Welcome to Day 17 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:
- Your thinking cap.
Yesterday we took action to help reduce portion sizes and avoid mindless eating.
Sometimes though, overeating stems not from prodigious portions, but from other, more insidious mind tricks that cause you to eat when you’re not really hungry.
These tricks of the mind include:
- Habit – you always eat that much
- Timing – the clock says it’s time for lunch/dinner/a cocktail
- Politeness – someone offered it to you
- Cost-effectiveness – you’d better eat it all to get your money’s worth
- Waste avoidance – the starving children will be annoyed if you don’t finish it
- Preventative eating – you don’t want to be hungry later
- Advertising – you saw an ad and now you have to eat it
- Because it’s there – the kids left it so you might as well eat it
- A desire for a reward – you’ve worked so hard and you deserve a treat
- A desire for comfort – you’ve had a crappy day and eating will ease the pain
- Childhood hangovers – clean your plate or else!
We all surrender to some of these tricks some of the time. I tend to eat to a timetable because that helps my productivity, and I’m a slave to comfort eating if something has upset me.
So as our first step, consider which of these automatic eating patterns are a concern for you.
Next, let’s think of ways you can turn off the automatic response.
Here are some suggestions:
Eating out of habit
- You may just be in the habit of piling too much food onto your plate and then finishing whatever’s there. Review Day 16: Stop Overeating Part 1.
Eating because the clock says it’s time
- If you’re not hungry at mealtimes, it may be that you’ve eaten too much at the previous meal. Experiment with eating a little less at each meal, but eating more regularly.
- You may need to play around with your schedule to find a routine that works well.
Polite eating – to make someone happy or to avoid offending someone
- Be honest so that your sincerity comes across.
- Say something like:
- Thanks so much, but I’m still full from breakfast/lunch/dinner
- I’m not hungry now but it looks so good – could I take some home?
- I couldn’t fit any more in – I filled up on your [something else yummy your host prepared]
- It looks/smells amazing, but I’m focused on losing weight/getting healthy/losing the baby bulge so I’ll have to say no thanks.
- If you’re pressed, say no thank you with a smile and change the subject.
Cost-effective eating – getting your money’s worth
- If you’ve had enough and your plate is still half-full, that’s fine. You’ve got your money’s worth from the company, ambiance, being out and having fun. That’s what you paid for and it’s money well spent.
Eating so it doesn’t go to waste
- If you’ve had enough it’s already wasted – the choice is whether you store the waste in the bin or on your body.
Preventative eating – to forestall later hunger
- Keep a goal-friendly snack (one that’s consistent with the actions you chose for Day 4: Tweak Your Diet) in your bag, in case you get hungry later.
- Eat regularly and don’t go too many hours without food.
Eating because you were enticed by an ad
- Become aware that you’re being manipulated, and decide to choose for yourself.
- Remember Pavlov’s dogs? We can become aware that the bell is making us salivate, and choose not to eat the food.
Eating to reward ourselves
- Look for other ways to reward yourself – taking a bubble bath, reading a novel for 30 minutes, playing a game on your phone or computer, going for a walk, listening/dancing to music, calling a friend to chat, meditating, etc.
Eating because you feel you must clean the plate
- You’re a grown up now. It’s okay to leave food on your plate.
- Make a habit of leaving some food on your plate to break this automatic eating pattern.
Bonus Step For 52 Weight Loss Missions Members
Emotional eating – eating because we’re upset, bored, feeling down, feeling happy, etc.
- See Mission 43: Address Emotional Eating – Part 1 and Mission 44: Address Emotional Eating – Part 2.
Decide which of these strategies will you use – and use them!
And you’re done!
See you tomorrow!