You’re busy munching from a large bowl of fruit salad as you catch up on your emails. You look up and suddenly discover that the bowl is empty. No problem, you think, any nutritionist would be happy with your choice of snacking on fruit. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone.
Environmental factors such as portion size, your plate size, package size, and the variety of food at your disposal can influence how much you eat. If we only eat when we’re truly hungry and stop after getting full, one day, obesity may not be part of our vocabulary.
Calories and Weight Gain
You may have a fantastic exercise regimen, but if you eat too much, you’ll gain weight even if it’s too much healthy food. Why? Because you’ll most likely consume more calories than your body can use. Calories represent the energy amount your body receives from liquids or food.
If you’d like to lose weight, opt for a balanced eating plan instead of one that excludes certain macronutrients. The main macronutrients include carbs, proteins, and fats.
While most people think only fats cause weight gain, the truth is all macronutrients contain calories and consuming more than the recommended daily amount can cause weight gain.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, adult women need 1800 to 2400 calories a day while adult men need about 2200 to 3000 calories a day. To meet these requirements, your daily intake should be comprised of 45% – 65 % of healthy, complex carbohydrates.
So, how do you ensure you take in the recommended calories and prevent weight gain?
Top 3 Tips to Prevent the Intake of Excess Healthy Calories
The temptation to overeat can be strong because it’s usually in our surroundings. Thus, to prevent it, you should be aware of the environmental cues that could sabotage your healthy eating habits, and then react accordingly by making smart decisions as follows:
1. Don’t Eat Too Much Healthy Food
According to Zoe Ruderman, an author at Cosmopolitan magazine, the list of healthy foods that could make you gain weight if not eaten in moderation comprises of:
- Sushi rolls
- Dried fruit such as raisins
- Bran muffins
- Bottled teas
- Rice cakes
- Veggie burgers
- Orange or apple juice- a 16-ounce bottle has 55g of carbohydrates which equals 12 spoonfuls of sugar.
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber but low in fat. When you eat them, you’ll fill up so you won’t be tempted to eat high-fat foods. However, as U.S. National Library of Medicine states, they still contain calories that can add weight, so you should eat them in moderation, especially fruits.
2. Don’t Multitask while Eating
If it is normal for you to keep a bowl or big bag of snacks close by while watching a movie, checking emails, or reading a newspaper, you may want to rethink your behavior.
A study documented by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains how eating and doing another activity can cause you to eat more. In this study of two groups, they all ate the same meal; one group ate the meal while watching television while the other ate without watching. The two conclusions from the study are:
- Being distracted when eating caused people to eat more.
- Paying attention to the meal resulted to eating less afterward.
Hunger isn’t the only determinant of how much we eat. Other factors such as attention and memory play a role too. According to Howard LeWine, the Chief Medical Editor of Harvard Health Publications, when you start eating any meal, it’ll take about 20 minutes for the brain to send out the “I’m full” signals that will turn off your appetite. If you’re not paying attention, you can easily take in extra calories after those 20 minutes.
3. Watch Your Portion Size
A portion is the food amount that you actually eat. Don’t confuse this with a serving size, which refers to the quantity of meal or snack you’re supposed to eat. Our idea of portion size seems distorted partly because many restaurants serve giant, oversized portions. To understand what portion size to use, check out WebMD’s Portion Size Plate or get guidance from a nutritionist.
How to Control Your Portion Size
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the best ways to control portion size when eating at home are:
- Don’t eat from a bag, as you could easily overeat.
- Serve your food on smaller plates. For example, use a salad plate rather than a dinner plate.
- Let green vegetables constitute half of your food.
- Snack between your meals; eat a high-fiber snack like a fruit, broth-based soup or a small salad. You’ll feel full and won’t eat too much during the next meal. In addition, if your snack contains protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates it will leave you feeling more satisfied.
AYC Health & Fitness offers a professional nutritionist, Ellen, for help with the ideal food choices for your lifestyle. Call 913-642-4437 Ext. 2 to find out more, drop us a line at email@example.com and get your questions answered by the best nutritionist in Kansas City, or click to book a consultation today.