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Looking Fine in 2009
Neva Cochran, MS, RD, LD
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 • Posted January 14, 2009

“3, 2, 1” we counted down at midnight on New Year’s Eve. After all the holiday parties and treats it is no surprise that one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. If you are one of the many who have chosen to make weight loss your New Year’s priority read on for “1, 2, 3” ways to jumpstart healthy eating to help you slim down.

The most important thing to remember is to start slow and make small changes. Don’t try to overhaul your entire diet all at once. Remember you didn’t put on the weight overnight and it takes time to take it off.

One of the easiest goals to start with is “Don’t Skip Breakfast.” Surely you have heard it before but breakfast is an important meal. Eating breakfast in the morning gives your metabolism a boost. People who skip breakfast tend to overeat the rest of the day.

The best breakfasts include protein and fiber, which both help you feel fuller longer and less likely to reach for a high calorie mid-morning snack. So consider these healthy options: an egg, an orange and a slice of whole wheat toast; oatmeal made with low fat or nonfat milk instead of water and sprinkled with raisins and pecans; or a whole grain English muffin topped with peanut butter, banana slices and raisins.

Goal number two could be “Keep Portions Under Control.” Larger portions are one of the causes of expanding waistlines. Bigger is hardly ever better when it comes to food. While we don’t expect you to measure food for the rest of your life, it can be helpful to pull out the measuring cups and spoons and measure your portions for a couple of weeks so you can see how just much food you should be eating.

Restaurant servings are at least twice as large as a standard recommended portion. To prevent the wrath of the waistline when eating out, try this trick: box up half your meal before you begin to eat so you’re not tempted to overeat. Or share a meal with a friend or spouse to save money and extra calories. Here’s a handy chart to help you gauge appropriate portions using common household items.

Food Standard Serving Looks like

Cooked pasta, rice or cereal 1/2 cup 1/2 a baseball

Dry cereal 3/4 – 1 cup baseball

Meat, cooked 2 to 3 ounces a deck of cards

Milk and yogurt 1 cup a fist or a yogurt container

Cheese 1 1/2 ounces four dice

Leafy raw vegetables 1 cup a baseball

Cooked vegetables 1/2 cup 1/2 a baseball

Chopped or canned fruit 1/2 cup 1/2 a baseball

A worthy goal #3: “Read the Label.” Checking food labels can also help you put proper portions on your plate. Note the serving size on the label and realize that if the bag contains two servings and you eat the whole bag you are eating double the calories and fat listed.

Finally, remember to take it slow. This is not a “diet” but a new lifestyle. Making changes slowly will more than likely lead to success. Make 2009 the last time that your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. You can do it!

Bobbi Schneider is a Texas Woman’s University dietetic intern who completed a community nutrition rotation with Neva Cochran in December.

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