Question:

I have had a weight problem for most of my life. For the first time, I weigh less than 200 pounds (currently 175lbs). I don’t know how to manage my weight and keep it from ballooning because of comfort or pain/stress. I walk almost every day but my diet is horrendous because I forget to eat, and by the time I realize it, I’m overeating….help 

– Tenesha P.

Answer:

Congrats on your current status, Tenesha! It seems that you’re looking for guidance on managing your weight and preventing regain with a healthier diet. Make meals a priority by planning, shopping and preparing items you can have on hand to eat. Perhaps you also miss meals then overeat because you don’t pay attention to hunger cues. Use a hunger scale* to evaluate your hunger and satiety levels so you can be more mindful to react to signals sooner.  

I’m glad you acknowledge self-soothing with food as a response to stress. We all do it from time to time! Identify and develop alternate strategies for stress reduction that can be your first line of action before you turn to comfort food. Keeping problem foods out of sight (or the house/office) while stocking healthier options up front and center will allow you to more easily reach for nutritious foods when the urge hits. 

You’re a stranger to me, but I’d suspect that your “horrendous” diet isn’t due to lack of nutrition knowledge. Since you say you’ve had a life-long weight problem, you probably need motivation and accountability, not facts or macronutrient charts. Consider investing in a reputable weight loss program so that you’re not going it alone. After assessing the reasons contributing to your weight issue, a good counselor will tailor a diet plan to your needs and support you along the way.  

Finally, keep your chin up and celebrate the success you’ve had so far. Recognize where your strengths are and identify specific areas to improve. You have the power to overcome your reactive eating and replace it with healthier habits! 

* Kristina Larue, RD, CSSD, LDN “The Simple Tool That Can Help Prevent Overeating.” MyFitnessPal blog. https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/the-simple-tool-that-can-help-prevent-overeating/ Nov. 22, 2017. Accessed 10.21.2019 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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