News Release Distributed 02/04/13
BATON ROUGE, La. – Most of us wouldn’t start something new without first gathering information and the necessary tools. Taking up a new hobby this year? Then you’re probably signing up for lessons or reading as much as you can about your new interest.
Having the appropriate tools or equipment is also critical to success, said Karen Overstreet, program leader for food and consumer sciences in the LSU AgCenter. If eating more healthfully was one of your resolutions, then signing up for Smart Portions classes can help you succeed.
“Losing weight is one of the most common resolutions people make, but often we don’t have appropriate information and support to be successful,” Overstreet said. “We try the latest diet plan and get frustrated when we can’t stick to it.”
Instead of focusing on today’s number on the scale, Smart Portions gives participants the knowledge and tools necessary to make lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthy weight, she said. Participating in a class with others with similar goals provides the camaraderie and support that many of us need to stay on track.
Each class focuses on a specific topic with lots of interaction. Participants receive materials to continue that week’s lesson at home.
Although the goal isn’t to lose a specific amount of weight, participants often report significant loses, Overstreet said. Even those who aren’t as concerned with weight loss find the information on portion sizes, more healthful cooking techniques, tips for eating out and other topics beneficial, especially if they are responsible for feeding their family.
“We often follow in our parents’ footsteps with our eating habits,” she said. “If our parents were picky eaters or habitually ate on the run, chances are we will be, too.”
Often the problem is not just time but lack of knowledge or skills, she added. Participants in Smart Portions classes will learn the basics of good nutrition, choose the physical activity that’s right for them and learn to plan nutritious meals at home or when eating out.
Smart Portions classes are available across the state at various times during the year, and some are being held now, Overstreet said.
“If you are interested in attending a class, contact the LSU AgCenter office in your parish to find out when one will be held near you,” she said. “You don’t have to be a resident of the parish in which the class is offered to participate.”