Besides the food choices that you make each day, there are certain skills that you can use to enhance your eating experience and make it more likely to eat the appropriate type and amount of food. For those patients in the maintenance phase of the program, the following will give some suggestions as to how to improve your eating behavior.
We all know that eating fast or eating in a rush can cause a person to not fully enjoy his/her food. In addition one may not pay attention to how much and what is being eaten. So one of the first skills a person should learn is to eat more slowly. Putting the knife and fork down between bites is helpful as well as cutting food into smaller pieces. Pausing halfway through the meal is also a good technique to slow the pace. Try to enjoy the portion of food that is on the plate and let it last for at least 15-20 minutes.
Another habit that can cause some problems is nibbling or grazing while cooking or cleaning up. For some people this can greatly increase the amount of food a person eats. Even though it may not be “counted” as food, it can interfere with a person’s ability to lose or maintain their body weight. One technique that can be helpful is chewing gum and/or drinking water while preparing food. This can prevent you from consuming extra calories. Also, leftovers should be scraped directly into the garbage or frozen immediately. If food is left out on the counter, there will be a temptation to finish it! If eating at home, food is better served from the stove or counter versus having the food containers on the table. There is more of a chance of taking “seconds” or nibbling if the half-empty dish is left directly on the table!
One habit that many of us learned when young was to clean our plates! Many people grow up finishing whatever is on their plate no matter what the portion size! Someone else has determined how much should be eaten. One technique to deal with this is it to get in the habit of leaving some food on your plate, no matter how small! For example, one can leave a tablespoon of any of the food served on the plate. The food doesn’t have to be eaten just because it is there!
These are just a few of the eating behaviors that can help a person manage his/her food intake. Start with these and make them part of your daily habits!