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How to Manage Your Weight for a Lifetime

01.30.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Washington Redskins Team Dietitian

"Awareness of the Moment is when Change Can Begin" 
                                                 - Author Unknown

I hope you were inspired to keep a food log last week and have found it to be helpful.  From my experience as a dietitian, people either love keeping a food log or they hate it.  I have discovered the “haters” eventually learn to love it once they experience the benefits of this extremely powerful weight-management tool. 

Once you have at least a week’s worth of data, you are ready to move onto the next step for Managing Your Weight for a Lifetime. 

Weight Management is about learning to manage your body’s energy equation.

To lose weight your intake of energy (measured in calories) must be less than your output of energy (“burning of calories”).

First step is to identify unconscious intake of calories. 

Unconscious or Mindless Eating involves eating “just because”:

- You are bored
- You are stressed
- You are procrastinating
- You are tired
- You are watching a movie or television
- You are working on the computer
- You are studying
- Because it's there (“opportunistic eating”)
- Everyone else is eating
- It’s a habit

Anytime you eat when you are not physically hungry you are overeating (exception is breakfast**).  If you are not hungry your body is not low on fuel.  If you give your body fuel (calories) anyway your body must store the calories. The extra calories get stored in your fat cells.  That is what body fat is, an energy storage closet.

This week’s homework is to identify unconscious eating (calories your body does not need) by continuing to keep a food record and add a hunger/full rating at each eating occurrence.  Click here to learn how to include a hunger/full rating on your food log. 

Once you have identified your unconscious eating, replace the act of eating with a healthier activity.  Make a list of alternative activities for when you are bored, stressed, tired, etc. 

It is essential to physically write the list out because in the midst of being stressed it is very difficult to think of alternatives other than eating. 

I would love to hear from WOW members what alternative activities you plan to try. Please share your ideas in the comment section below. 

Make it a Healthy Week,

Jane

 ** Many people are not hungry for breakfast. This is usually due to chronic breakfast-skipping which conditions the body to maintain digestive enzymes at a low level and/or stomach feels full from late night eating.  The body can be reconditioned to tolerate food.  We will learn more about the importance of breakfast in managing weight in a future blog. 

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