Are you eating the right amount?
Are you eating too much, too little, or just the right amount?
Eating is complex. We have intricate and numerous pathways, hormones and sensors that regulate the amount of food we eat each day. For many people these systems work well and body weight is maintained. Even when imbalances occur for example over eating on a vacation or burning 2000 calories on a 20 mile run the body is able to make adjustment to compensate and keep weight stable. Even if you are over-weight you can see how your body has a set weight it seems stuck on. That is because these systems are hard at work to maintain the ‘norm’. These systems can be disrupted with many modern day realities like chronic stress, poor sleep and a toxic food environment. Add to that the use of food as a friend or therapist. Also sitting in front of a screen (TV, computer, pad, etc) for hours. A recent study found that 13 year olds spend over 7 hours/day of ‘screen time’ outside of computer use in school.
How can you get back to what nature intended where your body does most of the work to regulate food intake?
- Fix what is wrong: Most people need 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Find ways to slow down, take a breath and conquer stress.
- Clean up your environment by removing or avoiding temptation.
- Address emotions or depression that may be affecting your food intake.
- If you work at a computer, get up and move a little every 30 minutes
If you have done these – great – you are half way there. Next comes getting some strong players on your defensive line to guard you from calorie dense foods that are readily available. Just look on your smart phone for sugar, fat and calorie info of foods sold at places you pass by on your commute to work. It’s a toxic food environment but we ultimate have choices to super size or not, to have dessert or not, to have Cheetos for a snack or an apple. The final tool is mindful eating which simply means paying attention. Are you really hungry or just nervous, tired or bored? What does full feel like and can you stop before feeling full? Listening in to your body’s messages to you is a good starting point to learn how to eat the right amount of food. It may also help to ensure your meals have both fiber and protein as both help you feel full sooner and for longer.
Many weight loss researches have said that ‘weight gain is a normal response to an environmental gone toxic’. While I agree with that you don’t have to roll over and take it. Fight back for your health and take some pro-active steps today. Learn more on www.kpwebinar.org click on Healthy Connections Series.
Jacque Maldonado, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE
Jacque has a B.S. and M.S. in Nutrition and is an avid endurance athlete having finished four full Ironman® Triathlons and over 25 marathons including qualifying for Boston. She is also a USA Triathlon coach Level 1 and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Jacque currently works in Kaiser Permanente’s Population & Prevention Services department.