Even if you stick to your healthy eating and nutrition plan most of the time, impulse eating can interfere with reaching and maintaining your goal to be the strongest and healthiest person you can be. Try these simple techniques at home and when you’re dining out to help you outsmart and overcome common obstacles.
Methods You Can Use At Home
1. Keep a journal. Studies show that there may be just a few minutes a day when we’re most vulnerable to giving in to impulse eating. Write down what you eat and when. It will help you spot those situations when you need to take extra precautions. Make use of technology by dictating your thoughts into a smartphone or tablet for quick notes.
2. Manage stress. Reinforce your will power by lowering your stress levels. Get plenty of good quality rest and sleep. Find a relaxation practice that works for you. Meditate daily or book a soothing massage, or use music to help you relax.
3. Sit down to eat. It’s easier to be aware of how much you’re consuming if you pull up a chair even for a snack. You’ll also digest your food better.
4. Use smaller, beautiful plates and cutlery. Downsizing your plates will help you feel full on fewer calories. Portions will look more generous, so you’ll be less likely to want to go back for more. Using beautiful plates and cutlery will help make dining an event, not just a grab-and-go where it might be more difficult to be mindful about what you’re eating.
5. Serve one portion at a time. Get in the habit of dishing out a few cut vegetables or nuts if you want to munch while watching TV. That way you’ll be forced to decide if you really want to make a return trip to the kitchen.
6. Be extra careful when you have company. Family dinners and holiday gatherings are important traditions that nurture our connections. They also tend to make us eat more. Researchers find that the bigger the group, the more likely we are to overdo it.
* Focus on talking with your loved ones.
* Beware of nibbling, especially when alcohol may lower your inhibitions.
7. Limit your exposure to advertising. Marketers know that a picture of pizza or cheesecake can make us crave the real thing. Turn your attention to other things. For example, do some floor exercises when TV commercials come on, or switch to a music channel temporarily to break the visual of the food.
Methods You Can Use When Dining Out
1. Plan your order ahead of time. Long menus and enticing specials can lead you astray. Arrive with your mind set on a healthy choice, like green salad and grilled fish.
2. Take leftovers off the table. Ask to have half your order bagged to take home before you start eating so you remove the possibility of eating it all. If that feels uncomfortable, push part of your plate to the side so you can save it for later.
3. Forgo the fast food restaurants. Burger joints have mastered the science of getting us to supersize it and bolt down our meals quickly with their bright colors, fast music and discounts. Pass them up as much as possible.
4. Take note of the lighting. Candlelit restaurants are romantic but dim lights can also make us eat more than we planned. Order sensibly and enjoy the ambiance by intentionally taking time to eat and enjoy the atmosphere without focusing on the food.
5. Develop a buffet strategy. Circle the buffet first to cherry pick the best stuff instead of grabbing it all. Sit far away so it’s less convenient to go back for refills, and plan to load your plate with favorite vegetables, fruit and protein so the sugar-and-fat laden items don’t make up the majority of your meal.
6. Carry around your own snacks. Keep a small insulated pack of yogurt and baby carrots in your car. Enjoy having better options than the chips and candy bars you’ll find in most vending machines and convenience stores.
7. Fill up before you go grocery shopping. Eat something nutritious and filling before you head to the supermarket. You’ll save both money and calories.
Managing your weight is an important part of looking and feeling your best. Discover the triggers that tempt you into impulse eating and get them under control. You’ll be able to stick to your eating and nutrition plans at home and at your favorite restaurants.