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Guest Post: Food Rules for the Real World

Posted Jul 28 2011 9:44am

Hello Wholesome RD readers! As you have probably figured out by now, Erin is off on vacation this week – and hopefully having a fabulous time. So for today, you are stuck with me, Tanya.

Like Erin, I am also a Registered Dietitian and a running enthusiast. I am very new to the blogging world, having started my own blog Dine, Dash & Deadlift a little over a month ago.

On my blog I provide fast recipe ideas, workout tips, and information on the latest nutrition and exercise based research. On the first and third Thursday of each month you can also find me writing a column called “Nutrition Nerd” for the iRunnerBlog . Please check them out and let me know what you think!

Food Rules for the Real World

Growing up I was very active and athletic; so much so that I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and in large amounts without adding a single pound. When I went off to college, there was no fear that I would gain the dreaded “Freshmen 15” because I was playing soccer at an NCAA Division I school. And so my life of not worrying about the amounts I ate continued. I could drink calorie-laden beverages.

chow down on burgers

and bake desserts

without gaining weight.

Unfortunately, college and my days as an athlete came to an end. While I have not stopped working out and now enjoy running for exercise, it is just not as intense as my work outs had been for the past 12 years of my life. Furthermore, the “Real World” (aka – not college) is much more sedentary and does not lend itself to several hours of exercise or impromptu games of flag football with friends in the middle of the afternoon (bummer, huh?) Therefore, I have since had to learn how to control my food intake so that I do not gain weight. Here are some guidelines I have incorporated in to my life, since healthy foods still have calories!

1.) Pack Lunch (and possibly dinner too)

Brown bagging it to the office saves money and calories. It is better to have control over your meals rather than be eating food from the restaurants, fast food places or worse yet, vending machines nearby. Especially, since a study just released indicates that the calorie amount listed on restaurant’s nutritional information is usually incorrect and the actual meals contain more than reported!

2.) Use Your Watch

This may sound odd but let me explain. I am prone to snacking continuously throughout the day if I have food around even if I am not hungry. Therefore after I eat breakfast I start the timer on my watch. Then I do not allow myself to eat again for at least 4 hours, unless for some reason I am hungry before that (which usually I am not). This allows me to control my urge to “just have a quick snack” or “just a taste” of some treats co-workers have brought in.

3.) Meat Free Meals

I am vegetarian, but before I stopped eating animal products all together, I first began having at least 2 meat free food days each week. This helps to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake, and in some cases even caloric intake as well.

4.) Brush and Floss Your Teeth 

Following dinner I try to brush and floss my teeth as soon as possible. This deters me from going back for more or from late night mindless snacking, since  don’t want to go through the hassle of flossing again!

5.) Calorie Free Beverages 

For the most part the only thing I drink is water. Very rarely will I have anything else – especially something containing calories. Therefore I can spend my calories on food which I enjoy more than calorically dense beverages. Research has shown that we generally do not compensate for calories that we drink by decreasing food intake. So reduction or elimination of calorie-containing drinks can help prevent unwanted weight gain.

Have you had to change your eating habits since entering different stages of your life?

What adjustments have you made?

Are there any tips or tricks you use to monitor your food intake so you do not over consume?


Thanks to Tanya for this great post with lots of helpful tips! Small changes add up to a big difference so try incorporating one of her tips into your life! Make sure to check out her blog for more!

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