How to Control Your Eating

How to Control Your Eating?

So many different journals and magazines try to offer advice to people on tips at controlling or curbing people’s unnecessary eating habits. But, when you really break it down, how a person avoids eating those extra bites is being attentive at what they’re eating and how much they have eaten. This specific way of thinking when eating is called “Mindful Eating”.

A report recently was released revealing that implementing 3 strategies can help a person eat less throughout their day.

1-     Avoid distractions

2-     Think about your food while you’re eating it

3-     Remembering what you ate at your previous meal

The reports found that eaters who were distracted by television, radio, or reading while eating, ate more at that meal. Then, they ate even more at the next meal. The study conditions also played a role in the amount of food eaten. Participants were less aware of what they ate when they were in a dimly lit room or eating in a buffet restaurant when employees were constantly removing empty plates from their table.

The results were similar for unrestrained eaters and restrained eaters (individuals who watch what they eat to avoid gaining weight).

So, the researchers came to the theory that anything you do to enhance your memory of what you eat can help control how much you eat at that meal and especially later on. Scientists speculate that when we make decisions about eating, we draw on memories about the satiating effects of our most recent meal.

The following tips can help a person eat mindfully, and likely maintain a healthy weight…

  1. Remove eating distractions: Eating in front of the TV, while reading, checking emails, or while doing anything else takes the focus off of your food are eating. This will increase the chance you overeating.
  2. Think about food when eating: Be conscious of every bite while you are eating to help regulate how much you eat. Involve your senses to notice the smell, taste, texture and color of foods being eaten in the present moment.
  3. Cue your food memories: When you sit down to eat, recall your last meal or snack. Make a mental list of the foods you ate, how they tasted and how satisfied you felt after eating.
  4. Pay attention to hunger: It takes practice, but listening to your body’s hunger cues can help you reduce your calorie intake. Take a moment to determine how hungry you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal and after you finish eating.
  5. Slow your pace: Eating slowly forces you to savor your food and eat less. It also leads to better digestion. After every bite, put down your knife and fork. Chew thoroughly.
  6. Dine to music:  Research shows that listening to soft music can help reduce anxiety, irritability and depression, emotions that can lead to overeating.

Here is a helpful checklist to keep with you at the office or at home:

–        Am I sitting?

–        Am I eating fast or slow?

–        Am I mindlessly munching or noticing each bite?

–        Am I asking “How hungry am I?” on a scale from 1-10

–        Am I multitasking or truly focused on my meal?

–        Is my stomach rumbling or am I bored, stressed, tired, anxious, etc.?

Controlling Your Eating

Awareness Checklist

Mindful MyPlate

mindful myplate

savor

awareness checklist

Why Do We Overeat?

Why Do We Overeat?

A lot of factors go into why, we as people, overeat. Having some idea of our behaviors is helpful in order to solve our problem and try to do better with it. Researchers recently did a study that looked at the effect of 3 common overeating triggers… Alcohol- Lack of Sleep- and TV.

The study found that alcohol had the strongest effect on food consumption, followed by sleep deprivation. Watching television had the least strongest effect of the 3 triggers. The effect of alcohol was double; yes I said double, that of sleep deprivation, which was double the effect of watching television.  

Well, it turns out that all 3 behaviors lead to an increase in circulating ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates your appetite. So, there is a biological foundation behind our weakened resolution when these lifestyle factors are in play. The scenario could be characterized by biologically unnecessary appetite stimulation paired with a heightened response to environmental food cues, which causes us to overeat!

The authors of this study discussed that with all 3 of these triggers combined- this promotes an increase in acute caloric consumption. These lifestyle patterns are not merely correlated with obesity but likely contribute to it by encouraging excessive eating.

Obviously not everyone eats in front of the TV and many people indulge in alcohol only occasionally. These folks don’t have a problem to solve though. It’s when these types of habits become a lifestyle that they become important factors in adding and maintaining those extra pounds.

If you think you have either of these lifestyle habits going on, then 1) limiting TV time and 2) limiting the number of episodes per week you indulge alcohol, should be obvious goals. Avoiding being sleep-deprived is more complicated, but trying to arrange your schedule to get a full 7- to 8 hours of sleep per night, is a good place to start (or adding a regular nap to make up some of the difference).

Mindless Eating comes into player here. Mindless eating is taking that extra time to actually enjoy your food that you’re eating- without all those multitasking duties that everyone does. So, instead of watching TV or reading the newspaper during a meal, actually sit and chew your food thoroughly and enjoy your meal. This way, you become more aware of how much you’re eating and become full faster.

Why Do You Overeat?

overeating

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch- The Main Event

Well, the day finally arrived! Saturday February 2, 2013- The “Love Your Heart Fun Lunch” free heart screening event took place at the WVU Heart Institute in the Suncrest Towne Centre. The ISPP Dietetic Internship was there and we were ready to educate the community all about…. (drum roll please)… PORTION DISTORTION! Since the ISPP Dietetic Internship has an Emphasis Area of “Leadership in Community Wellness”, our table was geared towards addressing what so many Americans find themselves becoming confused about- serving sizes, portion control, and easy ways to remember how to stay healthy.

