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Forget Fad Diets: Eat Like a Baby and Lose Weight
When we are with our children, most of us see ourselves in the role of a teacher and caretaker. However, we have so much that we can learn from our babies. For example, have you ever watched a toddler play with something they really loved? They can truly enjoy themselves and forget all about eating, sleeping, or any other toy for an hour or more. They can completely focused on what they are doing. How long can you look at Facebook before you check your email, text message someone, call someone, then put on some music, or try to focus on your work? All in a space of about 15 minutes.
Do you know the same is true about babies and the way they eat? If we were to eat more like our toddlers ate, we would probably be healthier and thinner than ever! Toddlers have a natural rhythm in their lives. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. They also take their time eating- on average, about 25 minutes. When was the last time you took that long eating dinner?
When we talk about eating like a baby, we also mean taking baby steps to change your diet. Let’s start by looking at all of the “baby steps” you can towards eating more like a baby and losing weight naturally.
1. Keep a Food Journal
This sounds so boring and more of the same old, same old, right? Unfortunately, you keep hearing this because it works. You can’t see where you need to make changes if you don’t know exactly when and where the changes are that need to be made. For example, do you remember what you ate for breakfast the last three mornings? Chances are, you can’t. So before you do anything, don’t change what you are eating, just write it all down. Once you see that, for example, you are habitually eating a candy bar every afternoon because you have no energy during that time, you can start to make healthy choices, such as a handful of nuts instead.
2. Plan Heathier Meals
Have you ever noticed how you go to great lengths to make your baby healthy, organic meals, but you grab whatever you can to feed yourself? Have you ever found yourself cooking sweet potatoes, couscous, roasted free range chicken, and eggs for your baby’s food for the day, while you are shoving a chocolate doughnut into your mouth while you cook? Yep, you know you have done it. We wouldn’t dream of letting our baby skip a meal, but we do it all the time. We wouldn’t let our baby eat that drive through fast food crap, but we do it. OK, it’s time for this to stop. Start planning the same type of healthy meals for you AND your baby. The average two year old gets three healthy meals and two snacks per day. Same for you. Larger portions, of course, but cook the same healthy meals. It’s not as hard to do as you might think. When you are cooking for your toddler, cook extra for yourself. Or for the entire family. It only takes a few minutes more.
3. Slow Down
Don’t skip meals, but be sure you take your time when you are eating. Watch your toddler eating, he probably walks around with a sandwich taking a bite here and a bite there, and it takes him about 20 to 30 minutes to eat his sandwich, carrot sticks, and orange slices. You should do the same. OK, so you don’t have to walk around with the sandwich, but pay attention to what you are eating. Taste it, smell it, chew it, enjoy it!
You are probably giving your baby new foods to try every week, why don’t you do the same? Who knows, you might find your absolute favorite food! So instead of ordering the usual salad, why not try the kale salad? Experimenting with new foods not only makes food more interesting, but you can also get a more diverse mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Isn’t that what you would want for your baby? Why not do yourself the same favor?
5. Keep it Convenient
Do you cut up veggies for your toddler so you can just hand him a small bag during the day? And do you make up small baggies of nuts, fruit, or whole grain crackers for him to snack on? Why don’t you make up the same type of convenient snacks for yourself? Face it, when you want to grab something crunchy to munch on, the last thing you want to do is cut up some veggies. And chances are pretty darn good that if you start eating those crackers out of the box, you will eat a whole lot more than you intended to. Keep your snacks simple and convenient, in single serving baggies, so you won’t be tempted to eat more than you should.
6. Make it Fun
When you start training your toddler to sit and eat at the table, what do you do? If you are like most parents, you buy those cute little Sponge Bob plates or My Little Pony sippy cups, right? Well, why not do the adult equivalent? Use your good china, or buy a favorite colored or patterned place setting just for you. Drink from a large wine glass or a pretty colored glass, and let’s not forget the good silverware. This makes mealtime more interesting and more of an experience to savor.
Of course, you can skip some things that your baby does or gets that really don’t fit in an adult world, such as drinking two or three bottles of almond milk or throwing your bowl on the floor when you have finished eating, but by following some of the baby steps listed above, you might be pleasantly surprised that you not only have more energy, but that you lose weight slowly and easily, without even really trying.