5 habits to help you control your calorie intake

5 simple ways to control your caloric intake 

I’m down here vacationing in Mississippi and the idea for this blog occurred to me as I jogged through the streets of Starkville filled with fast food eateries and the like. Sonic, Christy’s Hamburger, Bojangles are common sites along  Mississippi 12. For the average individual looking to make good decisions navigating through theses streets can be stressful.  Here’s a suggestion: find the nearest Piggly Wiggly grocery store, shop for the essentials and follow these next 5 habits.

Prepare less 

Yes. This means when cooking your delicious quinoa, spinach and ground turkey consider preparing a meal for just one person and just one day.  Despite the rich nutrients offered in this meal, too much of it can ruin your goals of improved body composition and fat loss.  Preparing less also eliminates the chance of second helpings which can quickly turn into third and fourth helpings when the meals are especially tasty.

Smaller plates

The most common setback I see in many of my athletes/clients is large infrequent meals throughout the day. It is perhaps one of the most destructive habits to your metabolic function.  And It also happens to be one of the most difficult habits to kick. Outside of activity and nutrients healthy function is reliant on frequent ( about 5 -7) consumption of meals of moderate sized (depending on your needs and goals).  An easy way of increasing your meal frequency and controlling your intake is plate size.  If your goals are fat loss consider scaling down on your plate size.  Simply prepare your meal and divide the portions to fit on two smaller plates or containers. A meal for now and the other meal for later ( about 2-3 hours later).

Buy less and keep it simple

Healthy practices generally start outside the home.  Poor choices made in the home are usually the result of inappropriate choices made at the grocery aisle.  When your goal is to control caloric intake then eating less (in addition to smarter choices) is generally considered to be the most appropriate behavior.  How do you eat less? Well the first step may be to eliminate the “excess” at home and keep your shopping relegated to the necessary food items. Having less options at home can result in less temptation to go overboard during meals.  Here are some quick tips to keep yourself to the necessities instead of the excess.

  • Consider shopping for the week instead of shopping for the month to help curb the excess.
  • Keep yourself on a budget. (example: I will not spend more than 75$ this week on my nutrient filled, calorie controlled groceries).
  •  When idling around in the grocery aisle ask yourself the following questions before you put it in your cart
  1. Is it a lean source of protein?
  2. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable?
  3. Is it  considered to be high in omega 3 fat?
  4. Is it relatively high in fiber?
  5. Is it low in sugar content?
  6. Does it have less than three or four items in the ingredients list?
  7. Is it low in calories per serving size?

Drink water

Do me a favor open your refrigerator door and ask yourself how many of your beverage options would you consider to be calorie less, nutrient rich and additive free?   Hey and just because it has some fruit in the ingredients list doesn’t make it an acceptable or nutritious beverage.  When it comes to beverages your best bet is make it yourself. This way you get to control the sugar content of your meals.  Don’t be fooled by the hype. Beverage companies do a great job of researching trends and adding ingredients to suit your palette without much concern for your body composition goals or health.  Your best bet is to create your own beverages using one simple rule: add minimal to no sugar ( this includes additives such as aspartame and sucralose). Keep it simple.

Best Bet’s

  1. Water with Lemon
  2. Water with Green Tea
  3. Homemade Orange Juice

Eat slower and prepare your meals to go

Think nibble instead of gulp.  Consider the quality of food rather than the quantity.  It may be wise to engage in other activities that may provide an appropriate cadency of fork to plate to your mouth. Eating slower will enable hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK) and leptin to effectively send signals to your brain to indicate you are full. Quick consumption of food items may result in a lag  in your body’s chemical messaging system allowing you to consume more calories than you need to feel full. However, in some cases this eating habit may not be enough to curb your hunger pangs.  In these situations it’s best to prepare your meals to go and get out of the kitchen! For those of you who are accustomed to second helpings this might be the best solution to controlling your caloric intake. Grab your meal and head out for a long walk away from the kitchen or cafeteria.

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