Our table consisted of the following informational material:

  • Portion distortion flyer
  • Serving sizes- comparing inanimate objects to correct serving sizes
  • Plate proportions
  • Quick, easy recipes for on-the-go people
  • Antioxidants handouts
  • Mindful eating flyer and handouts
  • Incentives- food diary, brochures of the TLC Diet, and Walnuts- relative to heart health

We were asked by the coordinators of the event to wear a red shirt and dress pants. All of the table covers were provided by the staff and they even provided tape for me to use when I was setting up and hanging our “How Well Do You Know Your Portions” poster. The participants received a stamp from the ISPP Dietetic Internship table when they walked through our demonstrations and interacted with our activities. These stamps went on a participant bingo card, which entered them for a chance to win a door prize if they visited each table in the waiting area. Our first activity at our table was Kaylyn’s “Fast Food Quiz”, which was very intriguing to everyone at the event. Our second interactive, hands-on activity was a portion exercise I created. I had two bowls displayed in front of a bowl of rice. The purpose was to have participants portion out how much they thought a normal portion of brown rice was, then portion the appropriate amount into the other bowl to compare the two bowls side-by-side. Only four people tried the activity so, maybe next time I try to implement something like this again, I should include directions displayed for participants to see so there’s no confusion. Overall, the event was a real success for the WVU ISPP. Everyone seemed really open and receptive to the information we were providing to them.

Two-thirds of the ISPP Dietetic Internship ready to promote nutrition literacy!

Two-thirds of the ISPP Dietetic Internship ready to promote nutrition literacy!

 

Portion Distortion!!

Portion Distortion!!

 

Educating a participant on portions and serving sizes. Most people were quite surprised about the size of a "typical" dinner plate and its effects on portion control.

Educating a participant on portions and serving sizes. Most people were quite surprised about the size of a “typical” dinner plate and its effects on portion control.

 

WVU ISPP Dietetic Internship!!

WVU ISPP Dietetic Internship!!

 

An up-close look at our table and handouts!

An up-close look at our table and handouts!

 

 

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch Set-Up

Love Your Heart (The Before)

I got to sneak a picture of the sign when you enter the 2nd floor of the WVU Heart Institute

I got to sneak a picture of the sign when you enter the 2nd floor of the WVU Heart Institute

On Friday February 1st, the ISPP and GDI Interns were asked to come to the WVU Heart Institute to set up for the upcoming event that was taking place the next day. Elaine Bowen, a WVU Extension Specialist, asked us to attend the “Love Your Heart Fun Lunch” event. This event is a free health screening fair that participants attend, on a first come, first serve basis. The day before the event, volunteers and coordinators took time out of their day to prepare for the health screening extravaganza. Volunteers from the School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy, from WVU’s Health Sciences campus (HSC), were in attendance at the set up event. It was communicated that we, “nutrition people”, arrive to start help setting up at 5pm on that Friday. Well, since there was only two ISPP Dietetic Interns (including myself) that were going to be responsible for our “Community Nutrition” table, I told Kaylyn (the other ISPP Dietetic Intern) that I would go to the set up event. I did this because there really was no reason to have two people setting up our table. I arrived with my materials, posters, handouts, and other nutrition equipment and waited for instructions, with other students from HSC. To my surprise, when introductions from coordinators started to begin, I was introduced to the whole group of students because I was the only nutrition person who arrived to set up prior to the event. The GDI Interns were administering the screening process (meal planning) of the health fair and the ISPP Interns were responsible for a “Community Nutrition” table in the waiting area for participants to interact with and gain a little more health-related information. Since I was the only nutrition person to attend the event set-up, this gave me a few opportunities to take time to meet everyone that was involved in the planning and organizing of the event. The coordinators provided everyone with an itinerary and a map of the heart screening. The coordinators also shared with the group a Proclamation signed by the Governor of West Virginia, which was my first time seeing anything like that before. Then, the other volunteers were given a tour of each station of the heart screening maze for the next day. Since the ISPP Dietetic Internship table was in the waiting area with other community partners, like the School of Dentistry and EMS, I opted to help others move furniture and carry items inside from coordinator’s cars. I actually ended up getting the ISPP table set up fairly quick so, I helped with anything that anyone needed help with. Overall, I’m glad I came to set up because it made the next morning less stressful for Kaylyn and I. I also had the opportunity to network with other students and faculty in WVU health-related fields.

heart setup_itin

heart setup_itinn

heart setup_itinnn

Starting from the left side of our "community Nutrition" table

Starting from the left side of our “Community Nutrition” table

The middle section of our table- pre-event status

The middle section of our table- pre-event status

And the right side of our table. The only piece to this puzzle that was missing was Kaylyn's "Fast Food Quiz", which she brought the next mooring.

And the right side of our table. The only piece to this puzzle that was missing was Kaylyn’s “Fast Food Quiz”, which she brought the next morning.

A visual I created for participants to realize what the MyPlate actually looks like, compared to an actual oversized plate that most Americans use in their home on a daily rate.

A visual I created for participants to realize what the MyPlate actually looks like, compared to an actual oversized plate that most Americans use in their home on a daily basis.

The volunteer's map of the heart screen- to look over in case participants need help finding stations the next day.

The volunteer’s map of the heart screen- to look over in case participants need help finding stations the next day.

Overall- what the ISPP Dietetic Internship Community Nutrition table looked like the night before the event took place!

Overall- what the ISPP Dietetic Internship Community Nutrition table looked like the night before the event took place!