On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

Food Alert: Gain Consciousness, Lose Weight

Watching the extra snacks we eat subconsciously can really help turn our diet plan into a healthy lifestyle.

Food Alert: Gain Consciousness, Lose Weight

Chew on this: If you ate 100 fewer calories each day, you could lose up to 10 pounds a year. You could easily eat 100 calories less a day if you paid attention to portions and mindless snacking. Most of us are reasonably aware of what we eat. What we’re not aware of is how much we eat or why we eat.

People strive to make healthier choices and then over eat the healthy item they chose. Opting for fruit instead of potato chips is great. But if you eat 10 strawberries instead of 5, you’re still consuming too much sugar and too many calories in one sitting. Just because it’s the healthy choice doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about portion size.

While restaurant portions and packaged portions are growing, so are our waistlines. If you see a giant plate of pasta while dining out enough times, you’ll start to assume that’s a reasonable portion. This assumption isn’t good news considering most restaurants serve dishes of spaghetti with two entire servings on one plate.

Another problem Americans face is the tendency to eat something just because it’s there. In studies, workers who kept candy visible on their desks were much more likely to mindlessly nosh all day long than those who kept their candy in drawers or a kitchen.

Eating the right portions and snacking when you’re hungry (not just when you’re bored) are things you can control. When it comes to your diet, you want to be in control. Just because there is a McDonalds directly across the street from work doesn’t mean you should eat there every day. The location of the McDonald's isn’t something you can control—but whether you go there or not certainly is.

You can control whether the dish of candy sits on your desk or in a drawer. And whether you believe it or not, you can control portion size. Split a dish at the restaurant or ask for half of it to be boxed up before you even eat. You’ll consume less because there is less to consume. That’s just the way our brains and our appetites work.

BistroMD is a gourmet diet delivery program created by Dr. Caroline Cederquist to help you lose weight and keep it off.