Take clear steps toward weight control

EATING WELL

January 12, 1993|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

This year, make some weight-control resolutions you can keep.

Behavior experts tell us we'll be more successful if we're positive and specific. Instead of vague promises like "I will lose weight," set clear steps for behavior changes that will bring you to your goal.

Below are three ideas for shaping an "eater-friendly" environment to help you keep your weight-loss resolutions.

* Resolve to be informed.

Knowledge is power. Each time you visit a different fast-food place, ask for its nutrition information. Some have it on hand; others require that you write or call. And get yourself a brand-name fat and calorie-counter book.

This small time investment will reward you with knowledge and enable you to make better choices all year long.

For a short cut, have each person in your group get information from one or two shops.

* Resolve to clean house.

"Out of sight, out of mind" is good practice. Many a determined dieter has been sabotaged by food that just happens to be there, especially after the holidays. Throw it all away.

People cringe at this suggestion, unable to bear the thought of wasting food. But think about it. The stuff is stale now, yet calories and fat remain the same. Who benefits from eating the holiday remains?

And don't even think about taking it to the office. Your co-workers are suffering from the same overload. It's not fair to clear your conscience by creating problems for someone else.

Eating too much creates health problems that fuel our escalating health-care costs and produce human misery. That's real waste.

But while you're thinking about it, take out your new calendar and turn to next December. Make a note to make and give less food next year and to encourage folks who give to you to do the same. That will help put an end to waste.

* Resolve to snack healthfully.

Office workers, nurses and teachers all complain that "every day's a holiday" when it comes to food in the workplace. Get together with your co-workers and decide on one "sweet treat day" a month. Celebrate everyone's birthday, anniversary or bar mitzvah at once.

Then, if you feel you must have food around, start a Healthy Snack Club. Share the responsibility for providing bagels, vegetables with low-fat dip, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese and crackers, or fat-free tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip.

Keep costs down by providing just enough food for each person to have one portion, rather than a pig-out.

If your group won't cooperate, resolve to pack your own healthful snacks each day, so you won't fall prey to temptation.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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