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The Plan for Those Who Know They'll Have a Hard Time Limiting Their Food Intake

The Plan for Those Who Know They'll Have a Hard Time Limiting Their Food Intake

There’s just no way to get around this fact - people who have a hard time limiting their food intake are going to have a tougher time losing weight. This is a horribly frustrating truth for those who love to eat! But there it is.


If eating a lot in one sitting, or eating constantly is something that you like to do, and it's important to be able to continue to do this, then you're going to have to create some strategies that allow you to do that, within reason, and still decrease the number of calories and fat that you consume. You've got your work cut out for you, but if you're determined, you can do it.


Before we get started with developing strategies, let's explore how you got to where you are. If you're reading this, you probably looked at the title of this section and said, “That's me!” 


You already know that quantity is something you appreciate when it comes to food. You’ve become accustomed to eating large meals, or nibbling on food all day long. If you were only eating carrots and broccoli in large doses, you might still be slim, but that's unrealistic for anyone.


It's probably safe to say that you either think about food a lot, or you’re just so used to eating often (and a lot) that you have a big habit that's become a part of your lifestyle.


It's probably also safe to assume that you're eating large portions of everything - salad with dressings, breads, meat, desserts, fruits and veggies. Your diet might be reasonably balanced. Or maybe you're eating a lot of snack foods, too - chips, soda, candy, cookies, and plenty of high-calorie Ranch dip on your celery sticks.


Regardless, the calories and fat have added up and attached themselves firmly to your middle, thighs, rear, or maybe just everywhere.


So now what? If you aren't ready or able to significantly reduce the volume of food you eat, then it's time to significantly change the types of foods you eat. There's no way around this.


How to Eat


For me to suggest that you immediately stop eating snacks and cut your meal portions in half is silly, although if you do that, you'll probably start dropping weight pretty quickly. A more realistic strategy might be to combine reducing your portions and the number of eating events you have each day a little, and to work on making your diet much lower in calories and fat.


Let's explore how that might work.


First, let's look at why you're eating so much, and what you're eating so much of. I'm not a psychologist, so I'm not going to get into all the possible causes for overeating as a sort of psychological defense, or because of fluctuations in brain chemistry.


All I'm going to say is that a lot of us overeat because it gives us comfort and temporarily makes us feel better.  You've heard of comfort foods, haven't you? For some, it's chocolate, for others, mashed potatoes.


I've never, ever heard of someone sitting down with a great big plate of Brussels sprouts when they were stressed, or feeling bad, or bored. Some of us eat a lot because, in many ways, it makes us feel better somehow - at least for a while. And then we need to eat more to keep the good feeling going.


Some of us just like the physical action of eating. The hand to mouth, and mouth to gut action – similar to how a smoker likes to have a cigarette in hand. Just take some time to explore what it is about eating a lot or eating big portions frequently does for you. Then take a look at what you're eating.


It’s a great idea to take a week with your current eating habits and write down everything you ate, along with portion size, every day. If you want, you can make notes about when you ate, and how you felt at the time.


This might give you some insight into why you're eating so much. And from your weeklong food tracking exercise, you'll be able to see all of the foods that you're eating, along with how many calories you're consuming.


It could be a real eye-opener. Now let's get down to business. If you're planning to lose weight and still eat lots of food, there are modifications to be made to your overall diet. Make a commitment to limit (or cut out entirely) the food items that are flat-out not going to help your diet in any way.


These include soda, sugary desserts, candy, snacks from the vending machine, high-fat and high-calorie fast foods, whole milk and high-fat dairy, fatty meats, and simple carbohydrates like white bread.


Then commit to replacing those foods with low-fat dairy, lean meats, lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat, low-calorie salad dressing, complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads and whole wheat pasta, lots of fresh water, and desserts such as fresh fruit slices topped with fat-free whipped topping.


For lunch or dinner, you can fill up with a big salad filled with plenty of vegetables, a sprinkle of low-fat grated cheese (just a sprinkle, not a handful), a few croutons, and a tasty and healthy dressing.


Add a small portion of lean, grilled chicken (or if bakes, make sure you take the skin off), or a sliced hard-boiled egg for protein, and you have a big meal that’s high in nutrition and lower in fat and calories.


