Food, it's everywhere! Whenever families or friends gather for visits or celebrations, food is involved. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, even funeral receptions involve food and the fancier, more tempting it is, the better! As food becomes more and more enmeshed in our lifestyles, the number of North Americans who are overweight or obese continues to climb.
There are strategies to eliminate, delay or lessen the intensity of the temptation to overeat. Take a minute to scan the following suggestions. If you are not in immediate need of them, you probably know someone who is.
* Eat a nourishing breakfast. It will kick-start your metabolism and keep you from being ravenously hungry by lunch time. Oatmeal is advised, not instant, but steel cut or rolled oats.
* Drink plenty of water. It's a natural appetite suppressant and it flushes toxins and sodium from the body. If you don't like plain water, try seltzer water. Either may be flavored with a slice of lemon.
* Remove temptation. Give away all the junk food and keep only healthy fare. Plan meals for the week. Make a list for the grocery store and stick to it. Never shop when hungry.
* Avoid the "white devils", white sugar, white flour and salt.
* Pack a daily munchy bag for your fridge or purse. Vary the contents: peeled carrots, broccoli, cauliflower florets, green, red or yellow sweet pepper strips, green or yellow beans, etc. You need never be hungry and raw fruit and vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins and fiber.
* Avoid boredom. Take up a new hobby, keep yourself in reading material, socialize more. Become involved in a sport, a club or volunteer work. Being with other people will decrease loneliness and alleviate negative emotions which can lead to binge eating.
* Arrange to meet friends at places where there will be no food handy: the library, the park, a gym, the Y.W.C.A. or an art gallery.
* Sometimes you'll want to eat out. Scout the neighborhood beforehand for restaurants that offer salads or other healthy fare at reasonable prices. Find the web site and plan a meal composed of low-cal menu items so you can order quickly and sensibly when the time comes.
* Break the bad habits you've acquired over time. A meal is a still a meal without dessert. Coffee need not be accompanied by a doughnut. Watching TV is a good time to catch up on sewing chores instead of snacking.
*If you're really want a snack, try one of these super fat-blasting weight-loss aids. They will fill you up, not out:
SOUP. The combination of warm liquids and solids is satisfying and relaxing.
GREEN TEA. It boosts metabolism and is reported to have anti-cancer properties and to prevent heart disease. It is quite fashionable among diet-conscious celebrities.
LOW-FAT YOGURT. It is smoothly satisfying and a good source of both calcium and protein. In summer, it can be frozen and eaten like ice cream.
LEAN TURKEY. It is pure protein which boosts metabolism so the body burns fat and builds muscle.
FROZEN GRAPES. They are crunchy, cooling, a good source of vitamins and fiber.
GRAPEFRUIT. Its unique properties reduces insulin levels, which promotes weight loss. (If you're on medication, check with your doctor. Grapefruit interacts badly with some drugs.)
APPLES and PEARS. These fruits are low-calorie and high-fiber choices. They will fill you up and keep you satisfied longer.
Any action, repeated consistently, will eventually become a habit. When you use these strategies over a period of time, they become automatic. When that happens you will have the weight-loss battle conquered for good.
When the family next gathers for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or another celebration, you'll be able to binge a little because you'll know you can revert to your healthy regimen the next day. However, you may find that you don't have time to over-indulge. You'll be too busy explaining to everyone how you got the smashing new figure.