What’s In Your Mouth?
So often we mindlessly eat for every reason in the world except hunger and health. Mindless eating often acts as a tranquilizer, an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug. Sometimes it’s simply an act of boredom and other times it’s just pure entertainment because it’s natural to like to eat. When we eat mindlessly we usually eat empty calories laden with sugar and salt and very little else, foods that are devoid of real nutrition. As a result, when we make mindless eating a habit we gain body fat and become malnourished most of the time, because we are not eating good, healthy food. We don’t have the strength and energy to work out as hard as we need to and so we begin to lose muscle. If we take our health seriously, we must put a stop to this destructive habit.
Ways to Win This Battle
1-Buy Small Size
When we open a big bag of chips and set down to watch T.V., odds are that the next stop will be the bottom of the bag. Buy small sizes of snacks and carry only one to your TV chair. If you have to think about getting another, your more likely to resist the temptation to overeat. We eat about 25% less if we eat from small packages.
2-Fix a Plate
When I was growing up, my Mother who was always concerned about mine and my Daddy’s weight, discovered that we would eat less if she fixed our plates and put them on the table. There was no mindless dipping back into the mac and cheese if it wasn’t on the table.
3-Keep the Evidence Visible
Keep the plates, packaging and remains from whatever you have eaten in front of you. If you devour a slab of ribs, keep the bones in front of you. You are less likely to eat half of the cake for dessert when you can clearly see the evidence of your gluttony.
4-Choose Your Dinnerware Carefully
Large plates make your food look small so use small plates. You will eat less. Use tall thin glasses that stretch your drinks visibly. Short, wide glasses encourage you to drink more because you see a small amount and feel entitled to have a little extra. This is critical if you drink alcoholic beverages.
5-Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Keep healthy foods visible in the front of the refrigerator and cabinet. Some people teach that you should keep empty calorie foods hidden in the back. I teach, don’t have them in your house. It’s easier that way. The decision is made before you start craving sugar.
6-Limit Your Choices
Prepare only one flavor, texture or color of food and you will eat less. If we have a variety of foods available in a single meal we will eat about 23% more. We quickly become accustomed to a single flavor or texture so we get bored and stop eating. This is called sensory-specific satiety and it means that we become numb to the same stimulus when we are exposed to it too many times so keep your meals and snacks limited to one food and you will stop eating sooner.
7-Make Eating Inconvenient
When food is too easy to get, we eat more. Skip the drive-thru and fix quick, easy meals at home. If you have to prepare it, you will eat less frequently and less in volume. Having to make an effort to acquire food gives us time to consider what we’re doing and hopefully make better decisions.
I know that these tips work. I have employed them for years. With a little forethought, you can set the stage for success.