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Me vs. food: 11 ways to level the playing field (and shrink your waist!)

by jmaloni
Mon, Jun 27th 2011 12:20 pm

Health & Fitness and Senior Living

by Dr. Joyce Nash

Here are 11 simple ways to manage the way you think about and respond to food:

•Always shop from a list. Knowing beforehand what you need to buy keeps you on the straight and narrow grocery store aisle, whereas "impulse shopping" will quickly fill your cart with problem foods.

•Don't shop when you are overly hungry or tired. These are the times when your defenses against "junk" will be at their lowest, so try to schedule your shopping after a meal and earlier in the day.

•"Sanitize" your pantry. Yes, it's fine to indulge in your favorite "guilty pleasures" from time to time in moderation, but it's not a good idea to keep your pantry constantly stocked with them. Remove your biggest temptations.

•Make leftovers less prominent. Store them in containers that are not see-through, or even discard them if you think you won't be able to resist until mealtime. Remember, you can waste it or waist it!

•Keep food out of sight so it stays out of your stomach. Put away reminders of food - like the cookie jar or the partially full chip bag - and store problem foods on a top shelf or cabinet.

•Pre-portion your problem foods. If you know a certain food presents a particular temptation, divide it into smaller, reasonable portions before storing it. Then eat only one at a time.

•Harness the power of optical illusions. Serve food on small plates so that it looks like more than it actually is.

•Use common health sense. C'mon, we all know (more or less) what will clog our arteries and what won't. Choose and prepare healthy foods. Avoid frying; broil, bake, or poach instead.

•Slow down! Unless you truly are pressed for time, remember that meals aren't a race. Take your time - your taste buds will thank you!

•Let someone else clear the table and clean up. If post-meal grazing is a big temptation, try to negotiate your household chores so that you are able to avoid this one.

•Brush your teeth before clearing the table. If you're stuck with this chore, make a quick trip to the bathroom and brush your teeth first. You'll be less apt to munch afterward.

Joyce D. Nash, Ph.D., the author of  "Lose Weight, Live Healthy: A Complete Guide to Designing Your Own Weight Loss Program," (www.loseweightlivehealthyguide.com), is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Menlo Park, Calif., specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and anxiety disorder.

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