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Stress and keeping a food diary

Posted in Crazy Wisdom,Workout on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 1:24 pm by flerly.

Keeping track of what you eat on a daily basis and counting calories has long been considered a very effective way to keep your diet on track. Dr. Peeke, however, suggests that you make additional notes along with that record. She suggests that tracking the time, item(s) eaten, calories, and reason allow for a more informative look at your eating habits. Trends should emerge within 2-3 weeks of keeping such detailed food logs, which might suggest that a change in behavior might improve your diet. If you find you are always feeling “hungry” at about halfway through your usual TV hour, perhaps you might try doing some light exercise while you watch tv. Perhaps your hunger has to do with a sort of boredom rather than an actual need for food. Spotting these trends can be the key to your success!

Trying to keep a food diary during an already hectic life can be quite the challenge, however, and added stress can lead to the desire for added snacking. If you discover that finding the time to log everything you eat seems too much to bear, then don’t lose hope. Dr. Peeke suggests that there are two important yet simple things to remember when trying to diet without stress.

The first is “portion size”. Read the food labels and learn how big a serving size actually is… take out a measuring cup and learn to recognize common sizes: 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 cup. Taking the time to sit around and measure out some items so you can actually SEE what a portion looks like will make a lasting impression on you, and make it easier to visualize proper portions in the future. When faced with a meal and you’re unsure of the proper serving you should be eating, only eat half. It’s a good safe bet that any restaurant meal you’re presented with is at least double the recommended serving.

The second item is “making healthy choices.” Atkins dieters would have you believe that it is the fat in your diet that keeps you satisfied. More research has shown that it is actually the protein. Choose lean protein options, high fiber options, and foods with high water content to be the most filling. And remember, if you’re reducing your portion sizes, you should be eating 5-6 times a day! That could be a light breakfast, healthy snack, light lunch, healthy snack, light dinner, and another healthy snack!

If stress is already giving you the urge to nibble, take the time to make healthy snacks available for yourself during your week. 90 calorie Special K bars come drizzled in chocolate! A bag of mini-carrots is easy to divide into take along snack bags for work, as are cubes of reduced-fat cheese or a serving of almonds or other favorite nut! And don’t forget nature’s pre-packaged favorite treats: apples, oranges, and bananas! Shop ahead, be prepared, and take the stress OFF making good food choices while you’re already stressed about work.

Most of all, in a stressful life, remember that if you fall off the wagon with your diet, you can always get back on. Nothing you put in your mouth in a moment of weakness dooms your diet forever. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t call it failure. Life is full of lessons to be learned, what situations to avoid, but every moment of weakness doesn’t need to be overanalyzed. Look toward your next meal.. and your next day… and your next choice, and choose a healthy future.


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