Annual Manual » Family

Plate Management

Simple Steps Add Up

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By now, you have heard of many diet plans and probably tried a few. There is bad news and good news. The bad news first: According to the best research, no one diet is superior to any other, and most people who try them do not succeed.

The good news is that they all work if... one can stay consistent, and that is a big "if."

So what is the way to eat healthy? The answer is simple: Make very small steps to develop habits that will last a lifetime.

A few suggestions for achieving success:

Learn to eat more slowly. The mechanism by which the stomach tells the brain "I'm full!" is slow, so fast eaters go from being starved to being stuffed.

Put the fork, the spoon and the sandwich down between bites.

Eat your meal on a salad plate. If you are a visual eater, if you grew up in the "Clean Your Plate Club," then you eat what is in front of you, so reduce the amount your eyes are feasting on. In restaurants, split a meal with someone or ask the waiter to box half the meal before it is brought to your table. Even if you have made poor food choices, you are limiting the damage.

Space your eating out during the day. The body can more efficiently digest and burn calories if you are not making dinner your biggest meal, and as a bonus you will sleep better.

Developing healthy eating habits is the best path and ultimately the easiest path to managing weight.

— ROBERT MAURER

Robert Maurer is a Spokane psychologist, author of several books, including One Small Step Can Change Your Life and Mastering Fear, and the founder of the Science of Excellence consulting firm.

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