The mind reacts negatively to any hint of food restriction. That's why most diets do not work. This is not a surprise for those of you who constantly use dieting as a way to keep within the range of accepted fat.
Well, you can't be successful in achieving and maintaining weight loss with only carrots and celery sticks on your plate. You need more good-quality calories if you intend to lose weight and keep it off.
Why is it so hard to adjust your eating habits to a lower amount of nutritious food? Two key words: "amount" and "nutritious."
Your family could also use a bit of nutritional education. Start with any meal that you regularly fix for dinner and examine it for calorie count and nutritional value. Count the total calories in the whole meal then really look at its nutritional values.
It's an easy bet that your menu will be slim on vegetables and fresh fruits and heavy on high-calorie dishes, including dessert. When was the last time you put fresh fruit on your dinner table? How about whole strawberries or melon slices on your plate? Fruit can make a nutritious dinner more enjoyable. Your kids will even begin enjoying fruit if you include it often.
When it comes to vegetables, I've found that anything with cheese, including broccoli, will be eaten. Raw vegetables with low-calorie dips go over big with kids, too. Small portions of one or two baby carrots combined with one or two asparagus tips and a dip can tempt even the most reluctant appetite. It helps to fill dinner plates at the stove and arrange foods to complement.
Back to the dieting problem: If you have succeeded in adding vegetables and fruits to your family meals and have someone who needs a little less weight, give them smaller portions. Add ice water to your table. It takes a little more time, but none of us take in enough water, especially in the evening. And it helps fill in the empty hunger spots.
Give the one who is trying to lose weight several types of fruit to carry throughout the day. Just knowing you don't have to starve will relieve the tension of dieting.
Use lots of fruits and vegetables, and remove the bread and butter from the table. If you do serve it, use whole or cracked wheat bread and put it on the individual's plate.
Don't make dessert a habit. Fruit is a much better reward for children for a meal that has been finished. And, lastly, it isn't the occasional overindulgence that puts on the extra fat. It is what you eat on a daily basis that costs. One piece of apple pie isn't bad; it's the daily slice that puts on the weight.
Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center and Healthsmart.