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Spring Clean Your Diet

The formula for weight loss sounds simple: You need to burn more calories than you take in.* But does the thought of cutting back on what you eat leave you, well…hungry? Here’s a secret: You might not have to do anything drastic. Consider this three-step, no-diet, no-denial approach from UnitedHealthcare Florida’s chief medical officer Dr. Mayrene Hernandez.


Step 1: Examine and Plan.


  • Play detective. Record what you eat and drink each day—for about a week—in a food diary. Then look over the entries and ask yourself how you might cut back, switch to a healthy alternative or share the portion with someone else. 
  • Rethink how you eat. Do you finish your child’s leftovers? Do you nibble at work or when you’re stressed? Think of ways to switch up that behavior. Have the kids clear the table, pack healthy snacks in small portions or drink water instead of soda. 
  • Shop smart. Head to the grocery store with a list of healthy foods in hand, and avoid going when you’re hungry.


Step 2: Trim at the Table.


  • Downsize dishes. Dish up the food on small plates and bowls. You’ll still feel like you’re getting plenty.
  • Savor the flavor. Enjoy every bite and eat slowly. This gives your stomach time to receive the message that you’re full.


Step 3: Be a savvy Snacker.


  • Tap into water. Often you’re not hungry—you’re thirsty! Drink water throughout the day with a glass in the morning, one before each meal or snack, then a couple throughout the afternoon or evening until you meet the goal of eight glasses per day.
  • Ready yourself for snack attacks. Snacks help stave off too large meals, so keep healthy single portions on-hand like fruit, veggies or plain popcorn with butter seasoning.
  • Unpack your bags. Do you eat straight from a package of crackers, nuts or chips? Portion out sizes into single serving containers.


For more free tips on healthy eating and living, visit


*For general health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. To lose pounds or maintain a weight loss, you might need more. Consult your doctor on what your goals should be.


Dr. Mayrene Hernandez is the chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Florida. She is also part of part of UnitedHealth Group’s South East Clinical Services Leadership Team, where she oversees hospital inpatient management as one of the medical directors for Orlando.


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