga; there are a multitude of health benefits for taking up the practice. And a slimmer physique happens to be one of them. A recent study showed that long-term yoga participants have lower BMIs than other exercisers. Perhaps it’s the mindfulness training that does the trick. Because here’s what happens when you engage in Mindless Eating.

France

Well, you know what they say: French women don’t get fat. I’m not sure anyone has fully figured out this (highly irritating) mystery…but I have some thoughts. I imagine it has to do with portion control, taking pleasure in food, and long leisurely meals together with friends & family. Oh, and chocolate for breakfast.  

Greece

It’s not entirely unique to the sun-soaked people of Greece, but the Mediterranean Diet is one we can all embrace, to improve our heart health, our waistlines, and our pleasure in food. Olives? Wine? Garlic? Yes please.

Brazil

To understand why it makes sense to eat like a Brazilian, think Gisele. Think thong bikinis on the beaches of Rio. A staple on the Brazilian table is rice-and-beans. It’s a low-fat, high-protein, high-fiber choice, which helps stabilize blood sugar. A study in Obesity Research examined the Brazilian diet in detail and found that a traditional diet mainly consisting of rice and beans lowers the risk of being overweight by about 14%.

Italy

All over Italy, in cities and small villages alike, la passegiata is an enduring tradition. It’s an informal stroll around town each evening before, or after, the family dinner. Italians promenade the streets, socializing, getting fresh air and a little exercise before settling in for an evening. To my mind, it certainly beats plopping on the couch to break open a bag of chips and stare at another episode of The Bachelor.

Thailand

All that spicy stuff in Thai curries and noodle dishes means there’s plenty of capsaicin in the Thai diet. That’s the substance that makes food hot…and it not only boosts metabolism, but also: you simply can’t gobble down spicy food at the same rate you can a cheeseburger. Fiery food means slower eating. And that’s a good thing for weight loss.

Get the newsletter!

If you enjoyed reading this post, why not sign up for Dr. Kim’s free newsletter? Get fresh health advice delivered directly to your email inbox (starting with Dr.Kim’s special report, Health Architecture: Blueprint for a Healthier Life).

How to Control Your Hunger Hormone

Ever feel like you’re not exactly “The Boss” when it comes to your hunger? That’s because, um, you’re not. Not always, anyway. Let me introduce you to a little something called: ghrelin

AKA: your hunger hormone. 

You can read more about ghrelin, and (more importantly) how to control the wee beastie, over on my blog at Yummy Mummy Club. My recent post: What is Ghrelin? (Know Thine Enemy).

 

How to Lose Weight Without Dieting

So first, a little news: I’ve recently been invited to join the amazing team of bloggers over on Yummy Mummy Club, the awesome website and brainchild of Erica Ehm. I will still be keeping up my own blog, Savvy Health, right here, but now you can also find me over on YMC.

And my latest post over there is one you’ll want to check: Sneaky Ways To Lose Weight.

In the article I detail 9 tricks you can use to drop a few pounds…without even trying.

Might come in handy after the holidays.

Just saying.

 

 

Baby Steps to Health

Sometimes, making big changes can feel way overwhelming. And overwhelm can stop you from changing anything. Where do you even start? It’s easier to just stick with the status quo, right? Get out of that rut with baby steps! Instead of tackling a total health makeover, just make a few tweaks. Small bites are much more manageable, and can help you break down those psychological barriers.

Below are some suggestions. Whatever you do, do NOT attempt to make all these changes at once. Try one on for size. If it sticks, choose another.

