Healthy Eating and Overeating
At Green Mountain at Fox Run, sometimes it seems like we’re all about being contrary to popular opinion.
But that’s because popular opinion is so often off track in terms of how to reach and maintain your healthy weight. So read the following list with that thought in mind.
We think these typical “healthy” eating tips, garnered from the media and elsewhere, can actually be a set-up for overeating. (Actually we’d also argue whether some of them are really healthy.)
1. Only Eat Fresh Foods
Fresh foods are wonderful. The taste is generally, well, fresher, and they may be more nutritious at times. But emphasis on the “at times”. If that fresh food has sat around for a while, its frozen counterpart might be a better choice from a nutrition perspective.
But we’re really not talking about nutrition here. How this notion can lead to overeating has to do with convenience.
If we think we “should” only eat fresh, then when we can’t because of time or energy or lack of access, there’s no in-between. It’s either fresh or fast food. Or fresh or the bag of chips. Or fresh or…you get the picture.
SOLUTION: Expand your healthy eating repertoire to include frozen and even canned foods
Especially canned beans. They can form the basis for a healthy meal made in minutes.
My fav: Refried beans on tortilla topped with shredded cheese (that I keep in my freezer so it lasts) and sour cream (if it hasn’t molded in the fridge) with onions, lettuce, tomato and salsa. It’s a mix of fresh, canned and frozen! And oh so tasty!!
2. Bring Your Own Food To A Party
We’ve all heard this one. It’s often suggested as a way to stop us from eating all the “bad” food at the party. Trouble is, we like that food! And if we go in with the idea that we shouldn’t eat it, then all-or-nothing thinking kicks in when we (inevitably) do.
SOLUTION: Go to the party well-fed.
That means not saving calories at previous meals. Then mindfully eat what you want, enjoying it as you do. That way, you can better discover what you don’t enjoy…and not eat it. If you need a little help, the old advice to not stand next to the chips and dip can help…but that works best if you believe you can have it if you want it.
3. If It’s Healthy, It’s Free
You can eat all you want of “healthy” foods, right? So how do you define healthy eating?
Usually, when used in the context of this idea, it means low calorie. What happens when we overeat (yes, overeat) on low-calorie foods, we can end up feeling stuffed but still not well-fed.
That can distort our idea of how much food it takes for us to feel satisfied if we do it often enough.
SOLUTION: Eat well-balanced meals in response to your hunger and appetite cues.
Honor those cues – they’re your best guide for what, when and how much to eat for well-being.
4. Don’t Eat After Dinner
Another one we’ve all heard a lot. So what happens if you’re hungry? Go to bed with your stomach growling? And wake up in the middle of the night and raid the refrigerator?
The only problem with eating late at night is if it interferes with your sleep. It will not cause you to gain weight if you are eating in response to physical hunger.
SOLUTION: Eat enough of well-balanced meals during the day and at dinner, too.
You may still want a snack in the evening but it usually doesn’t need to be a whole meal or more.
5. Avoid Conventionally Grown Fruits And Vegetables
We’re all for organic but there are times when it’s just not available. If you skip the veggies because they’re not organic, you may find yourself eating more of richer foods than you might have. Do that often enough and you, well, you know.
SOLUTION: Adopt an in-between stance on organic.
Eat organic as much as is realistic for you. But know that your body is a powerful detoxing machine so unless you’re ill, it can probably detox conventionally-grown produce.
6. Avoid Breads, Rice, Etc., At Restaurants If Not Whole Grain
This is like the fruit and veggie point. If you cut these carbohydrate-rich foods in a try for the ultimate in nutrition, you may find yourself hungry and end up eating more of other foods. Very often, those end up being sweets; cutting carbs often leads to sweet cravings.
SOLUTION: Go whole-grain when you can but make your first priority a balanced meal.
I can come up with more but this will get you started. Bottom line: Healthy eating can wear a number of different faces so when you hear specific advice, think whether it really works for you. If it doesn’t, it’s likely not healthy.