For any meal, your plate should be half filled with steamed or grilled vegetables (or fruit if it's breakfast), without thick, creamy sauces, one quarter filled with lean meat that has been broiled or baked, and one quarter filled with something starchy, like pasta.


When your meal is gone, sit for at least 15 minutes before even considering going for second helpings. This will give your body time to realize that you probably don't need more food. Your mind might want more, but if your gut is full, go with the gut.


A note about plates here: Standard dinner plate size is significantly larger in the 21st century than it was in the 1960s! Use a smaller plate. You'll save yourself a bunch of calories and fat when you do.


At breakfast, eat eggs or meat, whole grain toast or oatmeal, and fruit. And for your morning coffee, use one small teaspoon of sugar instead of two, and low-fat creamer instead of regular.


Don't forget that clear soups can be a wonderful help when you're working on losing those saddlebags. They can be part of a meal, or you can use clear broths at snack time to just act as a filler.


If you're a snacker, you’re probably used to eating chips, candy, crackers and other snack foods. You know, it's fine to do that now and then, but the bulk of your snacks, especially if you're the type that likes to have something to nibble on at all times, should be healthy snacks that don't pack on the pounds.


So you want to be looking at eating carrots, celery, apples, berries, low-fat yogurt, and nuts (be careful with nuts - they're healthy, but high in fat and calories, so you only need a small handful).


Don't forget to drink plenty of fresh water every single day. Keep a bottle or glass of water with you at all times and sip from it often. This helps keep you hydrated and healthy, and helps to calm both your tummy and mind when they think they’re hungry.


You can still nibble at something all day, but you have to be very careful about what you're nibbling on. It's important that even though you're changing your habits, you don't deprive yourself to the point of misery.


Agree with yourself to adopt these habit changes and allow yourself one small treat a week or every three or four days. This could be a couple of fun sized candy bars (those little ones), or one single scoop of rich, creamy frozen yogurt. Just don't overdo it. 


Is reducing portions and changing what you're eating going to be tough? Yes, it might be at first. But remember that you don't have to cut your food intake drastically, or anything like that.


Make subtle changes in what you eat, how often and the way you eat, and you’ll find your habits changing, too. You'll find that it will get easier and you'll start to love your new way of eating and looking at food. It's a great start!


Exercise Tips


In spite of the fact that you’re eating different, better foods and you’re changing your habits when it comes to portions and the size of your meals and snacks, if you don't want to strictly limit your daily food intake, then you need to plan on getting plenty of exercise every day to help you lose weight. 


First, you’ll need to get a bare minimum of 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. Seven days is even better. Thirty minutes really isn't that much time, so do your best to get it in, even if you have to break it into three 10-minute sessions each day.


You’ll need to do cardio exercises to get your metabolism revved up.  And you'll need to do some strength training, too. This will help build muscle, which firms you up and boosts your metabolism, too. 


Mix your workouts so that you’re doing cardio three days, and strength training two days a week one week, and the opposite the next week.


Cardio exercise consists of activities like aerobics, walking, dancing, biking, hiking, jogging and swimming - anything that gets your heart rate up works. Even mowing the lawn at a fast pace (with a push mower) will work.


Cardio exercise is great for your health and for burning calories. It helps boost your metabolism so that your body uses energy more efficiently.


Strength training can involve working with free weights or weight machines, like those you find at the gym. But you can also use resistance bands (those big “rubber bands” you find at the sports store), or even cans of fruit or water bottles. The whole idea behind strength training is to make your muscles work against something that’s giving them resistance.


If you're a woman and you've heard that strength training is bad for a female unless she's planning on becoming a body builder or looking like a guy, that's just a myth. Strength training can help shape a woman's body and give it a very sleek, smooth and toned look.


And if you're a man, well, strength training is going to help you gain muscle definition and look great – not to mention is burns calories faster with every pound of muscle that you build.


So, it's time to map out your exercise plan. That could mean joining a gym, or walking every day with your neighbor and working with resistance bands. You have to determine what’s right for you.


If you're really out of shape, go see your doctor and discuss your weight loss and fitness goals with him or her. They'll give you advice on the best way to get started from where you're at health-wise.


