Eat as Healthily as Possible
Making healthy food choices is not a priority for most people. These days, most people are eating on the run, skipping meals, and grabbing whatever is convenient. When they finally do sit down for a meal, the tendency is to overeat. But for anyone with a chronic health condition, including thyroid disease, eating well should be a priority.
Any food, eaten in moderation, can have a place in your diet, even the occasional birthday cake, candy bar, and morning doughnut. But the key to eating well is to make sure the bulk of your diet is made up of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. For more details on smart food choices, see Chapter 19.
Practice Mindful Eating
These days, most people rarely sit down for a leisurely meal. We eat on the run, in front of a television, at a fast-food restaurant, in the car, in bed for a midnight snack — always while doing something else. Because eating is not our primary activity, we eat unconsciously and do not focus our attention on our food.
Our bodies are equipped with genes that prevent weight loss, rather than weight gain. This evolutionary development grew out of times when our early ancestors had to survive periods of famine, which they endured by storing fat during times of plenty. This is known as the “thrifty gene” hypothesis.
In contrast, most Europeans eat more fat and calorie-laden foods than their American counterparts. And yet there is much less obesity in Europe. One reason is that Europeans eat smaller portions. Another reason is that Europeans take the time to enjoy their meal, allowing ample time for satiety signals to work. They also drive less and do more walking and bicycling.
The act of focusing and eating slowly is called “mindful” eating. Our problem is not that we think about food too much, but rather we don't give enough thought to the food we are eating. Being more mindful or conscious of the food you eat will help you maintain your weight. Combined with exercise and good food choices, mindful eating can help spur weight loss. The following guidelines will show you how:
Savor your food. Enjoy each bite. Look forward to your meals.
Eat three meals a day. If you want to skip a meal, skip dinner, but do not make up for it with late-night snacks.
Restrict meals to your kitchen, dining room, or lunch-room table.
Don't do anything else when eating, except talking to your family and friends. Don't read, work on the computer, talk on the phone, or watch TV.
Eat slowly, chew slowly, and take small bites. Put down your utensils between bites.
Put a small portion on your plate and remove the serving platter/ cooking dish back to the kitchen. Never eat directly from the common pot (it is also unsanitary).
Don't leave tempting food in front of you. This is especially important at restaurants, where there is usually bread on the table. Ask for the bread to be removed.
Sip water between each bite. This will fill you up and slow your eating.
Remember, it's not just what you eat, but how you eat that makes a difference in maintaining your weight.