Food diary: Behaving in Mexico

June 11, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series about three Washington County families participating in a food diary program created by The Herald-Mail and Washington County Health Department.

While many people would use a vacation to Mexico as an excuse to not watch what they eat, Kellee Smith did a pretty good job of eating healthy, not overeating and getting lots of exercise.

Smith, 34, of Hagerstown, is one of three Washington County families participating in a food diary project created by The Herald-Mail and the Washington County Health Department.

The other participants are the Michaels, who live in Williamsport, and the Sargents, who live near Funkstown.

They have been tracking what they eat, how much they eat, in what setting they eat and how much exercise they get.


Shortly before leaving for Mexico, Smith met with Tammy Thornton, nutrition/wellness services coordinator for the health department, who had reviewed her diary and made recommendations for eating healthier and getting more exercise.

One of those suggestions was to eat more meals at the table rather than in front of the TV because people usually overeat when their focus is on the TV and not their food.

Smith, who stayed in a house with her family on vacation, said they ate most of their meals at the table together.

"I really noticed that by eating at the table, rather than eating at the TV, that I didn't eat as much nor did I want to eat as much as when in front of the TV," said Smith, who teaches at Western Maryland Children's Center.

"At the table I was more aware of what I was eating and seemed to control the portions more," she said.

Smith said she ate some junk food, including a couple doughnuts, and drank some margaritas and pia coladas while on vacation but overall ate "pretty well." Meals included several salads, shrimp and grilled chicken.

She also exercised every day, whether walking on the beach, working out in a gym, dancing or swimming in the Gulf of California, which was "just like bath water."

Since returning home Smith said she hadn't been back to the gym as of Thursday, but had been walking at least a couple miles every day, including a three- to four-mile walk with neighbors.

She's also continued eating at the table.

She leaves the sliding glass door looking out to the backyard open while she eats so she can enjoy the view.

"I do notice that I don't eat as much," she said.

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