Developing better meal skills can help you shed pounds

Developing better meal skills can help you shed pounds

It’s that time of year when many people realize they didn’t stick with their new year resolutions to have a “summer body” by the time summer rolls around. However, it’s never too late to begin a lifestyle that includes healthier eating habits.

We work on skills to improve different parts of our lives; eating should be no different.

Meal skills are not just about what you eat to lose weight, but also how and when you eat. The key meal skills to learn aside from making healthy food choices, are to eat only when you are hungry, stop when you are full and taste and enjoy each bite.

Focus on eating only WHEN you’re hungry, not on the time of day. Many of us are guilty of this reply when someone asks if we are hungry: “What time is it?” Pay attention to your body, not the clock.

This one should be obvious: If you are not hungry, do not eat.

Drink a glass of water before each meal. Drink water throughout the day to help you stay satiated.

It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. With that said, practice HOW you eat by using the 10-5-10 technique. Eat slowly, taste and enjoy every bite for 10 minutes while putting your fork down between each bite. After all, there are no taste buds in your stomach.

Then stop. Drink another glass of water. After five minutes have passed, evaluate your hunger level. More than likely, you are comfortably full. If not, eat your favorite food first on your plate, chewing slowly. Drink more water. Evaluate your hunger level again after 10 minutes.

When you feel comfortably full, get that plate out of your way so you are not tempted to “graze” mindlessly.

Slow down. Research shows that when people eat slower, they eat less because their brains catch up with their stomachs’ feelings of being full. When you eat less, you lose weight. Pretty simple.

While dining out, divide and conquer. Ask for a to-go container as soon as your food arrives and cut up sandwiches, burgers, and other entrees into quarters and put half of it all in the container.

By using the 10-5-10 technique and the over-sized portions served by restaurants, you will have plenty of food for your meal and for another meal later.

Believe it or not, as little as five to seven bites at each meal can make a difference in losing weight. This includes bites taken while cooking and preparing meals, too.

Approximately 25 to 30 percent of what you eat should be protein, which will help you to feel full.

The average stomach is the size of a loosely-held fist. In 20 minutes of eating, it can be stretched to the size of a football. STOP eating before your stomach is too inflated and keep it even smaller than Tom Brady’s deflated football.

By making some easy adjustment to your meal skills, your summer body is closer than you think.

Charlene Smith enjoys helping others reach their fitness goals as a certified personal trainer at the Body Firm Personal Training Studio in Ahwatukee. For more information:

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