Watching our food intake

We are constantly surrounded by messages about food. These are often designed to make us buy and ultimately eat more. Places that sell food are everywhere.

Commercially prepared foods are highly processed, high in sugar, high in salt and are cooked with unhealthy fats that trick our taste buds into wanting more.

Research shows that eating highly processed foods may affect signals and promote further eating. However, we can adopt strategies to tune out the messages and tune in to our nutritional needs. A study published by Harvard University suggests the following steps to help us eat appropriate food sizes:

Pay attention to your food, so that you take stock of what you’re eating. Eat at the table without any electrical distractions. Research shows that visual stimulation, during a meal increases the amount of food we eat. Eating attentively without distractions, can influence food intake and is one of the simplest approaches we can actively take to prevent overeating.

Have a technology free lunch when you’re at work. Leave your desk and take a break from the computer and mobile phone. This can be seen as a chance to reduce time spent sitting, whilst boosting our physical health. It’s also a chance to give our mind a break to simply enjoy our meal.

It’s a fact that sugar and salt stimulate taste buds, so it’s easy to overeat on sweet and salty food products, which are highly processed. As we begin to cut down on highly processed foods, our palate will also begin to adjust, so that over time we’re satisfied with far lower amounts of sugar and salt. We must also learn to chew our food properly. The more we chew our food, the less food we will consume.

Eating when we’re hungry sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? But many of us will eat for reasons other than hunger; the obvious reasons include being bored, anxious and living with stress.

When tempted to turn to comfort food for emotional reasons, ask yourself if you’re really hungry, because the chances are you’re actually not. Teaching ourselves to ‘purposefully pause’ can help us become more mindful and less stress-driven, around food.

It is important not to go shopping for food when you’re hungry. Research has shown we buy more food and snack food when we do. Taking a grocery list with us enables us to stick to what’s ONLY on our list.

4 Mar, 2015

8 thoughts on “Watching our food intake

  1. This is great advice and definitely one for me. I am better than I used to be, but I do like my food and have a tendency to eat portions that are unnecessarily large.

    I now work from home, so it is much easier to avoid the temptations of the sandwich shop, especially as I have no co-workers bringing in hot sandwiches on the way to work or Friday afternoon cakes!

    I think all of your suggestions are eminently sensible; I just need to keep telling myself I have the will-power to implement them.

    1. Thank you. I think we all have more willpower than we think we have.

      It’s a matter of unlearning and re-learning new patterns and although that’s not easy to do, because of our own resistance, it’s not impossible. If we are assured a healthier future (and I believe we are) through changing something like size portions, that go on to create or health implications, regardless of whether we believe we can change, we must change.

      I believe anyone can change, we just have to want to.

  2. Yes, this is definitely something I need to work on because I do need to lose weight and be able to stay at a healthier weight.

    My biggest downfall has been snacking at night, which I got into the habit of when staying with a friend! It’s far too easy to get into that habit when you’re stressed or nervous.

    I have also learned it isn’t very smart to go shopping when you’re hungry because you end up buying way more than you should. It seems like every other commercial is for food so it’s not surprising that’s the first thing that comes to mind when we’re hungry.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes dishing out smaller portions and watching what we snack on is probably something we should all think about.

      It seems more fine, the younger we are, but age and bad habits invariably do tend to catch up with us. I think your response says it all.

      Hopefully it’s now something we will all do.

  3. I think another tip when grocery shopping, is not to take children with you. When shopping with my 3 yr old, he tends to throw whatever he wants into the cart and most of the items are usually unhealthy.

    In order to avoid a tantrum, I end up giving in.

    1. Thanks Maria. You’re absolutely right. There’s something about children and grocery stores don’t you think? It would also cut our bill down by half!

      Thank you for mentioning it. I remember having the same problem when my children we’re little.

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