  • Pre-portion your breakfast cereal into little baggies (instead of pouring directly from the box into your bowl).
  • At a party carry a clutch purse — when your hands are full with Kate Spade and a cocktail, you’ll eat fewer nibbles.
  • Do kitchen yoga while you make dinner.
  • Choose food that’s crunchy and chewy (apples, whole grains…). They take longer to chew so you’ll scarf down less.
  • Brown-bag your lunch. Tried and true.
  • Floss while your kids are in the bath.
  • Always share popcorn with your husband at the movies but he refuses to downsize? Ask for an empty kid-size bag and pre-portion your own from his giant tub.
  • Try to eat just one “superfood” a day. (spinach, almonds, yogurt, salmon, avocado…)
  • Make your bedtime 15 minutes earlier.
  • Wear an outfit that hugs your curves when you go out for dinner. A constant reminder not to pig out.
  • Got a craving? Paint your nails. Ruining a shiny mani is a good deterrent to gobbling.
  • Take the grocery store in fast-motion. Burn a few extra calories while you shop.
  • TV commercial? Jumping-jack time.
  • Pace yourself slowly when eating with friends/family. Play a mental game: try to be the last one to finish.

Now it’s your turn! Any other ideas for small changes that can add up big?

Comfort Food & Emotional Eating: How To Be The Boss

Do you eat for comfort? If we’re honest, we can all say yes to this question, from time to time at least.

The RARE indulgence (say, for example, a nose-dive into a pint of Haagen-Dazs dulce de leche in front of an open freezer door after ending a 4.5-year-long toxic relationship with a total narcissist and cat-hater…ahem…) is not going to kill anyone. But I think we all know this is not a great habit if it happens too often. Turning to food for every little speedbump in life? Not a good idea.

I read an interesting thing recently, about the differences between men and women and their comfort eating habits (in the book Mindless Eating, which I reviewed recently).

When surveyed about their top comfort food choices, men tend to name things like pasta, soup, and meatloaf. Women, on the other hand, tend to name ice cream, cookies, and chocolate.

Why the difference?

One theory: men feel “taken care of” or “doted upon” with these foods. Meals like mom always made…right? But for a woman, soup or meatloaf or lasagne represents, typically, work. Because they’re the ones cooking these comforting meals! Which turns out to be not so comforting if you’re the one slaving in front of a stove.

The comfort foods that women gravitate towards are snackish: quick bites, scarfed down with nary a cutting board or Crock Pot in sight. And certainly without dishes to wash afterwards. And that, my friends, is comfort in my book.

Fascinating, no?

So, the question is: how do we get that comfort factor without having to go up a jeans size?

Start by re-training yourself to pay attention to those emotional eating cues. When your fingers start twitching toward the cookie tin, ask yourself: Am I really hungry? Really? No, I mean, like truly hungry?

If not, maybe you need to seek comfort elsewhere. Spa, anyone? Call a friend? Listen to your favorite music?

Beyond dealing with immediate urges, you might need to take a look at your greater need to deal with stress. And this requires a more cohesive strategy. Breathing exercises are a great place to start, and from there it depends on your personal preferences: regular exercise, meditation, yoga…

Also, set up your environment so it’s not your enemy. If you know you are a weak, weak woman in the presence of All-Dressed Ruffles…don’t keep them in the house. Sure, you can always drive to the store to pick up a bag, or five, but making it that much harder for yourself will help. Plus the drive will give you a moment for a sober second thought. And to talk yourself down from the precipice.

Get organized with your snacking. Meaning, keep your house/desk/purse stocked with quick and easy bites that are healthy. Like baby carrot sticks. Walnuts in a snack-size ziploc. Fruit.

Okay, I know baby carrots are an exceedingly poor substitute for chocolate. But it just may fill up that little corner or satisfy the need to munch on something long enough for you to distract yourself. Or get yourself outside for a walk, or to the yoga studio, or to your best friend’s house, or whatever it takes to abort the impending breakdown that triggered the chocolate craving in the first place.

Baby carrots. So crazy it just might work.

Get the newsletter!

If you enjoyed reading this post, why not sign up for Dr. Kim’s free newsletter? Get fresh health advice delivered directly to your email inbox (starting with Dr.Kim’s special report, Health Architecture: Blueprint for a Healthier Life).

Dr. Kim Foster, MD. (photo credit: Tamea Burd Photography)

Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,206 other followers

Follow DrKimFoster on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 58,164 views
I Blog @ YMC
Proud Member of the EmpowHER Blogger Network

Disclaimer

The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. It is not a substitute for seeking medical advice or counseling. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should seek medical attention before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program described on this website.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,206 other followers