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Spring Into Slim for the Summer

Fun in the Texas summer sun often requires a bathing suit or at least shorts and a tank top. The good news is it is not too late to shed a few unwanted pounds and confidently wear your summer wardrobe, according to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano's Clinical Nutrition Manager and Dietitian Marie Detillier. Below are her mindful eating tips to get you on track without "being on a diet:"

1. Out of sight, out of mind. We usually eat what we see. If chips and cookies are the first thing you see when you open the pantry door, move them from eye level or replace them with healthy options like whole grain crackers, baked chips and no added sugar granola bars. Get rid of the office candy dish!

2. Manage your snacking. If you often eat straight from the ice cream tub or bag of chips, don't. Get a small cup or bowl and serve yourself a reasonable portion (read the label.) Once your portion is done, you're done. Eat snacks at set times throughout the day rather than mindlessly snacking all day long.

3. Manage your meals. Don't mindlessly gobble your food at the counter, at your desk, in front of the TV or in your car. Try to eat meals at a table and at consistent times. Avoid distractions, except for music and conversation. Set your fork down between each bite, taking time to chew thoroughly and actually enjoy the flavor of what you are eating.

4. Make convenience foods work to your advantage. The easier it is to grab a bite, the more you will eat. So make the healthy things easy! Wash and cut up veggies and fruits when you bring them home from the store; keep low sugar 100-calorie snack packs, not large cookie and cracker packages on hand; and save leftovers in sensible portion sizes so you have a quick and healthy lunch ready when you head off to work in the morning. Avoid situations where you can use convenience as an excuse to make unhealthy choices. Take time today to plan ahead for tomorrow.

5. Know your hunger. Rate your hunger from 1-10, with 1 being famished. Eat when you are at 2 or 3 and stop eating at 7 or 8 (your brain will catch up in about 20-30 minutes.)

6. Don't get rid of the evidence. If you're at a barbeque, buffet or hors d'oeuvre party, don't take a clean plate between each round. When you see evidence of what you've already eaten, you may be less inclined to fill your plate high again.

7. Use portion control tricks. I know this is Texas, but bigger is not always better! Choose 8-inch plates and tall, narrow glasses and you will likely take smaller portions. Opt for the small popcorn, the single hamburger, or the kid-sized ice cream cone.

8. Help your guests eat smart. Instead of dumping a whole bag of chips into a gallon-sized bowl, divide the contents into four smaller bowls. Studies show your guests are likely to eat over 50 percent less! Always have some variation of fruits and vegetables available and consider simple recipe swaps to make your dishes lower in fat, sugar and calories- nobody even has to know!

9. Don't cut out favorite foods. Deprivation does not lead to long term weight loss. In other words, cutting out your favorite foods is a bad idea. Just cut back on the amount you eat of those items. Try ingredient substitutions to make your favorite recipe lower in fat, sugar and calories.

10. Harness the "Power of Three." Are there three 100-calorie changes in your daily food routine that you can easily change into mindless POSITIVE eating habits? By decreasing your intake by 300 calories daily, you could be as much as 30 pounds lighter by the end of the year! Even if you only hold to one or two 100-calorie changes, you could still weigh 10-20 pounds less in a year.

The best "diet" is the one you don't even know you're on. You can do this! Summer fun here we come!

*Tips adapted from MindlessEating.org

For more tips on small, healthy changes you can make, visit TexasHealth.org/Well-Being.

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