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Posts Tagged ‘Distracted Eating’

If so, sign up for our Zero Weight Gain Email Challenge.

If your scales say HELP…..

Would you like to maintain or even lose weight this holiday season, rather than gaining the typical 3 – 5 pounds? Ohio State University Extension is again offering their popular on-line Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge. This 7 week challenge will last from November 21 to January 9 and offer 2 messages a week to inspire you to improve your health and maintain without gaining. Many of our participants over the last 4 years have lost weight, when they start keeping track of what they eat.

This on-line challenge is designed to help participants not gain holiday weight by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, recipe substitutions, and wellness tips. Participants will receive twice weekly e-communications via blogs, facebook, and email with tips and recipes. All participant information is kept confidential. Program only available for adults, ages 18 and over.

Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. A pre and post challenge survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.

Adults interested in participating in this on-line challenge should send an e-mail to treber.1@osu.edu with Zero Weight Gain in the subject line and subscribe in the body of the email. You’ll be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting November 21. While facebook will be utilized, participants only need to have an email address.

Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Pickaway County/Heart of Ohio

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Everyone seems to be on the fast track these days. Healthy eating can be a challenge in our fast paced world. When we’re rushing from work, kids’ activities, or our own commitments, we often grab something quick to eat on the go. In the process, we might be sacrificing good nutrition. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If we think ahead and plan, we can make better choices for those meals and snacks on the run. 

*Check Nutrition Facts labels on products or the nutrition information available at fast food restaurants to get valuable information to guide your selections.  Grab and go foods often are high in fat, sodium and sugars and low in important vitamins and minerals. A good rule of thumb is the 5-20 guide. One serving of food with 5% or less Daily Value is considered low in that nutrient. One serving of food with a 20% or higher Daily Value is considered high in that nutrient.

 *Plan your grocery shopping with plenty of fruits and vegetables that can supplement a grab and go meal that is often lacking in nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.  Planning and eating more meals at home can be a healthy option.

 *Watch your portion size.  You can easily pack on extra calories if your portion size is large or “super size.”  Often times, items packaged as single portions actually provide 2 or more servings. For example, a large bagel may actually equal 3 or 4 servings from the Grains Group.  So don’t confuse portions and servings.  

 Taking a few minutes to read labels, plan your shopping and meals, and control your portion size can help ensure more nutritious meals even when you have to eat on the run.

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pictures of unhealthy foods such as curly fries                 Are you aware of what you last ate or how much?  Think about the last time you were watching T.V. and sat mindlessly eating.  Sometimes we do this and can’t believe we ate “the whole thing”.  We may not even remember if we even enjoyed the taste of the food.  Often we feel guilty or ill after eating so much.  The term to define this type of behavior is mindless or distracted eating.  Not only can this be dangerous to your health but it is likely to become a habit.  Unless we try to correct this behavior this may become the norm.    

                We make many food decisions every day.  Research shows we make as many as 200 overlooked food decisions each day.  An overlooked decision is one made without being aware we are making them. The decision about what to eat, how much to eat, or whether to even eat is based on habits or what we do most days.  Other things that impact the decisions are seeing or smelling foods and what is available.  The decisions are often influenced by external environmental cues.  Often we operate on auto pilot, not even aware of our moment to moment choices or actions.

                Suggested action steps to improve these eating habits or distracted eating include:

v  Try to minimize distractions when you eat.  Don’t have the T.V., computer, cell or smart phone on, or be reading the newspaper when eating.

v  Eat at the table and be sitting down.

v  Don’t eat while working at your desk or while driving.

v  Sit next to the slowest eater at the table and pace yourself by using them as a benchmark.  Slow down and enjoy every bite of your food.  Make your meal last at least 20 minutes.

v  Use smaller bowls or plates.  People eat up to 60% more when using larger tableware.

v  See what you eat.  Don’t eat out of a bag or package, put it on a plate or bowl.

v  Keep the tempting treats at the back or the cupboard or refrigerator and wrap them in foil.

Making deliberate decisions rather than acting without thinking it through is crucial.  Mindless eating is something most people do at some point, but thinking your choices through and being more mindful can make a huge difference in your health and overall diet.

 Source:  eXtension, Mindful Versus Mindless Eating, January, 5, 2011.

 Author:  Liz Smith, F.C.S. Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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