-By Maggie Harris, LCSW
Losing excess weight can help reduce pain as well as providing other health benefits. Listed below are some tips that can assist you in your efforts to lose weight in a healthy manner. These are behavioral rather than nutritional tips, meant to be used in concert with recommendations from your healthcare provider and/or nutritionist about the kinds and amounts of foods to eat.
- Regular Eating
Regular eating enhances control over food and is an effective strategy for weight management. If you eat regularly, you will have fewer cravings for less healthy food because your body will be getting sustained energy and will not have to try to manipulate your brain into getting a quick fix.
Eat planned meals or snacks every 3 to 4 hours. Don’t skip meals or snacks, and do your best not to eat in between. You may find it easier to avoid eating in between when you realize that your next planned meal/snack time is just an hour or two away. As you begin to eat food more regularly, your desire to overeat diminishes. When overeating decreases, your overall caloric intake is reduced. Regular eating leads to more energy, increased metabolism, and decreased cravings for sugar and other less healthy foods.
If you are currently eating more frequently than every 3-4 hours, take steps to stretch out the time between eating snacks or meals to every 3-4 hours. If you are eating less frequently, work up gradually to eating more frequently every 3-4 hours.
- Environmental Control
Take a look at the foods in your home. Are some of them trigger foods with less nutritive value? If so, it can be very helpful to keep those foods out of your home for the time being to avoid setting yourself up for failure. This does not mean that you can never have that food but rather that you make conscious choices about planning an occasional special treat.
You may say that you keep certain “junk” foods in the house because your kids or spouse want them. If it is for the kids, ask yourself if this is really the quality and kind of food you want them to be eating on a daily basis. If it is for a spouse or roommate, talk to them and ask for their help. Maybe they would be willing to keep this food elsewhere for the time being. Or perhaps you can institute a separate shelf for each of you where you keep “your” food.
Another tip to help you do well is to make sure you are stocked with healthy appealing food. If you are working, take your lunch and snacks with you to work. If you are overly hungry and do not have good food with you, you may be more prone to making less healthy choices.
If there is a particular place you routinely stop when you are driving to get fast food, you may even want to change your route for the time being to help yourself build healthy and successful patterns.
Part two of the series will address the benefits of food logging and how to live through your urge of unhealthy food choices without acting on them.
About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:
Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation offers nonsurgical advanced treatment for painful conditions of the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet. Phone: (615) 872-9966 http://www.sjnmr.com Fax: (615) 872-9967
Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville