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New Year's Resolutions | Jan. 5, 2011

It’s that time of year again for New Year’s resolutions aimed at losing weight and getting into shape.  Unfortunately, fitness is not easy and takes a lot of work.  Rather than listing the steps to take to lose weight, here are some things not to do.  According to Cheryl Forberg, dietitian for the popular TV show The Biggest Loser, contestants share some common characteristics.

  • They have no idea how many calories they need or consume
  • They skip breakfast and snacks letting long spans go between meals
  • They eat very few fruits and vegetables
  • They eat very few whole grains
  • They don’t plan meals and eat out a lot
  • They consume a high number of calories through beverages alone
  • They consume little water
  • They report limited amounts or no exercise
  • They place their own health needs as a low priority

These habits can be very insightful. Ensuring that you don’t subscribe to any of the above behaviors and following a simple technique for eating, can be a relatively easy way to increasing your fitness. 

Now, here is the to do. Use your plate as a visual way to plan your meals.  We call this the “Plate Method” and it can be extremely effective for weight loss or diabetes management. You don’t need to measure or weigh food.  All you need is a 9-inch plate (be careful, most plates have grown to 12 inches).  How you arrange your vegetables, starches and protein foods can have a hidden effect on portion size and calorie intake.  You will also include  a small bowl and/or glass for fruit and dairy products.

Fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.  Fill a forth with protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese or nuts.  The last fourth should be filled with your starchy foods such as, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal, pasta or rice.  Be sure your plate is only filled about ½” deep with food.  Place fruit in the bowl for dessert and top off the meal with a glass of milk.

The Plate Method technique is especially useful for people who feel overwhelmed with a recent diagnosis of diabetes or for people who are too busy to spend a lot of time designing their own meal plans.  It is a easy technique that can be taken anywhere as long as you have the right size plate and the right proportions on it. Simple to do’s and not to do’s can help you be successful in your fitness goals for 2011.  For more information on the plate method, visit http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/diabetesplate/index.html.