All You Can Eat!

In this country food is everywhere and part of almost every activity and social gathering. How do you win the caloric control battle when the enemy is everywhere (and tastes good)? Certainly, it takes persistence – a LOT of persistence – and ‘failure’ is everywhere! It is important to know that whatever goal you set, whatever resolution you set – you will fail. Persistence says that after you fail, you restart! We learn a lot of lessons from failure – and if it doesn’t defeat you – Yes, it actually makes you stronger.

Most of us don’t have a plan for dealing with failure – but we should. How do you get back up on the bicycle, skateboard, diet or treadmill when things don’t go as your goal dictated? It is always a good idea to plan for failure as, in most cases, it isn’t ‘failure’ but simply a setback.


So, how do you manage your life to control something as straightforward as controlling your caloric intake? There are some simple tips that you can incorporate into your life that will allow you better deal with the food barrage that we face every day.

Tips to control calorie intake:

  • Use a smaller plate (or bowl or glass) – Americans have a tendency to fill their plate – then eat it – even after they are full. A smaller spoon also works in the same way. A simple change like that adds up over time. Yes, you could be back for seconds, thirds, etc. – and you might sometimes – but you won’t every time!
  • Don’t put salad dressing on your salad. Always serve the dressing in a container on the side of your plate and with your fork dip it into the dressing before you use it for your salad: you will use less dressing and each bite will have the same amount of dressing.
  • Eat only when you are hungry. We all eat for a lot of reasons: stress, boredom, expectation (who would sit on a couch without something to eat!!!). It sounds easy but rate your hunger (scale of 1 to 10) before you eat – ESPECIALLY before you snack. If your rating is 5 or below you really aren’t hungry and should walk away. Most of us don’t snack because they are hungry.
  • Change some of the things you eat (variety is really a good thing). Add a little more protein (it stays in your stomach longer) and a little less simple carbohydrates.
  • Don’t eat after 8 pm – that’s not magic but you probably don’t need the calories for activity after 8 pm. However, do eat breakfast!
  • Add more fiber (SLOWLY!) to your diet – it fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer.

The best advice is to TRY one or more of these ‘tricks’ – and when you fail – get up and start over.

Denny Porr, Ph.D.
Vice President of Health and Wellness

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