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New Year - New Year Resolution?

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Make 2022 the year to achieve a healthier you.

Is this the holiday period that you have decided to consider the impact of feasting and frivolity on your weight, health, and wellbeing? Perhaps you have made a New Year’s Resolution that 2022 will be your healthiest, fittest, and best year yet? Making a few small, simple decisions NOW could have a big impact on how you feel going into 2022. If this rings true for you, read on.

Why do we gain weight?

Weight gain is caused when we eat more energy (also known as calories or kilojoules) than we burn up by our metabolism and the activity and exercise we do. So, it should be simple to change by eating less and exercising more…but experience tells us differently. Below we have gathered some simple, practical tips for you to try as you move towards a more comfortable or healthy weight. These are changes other women tell us have worked for them.

What are the benefits of achieving a healthier weight?

Evidence shows that maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying a nutritious diet can reduce the risk of diet-related conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, in addition to reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Achieving a healthy weight is not always as simple as just knowing WHAT types of foods to eat. Some common pit falls that people come across when trying to lose weight include battling the ever-growing portion sizes of common foods, difficulty understanding the nutrition labels of packaged foods and curbing habits of ‘non-hungry eating’.

What is “Portion Distortion”?

Average portion sizes have grown over the past 20 years. What once would have been considered enough to feed two or even three people is now considered a meal for one. Many snacks now also contain as many kilojoules as a meal! Ideally, a snack should contain 400kJ and a meal 1200-2100kJ.

How have portions changed?

  • Flavoured milk was sold in 300ml cartons and contained about 920kJ. Today you can buy 500-600ml bottles which contain about 1800kJ. A large milk would be considered a lunch with regards to how much energy it provides.

  • A standard soft drink used to be 390ml and 700kJ. Today a standard soft drink bottle is 600ml and 1100kJ! This is almost double what we used to be able to buy.

  • The recommended size for a serving of meat or chicken is 65 – 100g (E.g., ½ cup of mince, 2 small chops, 2 slices roast meat, or the size of a deck of cards). Think about the serving sizes of a steak at your local pub, most are a minimum of 200g with some as large as 500g!

How can I beat portion distortion?

  • Eat from smaller plates or bowls. Studies have shown that you consume fewer calories when you use a smaller plate.

  • Try not to eat straight from the packet. Pre-portion your foods instead. E.g., pour a handful of chips from a family size pack of chips into a bowl, or take one TimTam from the packet and then put the packet away for another time.

  • Choose the smallest container, plate or cup when eating out.

  • Do not be tempted by “value” meals or “supersized” portions.

'Non-hungry eating'

Many of us eat for the sake of eating, rather than because we are physically hungry. When we do this, we are consuming food and nutrients that we do not really need. Sometimes we eat because we are bored, sad, or angry, because the clock tells us it is mealtime, or even because we are confusing hunger with thirst. This eating on automatic pilot, also known as ‘non-hungry eating’, can cause us to consume excess calories without even realising. By learning to recognise non-hungry eating we can stop eating what our body does not really need (this is different from cutting out healthful foods we eat to nourish our bodies). To curb these habits and eating routines, it is important that we are aware and mindful of what, when, how and why we eat to help regain familiarity with the feeling of hunger.

Tips to reduce ‘non-hungry’ eating

  • Eat foods without distraction. Avoid eating in the car, in front of the computer or television or at the movies. If you have external distractions whilst you eat it will be difficult to eat mindfully.

  • Eat your food off a plate (rather than a container from the fridge or cupboard, or from a wrapper or package). This will help you to look at your food and see exactly what you are eating.

  • Use a questioning approach to work out whether you are doing ‘non-hungry eating’ and to help you get better at not eating things you do not really feel like. You could ask yourself: Am I really hungry? Do I feel like it now? Am I enjoying the food? Could I stop eating now? Do I WANT the food or NEED the food?

We all do some non-hungry eating and that is ok, but when food controls you rather than the other way around it is time to take some steps to regain the sense of intuitive eating that we all have as children.

Make one of your resolutions in the New Year to achieve your most comfortable weight and feel better in yourself. An Accredited Practising Dietitian can tailor strategies to assist you in achieving your desired weight. To make an appointment with our Lifestyle Metabolic dietitian - Annika Buwalda email

Or to discuss your weight-associated health concerns with our metabolic physician –

Dr Terri-Lynne South – currently consulting at Neighbourhood Medical @ Bardon. Brisbane.

Call (07) 3519 6963.

#NHE #NonHungryEating #PortionDistortion #IntuitiveEating #HealthyResolutions

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