Also, if you've been a couch potato for a while now, you might have to start out slowly. Don't let that get you down! If you don't get started, you'll never get to your goal. Before we wrap up our discussion on exercise, there is one more thing we need to talk about - the subject of hunger with exercise.


Exercise might make you hungrier, so to avoid after-exercise crazy eating, have some lean protein and a small portion of complex carbohydrates (like a half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread) or half a protein bar about an hour before you exercise.


This doesn't apply if you're exercising in 10-minute increments throughout the day. This small meal of complex carbs and protein fuel your workout and keep you from feeling starved when you're done.


After your workout, drink plenty of water to replenish what you lost through sweat. You can also have a small snack. A good rule of thumb is that your snack can equal half of the calories that you would have burned during your workout.


Don't worry about putting those calories back in you - weight loss doesn't work exactly that way. So, if you burned 300 calories during your exercise time, you can have a snack that’s roughly 150 calories. It can have both protein and carbohydrates in it.


Snacks for after your workout could be:


·         A small fruit smoothie

·         Cottage cheese and fruit

·         The other half of your protein bar

·         Cereal and low-fat milk

·         Crackers and low-fat cheese


When and if hunger randomly strikes during your day, before you reach for a snack, do some light exercise. Go for a 10-minute walk, or do some stretches and a set of push-ups. Just remove yourself from the hunger for a few minutes.


This will help you determine if it's real, true hunger or if you just want to eat something out of boredom or old habits. Plus, you get a little extra exercise out of the deal.


Mindset Motivation


Your mindset is going to be instrumental in your weight loss program. And if you're the type of person who has a hard time limiting food intake, it probably has a lot to do with how your mind works, what you think about, what you tell yourself, and what you dwell on.


This is true for anyone who is working on making positive changes in his or her life.


There may be times that you feel that all you can think about is food - wonderful, tasty, food. It's very normal to obsess about something we don't think we can have. But the good news is that you can have food - you're only working on creating healthier habits surrounding your meals.


It can help immensely if you’re prepared for these times, which may be most of the time, especially when you're just starting out. The key is to change your mindset away from a “need” for food and toward other things.


You get personal satisfaction from eating. Can you find other things to do that will bring you satisfaction and help you curb your desire to eat, eat, and eat some more? Everyone’s different, but here are some things you can do:


Be busy.

You don't have to be running around like crazy, but it will help if you increase your level of activity, whether it’s social activity (that isn't centered on eating), volunteering, taking a class, working, cleaning the house, gardening, helping your neighbor, catching up on phone calls or correspondence, crafting, exercising, going to the movies, or learning to play guitar.


Change your lifestyle habits.

If you're used to chowing down while watching hours of TV, stop watching so much! If going out for pizza and beer every Friday with the gang is your habit, go only every other Friday, and invite your friends to try something different on the two “off” Fridays, like having game night (serve low-fat cheese and crackers, veggies and low-fat dip and smoothies).


When hunger strikes, talk to yourself.

Argue with the voice that says, “Feed Me Now!” Ask yourself if you're really physically hungry, or if you're bored, lonely or frustrated. Find something else to do if you're not truly hungry. Play a video game, watch a DVD, turn the stereo on loudly and dance, call a friend for a chat, or see who's on Facebook.


If you're going out with friends, get a mindset of planning ahead and self-control.

You don't have to stuff your face just because it's what you used to do, or because everyone else is. Eat a small meal of protein and complex carbohydrates, so you're not very hungry when you head out. Then practice some good, old-fashioned restraint. If you're going to a restaurant, plan what you'll order, and then do it.


Steer clear of the people who make you want to eat.

You know who those people are. They either encourage you to eat because it's fun and they’re doing it, or they encourage you to eat because they frustrate you and you eat to feel better.


If you're used to telling yourself things like, “What's the use? I might as well eat because I'm never going to lose weight,” catch yourself before you reach for the fork.

Your mind is used to talking to you that way, but you don't have to let it. Tell yourself that you're going to keep moving ahead with working on changing your habits for the better. Yes, it's difficult sometimes, but you're going to do it to prove those negative thought patterns wrong.


In the end, your mindset is going to be your main motivator for failing or succeeding at losing weight. Your mind is very powerful, and if you keep it on its toes, and call it to task when it's leading you astray, you'll win the weight loss game.


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