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Gateway to Health Challenge

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Week 7
 

Honoring hunger is all about listening to the body and responding to the signals it is sending. People who do this are more likely to achieve and to maintain a healthy weight.Honoring Your Hunger:

Key to Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

By Linda Rellergert, University of Missouri Extension, adapted by Molly Vetter-Smith, University of Missouri Extension

 

To explore the principles of Intuitive Eating as outlined by authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, this week’s feature article is about honoring your hunger to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

 

While it may seem backwards to train yourself to eat to help with weight control, research shows skipping meals, especially breakfast, is associated being overweight. Also, dieting is associated with weight fluctuations, which 95% of the time leads to returning to one’s original weight within 5 years, and 50% of the time, those who regain weight, weigh more than they did before they started the diet.
 

Our bodies signal hunger in a variety of ways. Chances are, you have noticed some of these signs:
 

  • lightheadedness
  • mild to severe headaches
  • mouth watering
  • stomach growling
  • stomach pains
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • feeling somewhat anxious
     

The brain turns on these signals when it is running low on fuel as a way of urging us to eat. Since our very survival depends on keeping the brain supplied with fuel, these urges are very strong.
If we don’t eat when we are hungry, don’t eat enough or don’t eat the right kinds of food, there are consequences. The brain responds as if we are in a famine and does what it can to avoid starvation. That response includes:
 

  • Slowing down metabolism so we use less energy. This might sound like a good thing, but we get more than just energy from our food. We also need the nutrients from adequate amounts food for good health. Most of those needs do not go down even if your need for energy is reduced.
     
  • Increasing the drive to eat. When food becomes available again, we are driven to over-eat. Even someone not dieting or starving but just very hungry before a meal would likely want to overeat. Notice how much more food you want to order at a restaurant or buy at the grocery store when you feel ravenous. This is a natural reaction to physical hunger.
     
  • Increasing efficiency of fat storage. There is increasing evidence that as the body needs fewer calories due to lower metabolism, more of the fat that is eaten will be stored rather than used. The result is that it is easier and easier to get fatter after every diet.
     

The more we diet, the more we learn to ignore what our body says.With dieting, we make decisions about eating based on the diet instead of hunger. We eat when the diet says it is time to eat rather than when our body says it is in need of fuel. Or, we eat only as much as the diet says we can have, not the amount our body says it needs. The more we diet, the more we learn to ignore what our body says. Eventually we lose touch, we may no longer be able to sense when we are hungry, when we are full.
 

The question, then, is how to recapture the ability to sense hunger so that we can respond to it before we get so hungry we want to overeat. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch offer some suggestions in their book, Intuitive Eating.
 

Recall the last time you did feel hungry. What did that feel like? Think about ways people have described hunger — stomach growling, gurgling, stomach pain, lightheadedness, feeling faint, restless or unable to concentrate, irritable, headache. Is this what you felt?
 

For the next couple of days, check in with your stomach every few hours and try to describe what you are feeling.
 

Don’t go without eating for more than five hours when awake. Longer than that and you will be likely to overeat at the next eating opportunity as your fuel stores are used up.
 

Expect your appetite to change from day to day. Research shows that people who eat a little less one day are likely to eat a little more in a day or two and vice-versa.
 

Finally, try not to be too rigid about this principle of honoring hunger. Normal eating is flexible enough to allow for those times when we eat because something looks so very good or because it is a special occasion. Having a piece of birthday cake to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday is fine even if you’re not really hungry. You might want to make it a small piece, though, just to avoid being uncomfortable.
 

Normal eating also allows us to plan ahead with our eating. For example, if you will be going out later and won’t be able to eat, it is fine to eat now even though you’re not especially hungry. This kind of eating will keep you from overeating because of getting overly hungry.
 

Honoring hunger is all about listening to the body and responding to the signals it is sending. People who do this are more likely to achieve and to maintain a healthy weight.


NUTRITION TIP OF THE WEEK:

 

Snack Right

By Greta Hopke, University of Missouri Extension, adapted by Molly Vetter-Smith, University of Missouri Extension

 

Snacks can be very important aspect in honoring you hunger as well as meeting your dietary needs of fruits and vegetables, but they can be helpful or harmful! Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when snacking:

 

  • Eat a snack size that fits your hunger level, if you know you will be eating a meal soon, don't turn the snack into a meal
     
  • Make your snack help meet nutritional needs and goals-- try to include fruits and vegetables! See this week’s recipe of the week for a quick easy dip for fresh veggies.
     
  • Snack on foods that will give you energy that will last. A snack high in sugar may give you quick energy but will likely leave you feeling tired after a half an hour. So, try to have you snack include some protein and fat to keep you satisfied. Also, fiber keeps you feeling full longer.
     
  • Plan ahead. If you are going to have a snack, take one with you. Healthy snacks are very limited in vending machines.


EXERCISE TIP OF THE WEEK:

 

Plan an Active Summer Vacation

By Linda Rellergert, University of Missouri Extension, adapted by Molly Vetter-Smith, University of Missouri Extension

 

This time of year we are starting to think about and plan for a summer vacation. The goal of most vacations is to have fun and to rejuvenate. An active vacation is a great way to reduce stress, lighten spirits and become or stay fit. Having fun is the primary objective, so be sure to match activities with family likes and dislikes as well as abilities and interests.
 

  • Choose a destination featuring fun outdoor activities—national parks for hiking, the shore for swimming and beach combing.
     
  • Take part in the fun. Vacations are a good time to try out activities you might not have a chance to try at other times of the year—water skiing, canoeing/kayaking, hang gliding, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, rock climbing, body surfing. Let loose and give it a whirl.
     
  • Alternate quiet activities with more challenging ones or this may feel more like work than fun. Inclement weather may also affect your plans so have a variety of possibilities in mind.
     
  • Try to include some activity into the trip as well as the destination.Try to include some activity into the trip as well as the destination. If driving, stop several times for an activity break such as sight seeing. A short walk or game of Frisbee will keep the “when are we going to get there” moaning to a minimum. Layovers in airports or train stations provide time to stretch and walk off stiffness.
     

Don’t stop when the vacation is over. Decide to include fun, physically active events in your daily and weekly life. Take a mini-vacation every day and feel better physically and mentally.


RECIPE OF THE WEEK:

 

Quick and Easy Bean Dip and Pita Crisps are low in fat and sodium, and high in fiber, calcium and taste. Quick and Easy Bean Dip

By Linda Rellergert, University of Missouri Extension, adapted by Molly Vetter-Smith, University of Missouri Extension

 

Quick and Easy Bean Dip and Pita Crisps are toothsome goodies which just happen to be low in fat and sodium, and high in fiber, calcium and taste. Buy some fresh vegetables at the Farmer’s Market to eat dip with pita crisps, and curb your between meal hunger with this healthy snack.

 

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5-15 oz) red kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
teaspoon ground cumin
Optional Seasonings: Ground pepper, and/or cayenne pepper
 

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop into small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use, up to 5 days.
 

Makes 1 cups. Nutrition information per 2 tablespoon serving: 67 calories, 3g total fat (<1g saturated fat), 7g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 3g dietary fiber, 98mg sodium.
 

Pita Crisps

 

2 whole wheat pita breads (6 inch)
Olive oil spray
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
 

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut each pita bread into 8 wedges, then separate the two layers to make 16 wedges. Place wedges on large baking sheet in single layer. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.
 

Makes 8 servings of 4 crisps each. Nutrition information per serving: 49 calories, 1g total fat, 9g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 1g dietary fiber, 109mg sodium.








 

 

 


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