Losing weight can be a challenge for anyone. As portions at restaurants get bigger and processed food becomes commonplace, the pressure to make unhealthy choices grows. It's especially hard for menopausal women, who are more prone to weight gain even if they don't eat more, since metabolism changes with age.
The great part is that when you develop eating habits to lose weight, you become more health conscious. This type of thinking will help you to choose healthier foods and enjoy doing so.
It is helpful to envision the portion size of different food groups in a meal. Your protein source should be about the size of your palm. Your fruit or veggie should take up half of your plate. Your carbohydrate source should be about a handful or less. If you consume a source of fats, it should be no larger than your fingertip. At home, serve your meals on smaller plates - some quick psychology to make you feel you're eating more.
When it comes to packaged food, take the recommended serving, put it in a separate bowl, and tuck the package away and out of sight to help evade temptation. When you go out to eat at restaurants that serve overly large portions, a good tip is to request a to-go container before you begin eating, and wrap up half of your dish. This will take away the temptation to finish, and you'll have a yummy meal for later. It's also a good idea to split a meal with your friend when you go out.
One of the largest contributors to weight gain is high sugar intake. All the sugary desserts and drinks readily available may be tempting, but having one of your favorite fruits on hand can help counter this. Choosing fruit over empty-calorie desserts has a positive impact on eating habits and helps when it comes to losing weight.
Try a Vegetarian Diet
For some, a plant-based diet may be just what they were looking for to lose weight. A plant-based diet is free of all meat products. Red meats and even certain dairy products tend to have a much higher fat than plant foods, which could hinder weight loss. In addition, fast food and chain restaurants have very few plant-based options, so you will have a secondary motive to turn down the burger and opt for salads. This will help you to choose whole grain rice, beans, and mixed vegetables when eating out. You do not even have to go completely meat free. Try doing a meatless Monday or something similar, and see how that goes.
Choose Whole Grains
This is one of the easiest eating habits to lose weight. Whole grains are packed with fiber, which encourages smooth digestion and promotes weight loss. Foods like white breads, pastas, and pastries lose many of their original nutrients through the refining process. This creates a product that is full of starch and absent of vitamins and fiber. Choose whole options like quinoa, brown rice, whole grain bread, oats, barley, or buckwheat.
Now that you know more about good eating habits, it is just a matter of putting them into practice. It will likely be difficult at first to pack away half of your delicious whole-grain pasta dish or replace your typical desserts with coconut, but it won't be long until you feel the benefits. Not only will these eating habits make you feel better and think better, but they will help you lose weight, too.
For further information on how to handle weight gain during menopause click here.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage your Weight. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/portion_size.html
- Harvard School of Public Health. (2014). Health Gains from Whole Grains. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/health-gains-from-whole-grains/
- Harvard School of Public Health. (n.d.). Healthy Weight. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Portion size: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000337.htm
- Sandhya, V.G. & Rajamohan, T. (2006). Beneficial effects of coconut water feeding on lipid metabolism in cholesterol-fed rats. Journal of medicinal food, 9(3), 400-407. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17004906
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Why is it Important to Eat Fruit? Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-why.html