1 All Foods Fit Whether you want to feel better, lose weight, or What do I want? improve your health, changing the way you eat can When you’re hungry, a certain food, flavor or make a huge difference. But face it. Diets are often texture may come to mind. As you listen to your temporary and can be hard to follow in the long run. true hunger signals, you may realize what type of food or taste will satisfy you. This time, make changes that you can live Why is it important to think about what you with – forever! want? Satisfaction is not just physical fullness. Satisfaction also comes from enjoying the food you Remember, all foods can fit eat. Sometimes when you don’t eat the food you into a healthy diet! really want you might overeat other foods instead. There really are no “good” foods or “bad” foods. You may eventually get around to eating what you Sure, some foods are healthier than others but even wanted anyway but feel too guilty to actually enjoy a a less healthy food eaten in moderation can add reasonable portion size. pleasure to your diet — and that is good! If the food you want isn’t very healthy, ask The most important thing is to think about your yourself choices. Here are some things to think about: • “Do I really, really, really, really want (fill in the blank) or is there something healthier that could satisfy me right now?” Am I hungry? When you match That’s the Four Really Test. Whenever you feel like eating, first notice whether the food you choose to what you’re hungry for, you’re actually hungry. Hunger is a physical feeling you’ll experience greater satisfaction and more — for example, you stomach may growl or you enjoyment — with less food. might feel irritable or have trouble concentrating. If you’re not hungry, then it’s likely that your urge to eat came from something you saw (like an advertisement), something you thought (like “I don’t want to waste food”) or something you’re feeling (like stress or boredom). Once you’ve decided that you’re actually hungry, ask yourself a few simple questions to help you decide what to eat. 1. What do I want? 2. What do I need? 3. What do I have? 4. How much do I need?
2 What do I need? What do I have? Food fuels your body. It’s wonderful to enjoy the Plan ahead to have a variety of foods available as food you choose but remember the main purpose of you learn to let hunger guide your choices. eating is to provide your body with the energy and • What kind of food could you keep on hand to eat nutrients it needs to function at its best. when you’re hungry? • What health issues do you need to be aware of • How about packing a lunch and keeping healthy when choosing your food? snacks in the car for you and the kids? • Do you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, • Can you keep the ingredients for quick, healthy or diabetes? meals on hand? • Do you need to lose some weight? • If you are eating out, are there options that are and healthy? both satisfying • How do you feel when you eat too much of certain foods? • What small changes could you make? How much do I need? • Do you need more fruits and vegetables? Your stomach is only about the size of your fist so it only takes about a handful of food to fill it! Serve • Fewer sugary drinks? or buy only enough to satisfy your hunger and • Less saturated fat? remember, there’s no need to clean your plate. Instead of thinking in terms of good and bad, keep The goal is to feel energetic and comfortable after in mind balance, variety and moderation to guide eating so stop eating before you feel full or stuffed. your choices. All foods fit. You’re in charge of your decisions so think about what you eat and choose foods that are both healthy and enjoyable! Balance — Provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment. You don’t need to be perfect every time you eat because you h ave the flexibility to adjust your intake from one meal to the next to achieve overall balance. Variety — Eating the same foods all of the time may not meet all of your nutritional requirements and leads to boredom. Eat a variety of foods from the different food groups and a variety of foods within each group for overall health and enjoyment. Moderation — Think about your overall dietary intake, not just the portion size of one ely to choose less particular item. When you’re listening to your instincts, you’re more lik healthful foods in moderation. Am I Hungry? What To Do When Diets Don’t Work. May M, Galper L and Carr J. 2005 Copyright by Michelle May, MD. Adapted with permission from