25 August 2015 Is snitching sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

Have you ever wondered why your weight loss efforts are not working? You eat your fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and don’t eat the skin of your chicken; however, the scale does not seem to budge, and if it does change, it moves in the wrong direction.

Though there can be many reasons why your weight loss efforts may not be successful, take this week to learn more about one habit of yours: What are you eating between meals? You may have generally healthy eating habits at meals; however, your high calorie snacks between meals might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Try this three-step activity to find out exactly how many calories you are eating and drinking between meals.

Step One: Write

Write down everything you eat between meals for one week. Be honest with yourself; this chart is for your eyes only. If you ate ten potato chips instead of the three chips you planned on, write down ten chips.

Make a chart (similar to the one below) on a piece of paper for seven days with four columns: Snack Time, Food or Beverage, Amount, and Calories. Write down each of your snacks for seven days.

Snack Time Food or Beverage Amount Calories

Step Two: Analyze

After one week, what did you learn about yourself? Maybe, you can relate to the discoveries of some of my clients after recording snacks for one week.

“After learning that nuts contain heart healthy fats, I put a large container of nuts in my van and nibble them as I drive my children to soccer practice. I did not know that 1/2 cup of almonds contains over 400 calories.”

“As a “pick-me-up” in the summer, I enjoy my afternoon caramel Frappuccino at my favorite coffee shop. Little did I know, that one drink contains more calories than my entire lunch.”

“Since I enjoy mainly lettuce and vegetable salads for lunch, I often snack on a granola mix in the afternoon. I was surprised to learn that one cup of my granola contains almost 600 calories.“

“Whenever I prepare snacks for the children, I enjoy a cookie and a piece of chocolate. I didn’t realize until I wrote it down, that I was actually eating 4 cookies and 4 pieces of chocolate.”

Step Three: New ideas

Change occurs by first becoming aware of your current habits. Though this activity may not have revealed anything new about yourself that you did not already know, seeing your intake of food and beverages between meals written down in black and white on paper can give you objective data to learn about your current habits. Try some of these ideas to help prevent mindless eating between meals and to help you meet your weight loss goals quicker.

1. Pause.
Ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are eating for other reasons, such as boredom, sadness or loneliness. Try some of these tips if you are an emotional eater.

2. Plan and Prepare.
If you are hungry and need those calories as part of your daily eating scheme, then plan healthy snacks. Often prepared snacks can help prevent a person from overeating at meals or spontaneously choosing unhealthy high calorie snacks. Try these 10 smart snack ideas which all contain two food groups.

3. Out of sight, out of mind.
Keep your refrigerator, freezer and pantry filled with healthy snacks. If there is a food that makes you vulnerable, and you cannot prevent yourself from eating the whole bag, don’t buy that food. One of my clients has asked her children to stop baking cupcakes because that is her trigger food.

4. Do your meals contain enough protein, fiber and healthy fats?
Eating foods with protein, fiber, and fat can actually help you decrease the amount you eat between meals because those foods have a higher satiety value and can help you feel fuller longer. If I eat a scrambled egg (high protein) and a piece of 100% whole grain toast (high fiber) for breakfast, I feel fuller much longer than if I eat a white bagel with cream cheese and jam.

In conclusion, don’t let snitching sabotage your weight loss efforts. Even though you may be eating very healthy foods at meal times, by completing this three-step activity and becoming aware of what you are eating between meals can possibly help you understand why the scale is not moving in the right direction. After using some of the change ideas above, complete this same activity in 3 months and see what positive changes you have made. The more you honestly discover about your eating habits in a scientific manner, the better able you are to make positive changes. Happy Eating!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Weight Loss/Behavior Weight Loss/Emotional & Mindful Eating

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