Truth In Eating!
I was recently involved in a conversation about the reasons that people struggle so hard to lose weight, After listening to several minutes of discussion, I noticed a common complaint. “Mindless Eating” was mentioned repeatedly as the number one reason that these women could not lose weight. “Boredom” was mentioned a lot too. It seemed that “Boredom, leading to mindless eating…” was a recurrent theme.
Let’s be truthful here. I have been a size 24. You don’t get to that size without some really bad eating habits. I have NEVER just suddenly become aware of a cupcake in my mouth. Not only was I aware of that cupcake, I strategically plotted how to get it there. Cupcakes didn’t sneak into my house at night and jump into my coffee cup without my knowledge. I saw them on the shelf in the store, put them in my buggy, paid for them, took them to my car, drove home with them in said car, took them into the house and placed them where I could easily get to them. Folks, that’s not mindless eating.
It’s tempting to say that junk food is for someone else but if that’s the case, put it where you cannot easily access it. Put it on a top shelf where you have to get a stepladder to reach it. You might put it inside a box, inside a box. The idea is to put those things where “someone else” can get them but you have to go through a few steps to get them. If you slide a chair to the kitchen cabinet and climb up to get the chips, that’s not mindless. NEVER leave these nutritional duds anywhere that you can actually just easily shove them into your mouth.
Rule #1 is to arrange your environment so that you absolutely cannot easily shove empty calories into your mouth. Don’t take it home. If you encounter it at work, do what I do. Give it away or throw it away. If you throw it away, open it up and put nasty stuff on top of it so that there’s no way you will get it out of the garbage. A box of doughnuts casually tossed on top of newspapers in the wastebasket is way too easily retrieved. Again, that’s NOT “mindless”.
One of the most common times for people to pop food into their mouths easily is when they’re cooking. The kitchen is oftentimes somewhat secluded so you think that no one will notice you shoving that wedge of cheddar into your mouth while you’re busy in the kitchen. Sometimes hunger is the culprit. If dinnertime is your worst time of the day, make sure that you have a nutritious snack an hour or so before you make dinner. Plan that snack to have a specific number of calories with a good dose of protein and fiber that will bind together to fill you up throughout meal preparation. Have a 0-calorie beverage sitting beside you and drink up. Stay well-hydrated and you will feel more full and less likely to want to fill up on licks, bites and tastes before the meal. If you are in the habit of munching while you cook, make a fresh vegetable tray and set it beside you. It’s hard to do much damage with raw veggies.
Eating On The Road Again
I well remember the road trips we made as a child. Although my mother was a very slim woman, there was something about a road trip that made her want to eat! When I was very young, she would pack bologna sandwiches, chips, snack cakes and drinks for the road. There was a running joke that she would be in the food before we got to Talledega. That’s not very far from home!
If you find yourself pigging out on road trips, carry healthy snacks in your car. Again, it’s NOT mindless if you stop at every fast-food joint and convenience store that you pass and buy your favorite ice cream desserts, “coffee” drinks and chips. You know what you are doing. If it’s not in the car, you can’t eat it. Years ago, I bought a bag of blueberry crullers and ate them all the way home. Even my special needs son was stunned. He said he couldn’t believe that I did that. I was always “trying to lose weight” and even he knew that’s not the way to do it. Set yourself up for success, not failure. I like apples, cheese sticks, protein bars, water and black coffee in the car with me. Healthy snacks help me fulfill my nutritional goals and stay within my calorie limit.
This same tactic works if you find yourself sitting at the hospital or sitting in your car waiting on someone. You can’t “mindlessly” eat chips if they’re not in your bag or your car.
Night, Night Eating!
I have heard many people say that they just reach into the bag of chips over and over until they are gone while they are watching T.V. Well, the answer here is obvious. Don’t have trigger foods in front of the T. V. ! First of all, they should not be in your house. If they are and your significant other is digging in, make sure that the bag is well away from you. Have your healthy snacks right in front of you and then if you “mindlessly”… reach for a snack…it will be good for you. If nighttime eating is important to you, plan those snacks and figure them into your daily meal plan. Plan both sweet and salty, maybe some orange slices or salty, unbuttered popcorn. Weigh and measure your snacks and add them into your daily food diary and you will be fine.
With a little honesty and planning you can absolutely set yourself free from “mindless eating”.
The answer lies in making the decision to get healthy and determining to do whatever it takes to do that.
It’s actually simple once you make that decision.