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Focus on the food when eating

Ellen Warren

Shopping Adviser

5:04 PM EDT, May 11, 2011

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Hardly any of us have what it takes to perform a full lifestyle makeover. But what about baby steps?

As someone who detests diet and exercise, I'm determined to keep coming up with small, doable things we all can try that will make a positive change. You won't like all of them. Nobody could. But how about just one? Here goes.

When you're eating, don't do anything else. Sounds simple? Try it. Even as I type these words, I'm reaching for a snack.

"Be aware of the fact that you're eating," advises dietitian Bethany Thayer, director of wellness programs and strategies for Detroit's Henry Ford Health System. "Pay attention to the food you're eating and the signals you're getting about your hunger level."

Need help focusing on your food? Try these tips:

•Don't eat while watching television.

•Don't eat while cruising the Internet.

•Don't eat while working at your desk.

•Don't eat standing up.

•Don't eat while reading.

"Even when talking with friends, people are more likely to eat more," Thayer says.

That doesn't mean don't lunch with your pals or go out to dinner with friends. Rather, pay attention to what you're shoveling in.

"Focus on the food or focus on the conversation, but try not to do both at the same time," she cautions. That's when you lose track of your hunger level and start to ignore the fact that you're not hungry anymore.

Got a bite-size tip on diet, exercise, well-being? Share it: ewarren@tribune.com.

Follow @ellenwarreninfo on Twitter