Diet Detective: Diet and Nutrition Questions Answered

Take Control of Overeating, Build Your Support System, Know What Your BMI Means

Q: Help! I can't control myself when I start eating. How can I limit my portions?

A: You're not alone. Thousands, if not millions, of people struggle with nutrition questions surrounding portion control. There are a variety of strategies you can use to help control your portions.

  • Eat slowly—give yourself time to tune into your body's hunger and satiety. It takes 20 minutes to half an hour for your brain to receive the message that your stomach is full, so take your time.
  • Consider why you still want to eat, even when you're no longer hungry. Are you bored?
  • Find something to keep you busy when you want to eat, but aren't hungry. If you're upset, call a friend and vent. If you're stressed or anxious, listen to music or go for a brisk walk.

More: Use Your Hands to Control Portion Sizes

A sure-fire fix for overeating is having smaller portions, but that's easier said than done. Keep your portions small by following these tips:

  • Use a smaller plate. As simple as this sounds, it works. Studies have shown that people eat more when there's more on their plate, regardless of how hungry they feel.
  • Never eat directly from a container, bag or box. This makes it hard to keep track of how much you're eating. Instead, serve yourself one portion on a plate or in a bowl, put away the rest, and sit down to eat.
  • Keep your measuring cup or spoon handy. Measure, rice, tuna salad, potato chips, strawberries—everything.

Q: Now that I've made the commitment to getting healthy, I feel so isolated. What can I do to combat the loneliness?

A: Studies show that people with a solid support system backing them up are more successful at achieving their weight-loss goals.

Here's how you can get the support you need from those around you:

  • Find a support group. Whether it's at your workplace, the library or your gym, check community newsletters, search online, and ask your health care professionals (trainers, doctors and physical therapists) for recommendations. You can also start a group of your own.
  • Use social media. Search "Facebook" or "Twitter" and "weight loss support groups" for a list of options. For example, when you enter "Facebook, weight loss support groups" into Google, Girlfriends Weight Loss Support Group shows up.
  • Turn to family and friends. Your immediate circle of relatives and friends has tremendous power when it comes to your success. If you feel that you aren't getting the support you need, explain how critical their support is to you and that this journey will allow you to spend many more years with them. Share the following list of dos and don'ts to help them help you:

More: How to Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

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