Well, we’ve reached the end of our four-part series of healthy eating tips from Marlene Lesson, nutrition director of Structure House, a residential weight loss facility in Durham, N.C. that offers a unique behavioral approach to weight loss and healthy lifestyle change. If you missed an installment, be sure to read parts one, two and three.
Serving the Meal
When the time comes to serve the meal, you put all the items in bowls and place them on the table. This situation prompts you to serve each member of the family, and it’s easy to sample some of the dishes repeatedly as you proceed. Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan:
- Plan appropriate portions of food for each member of your family.
- Fill the plates at the kitchen counter, and then carry the plates to the table to avoid using the serve-at-the-table or buffet approach, which tempts you to have seconds and thirds.
- Focus on the visual appeal and taste combinations of food rather than just the quantity on your plate.
- If possible, avoid using large plates, which may dwarf portions of food and make them look inadequate.
Eating the Meal
Eating has not just become habitual, it’s almost robotic. Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan, on how to avoid the temptation to overeat:
- Wait a moment before eating to savor the aromas, delight in the appearance, and anticipate the pleasure of your meal.
- Set down utensils between mouthfuls to avoid rushing your meal.
- Truly taste and enjoy what you’re eating focus on the quality, not just quantity.
- Slow down so that your meal will last at least twenty minutes.
- Eat while seated rather than â€œon the goâ€ while doing household chores, talking on the phone, or multitasking in other ways.
- Don’t eat while watching TV, reading, or using the computer; just enjoy your meal!
- Enjoy the meal as family time, not just as a nutritional pit stop.
Be mindful of what you eat and focus on being fully aware of the aromas, tastes, and textures as you savor each bite. If you can truly experience your meal rather than cruise through it on autopilot, you’ll feel much more satisfied and less tempted to overeat.
When everyone leaves the table, you’re stuck with cleaning up on your own. There are a lot of leftovers, so while emptying the pots and putting food away, you find yourself nibbling once again. Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan, on how to control your cravings while cleaning up the leftovers:
- Clean up right after eating rather than leaving food out longer, which will tempt you to go back for more.
- Delegate cleanup tasks, or else have family members work as a team, which speeds up the process.
- After the meal, sprinkle pepper on any food that remains on individual plates to make it unappetizing.
- Don’t leave any extra servings of food in pans or on the table; pack them up and refrigerate them if they’re usable or throw them out if they’re not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this informative series of guest posts from Marlene Lesson. I know I have! Please be sure to share the links to parts one, two and three with your friends and family, and enjoy the holidays!