Today we hit Day 16 and start the second half of the 30-Day Weight Loss-athon.
Read the steps first, then take 10 minutes to think about them and take action. Ready?
What You Need:
- 52 Weight Loss Missions sample
For most of us with extra weight, overeating plays a role. For some of us, it’s the star of the show.
So I’m going to help you to stop overeating – but without willpower, self-recrimination, obsessiveness, or a Silence of The Lambs mask.
Instead, today we’ll look at ways to reduce your portion sizes so you don’t mindlessly eat more than you need. Tomorrow we’ll deal with some of the causes of automatic eating, and consider ways to break free.
As our first step, if you need convincing that eating mindlessly leads you to eat more, flip through Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating. You’ll read dozens of experiments showing how switching your mind off turns your tendency to overeat on.
But I suspect most of us are already convinced.
So we need to find ways to:
- Be more mindful when we eat
- Make it harder to overeat when we aren’t being mindful.
Here are some of the strategies that have worked for me:
- Put food on a plate rather than eating out of a container – so you can see how much you’re eating
- Use table linen, a napkin, perhaps a candle – it will make you want to enjoy and savor your meal
- Use a smaller bowl or plate – it will feel like a larger serving
- Use smaller utensils – eg a small spoon instead of a large one
- Eat as a family or with others – stopping to talk can slow down your eating and give your brain time to register when you’re no longer hungry
- After serving yourself, put leftovers away immediately – if you’re really still hungry you can get the food back out; if not, there’s a barrier to make you stop and think
- Enjoy your food – savor the taste and texture
- Eat slowly – chew your food thoroughly so you extract the nutrients and give your brain time to register when you’ve had enough.
- Make peace with leaving food on your plate – you can dispose of it in the bin or on your hips; which would you prefer?
- Eat regularly – every 3-4 hours – so you’re never ravenous and out of control (which we address in Mission 49: Recognize Start And Stop Hunger Signals).
The following ideas might also help – though I confess they haven’t worked for me.
- If you eat alone, avoid distractions like TV, the web, or reading (this one is hard and I can’t do it; if you can, great)
- Hold your eating utensil in your non-dominant hand so you’re reminded to slow down
- Eat the healthier, lower-calorie foods on your plate first – if you feel full before you’re done, you’ll have gained the best nutrition bang for your calorie buck
- Only eat in one or two places, ideally just in the dining room – not your bedroom, the bathtub or at your desk.
Choose the strategies you’re going to try.
Bonus Step For 52 Weight Loss Missions Members
Revisit Mission 49: Recognize Start And Stop Hunger Signals for strategies to help you manage hunger signals and avoid binging.
For each strategy you’ve chosen, complete whatever action you need to take.
- Dig out your pretty tableware, table linen, candlesticks, etc
- Write post-it reminders to put away leftovers, eat slowly, only eat in certain rooms, etc
- Set alarms on your phone to remind you to eat more regularly.
Mindless eating is a trap we all fall into at times. But with these strategies, it doesn’t have to be a habit.
Which of these strategies will you use?
And you’re done!
See you tomorrow!
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Michele Connolly is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.
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