When it comes to body weight, dietitian explains how to analyze waist, portions and emotions

A Beaumont weight loss expert says three things should be analyzed when it comes to body weight: our waists, our portions and our emotions. 

"We like to talk waist circumference at our weight control center," says Megan Husek, a dietitian at the Beaumont Weight Control Center in Canton. She says don't squeeze a tape measure too tight, but get an accurate measure of your waist. That number can tell you as much as the number on the scale. 

"For women, we're looking for 35 inches or less. For men, we're looking for about 40 inches or less. And what this measurement can help tell us is if you're at risk for a chronic disease, maybe type 2 diabetes, heart disease. If more of your weight is in the abdominal area it's pushing against more internal organs and it can be a greater risk for health," Husek says. 

One challenge is eating only when you're hungry. Something that can help combat mindless snacking or eating is to track your emotions every time you think about snacking. 

"If you're physically not hungry for it, you probably shouldn't be snacking. You should come up with maybe an alternative routine, maybe having a decaf herbal tea in the evening instead of having that something sweet. I often find my patients are looking for that ritual, or that go-to, or, I'm walking by the kitchen and it's just that habit. So kind of checking in, paying attention to mindful eating. Am I physically hungry or did I want to get up from my desk, I'm working from home, did I want to just get up and take a break from my desk doesn't always have to involve snacking."

Speaking of snacking, Megan takes oats, coconut if you want peanut butter and a few chocolate chips it all comes together into ping pong-size protein balls. It's a great snack.

"These can last in the fridge for about up to a week or freeze them in the freezer for about a month. So that gets you, one batch is good bang for your buck. And, again, portion them off in the snack bag. Two would be a serving. It's a great mid-afternoon snack or evening for that sweet tooth."

If you want to skip the pre-packaged, pre-portioned snacks at the grocery store, look for the baggies that show you a serving size. 

"That just takes the guesswork out of it," she says.

She also suggests that as you get home, separate crackers into the right portion sizes, perhaps with reusable plastic bags. That way you won't be tempted to repeatedly stick your hand in the box.