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					A Lesson in Eating—the Right Way

      It probably comes to you as naturally as breathing—the art of eating. However,
you might never have been taught to eat well. This is critically important because, unless
you learn to eat well, you may never master the art of dieting. In our society, certain
inappropriate eating habits have become routinely. By attacking these habits, you can
increase the likelihood that you will actually lose weight.

      To begin with, it is important that you learn to eat slowly. At first, this might be
quite a challenge. We have been conditioned to live in a fast food world. We rush meals
in order to have time to run to soccer practice, to a piano recital, or to school and work.
We think that rushing saves us time—but such a routine can easily backfire, leaving us
with unwanted pounds. Studies have shown that at least 10 minutes is required before the
brain receives the message that the stomach is full. This means that you could be eating
long after you are actually satiated. Your meal—whether it’s in the morning, afternoon,
or evening—should last at least ten minutes. Train yourself to lengthen your meal by
engaging in conversation, resting your fork between courses, chewing slowly, and
drinking plenty of water between courses. You should also wait at least ten minutes after
your main meal before deciding if you need dessert. Within that period of time, you may
discover that you weren’t really hungry after all.

       Another trick is to place serving dishes on the counter and leave them there. As a
result, you’ll actually have to get up out of your seat in order to get more food. You may
decide that it’s not worth the bother. Or you may find that you discover that you need no
more food between courses. Also, do not eat directly from an ice cream carton, tortilla
chip bag, or cracker box. Otherwise, you could find yourself easily overeating.

    You should always eat at the table. This prevents you from trying to engage in
multi-tasking, such as surfing the ‘Net, watching television, or flipping through
magazines while you eat. At the table, you’ll be forced to concentrate on how much food
you are putting into your mouth. If you eat anywhere else, you may lose track of how
much food you’re consuming.

     Abandon the idea that you must clean your plate. It is simply not true. Research has
shown that more than half of adults insist on cleaning their plates, even when they are
already full. This means that you are overeating simply out of politeness. Such a habit
only serves to add unwanted pounds. Instead of cleaning your plate, try eating only that
portion of food that makes you feel full. You’ll be healthier and happier that way.

     Do not keep food in plain view during the day. If the cookie jar is open or the
pretzel bag is out on the table, you’ll have a tremendous urge to eat, even if you are not
hungry. After a meal, put your food away in the refrigerator, inside your cupboard, or in
the Lazy Susan. This way, you’ll actually have to do some work to get at food before
you consume it.
      If you happen to overeat, don’t spend a great deal of time sulking. Accept your
mistake and move on. If you’ve veered off course, take corrective action and forget
about it. Otherwise, you could find yourself eating out of frustration, or going off your
diet entirely. It’s better to sabotage a single meal than a lifetime’s worth of meals.

     You may be self-conscious at first as you attempt to change your eating habits.
Realize that your bad habits did not start overnight, so it will take some time to correct
them. While it may seem an arduous task initially, it is well worth the effort. You’ll
quickly find that your new eating habits have helped you to lose unwanted weight.
Granted, such techniques as hiding your food and eating more slowly will not in
themselves cause you to lose weight, but they will help you to curb your overeating over
the long run. And you’ll be a better person for it.

				
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posted:4/7/2010
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