#1) EAT SLOWLY:
Decide that you are worth (a minimum of) 20 minutes per meal to just sit, relax and enjoy your food. If you eat in less than 20 minutes your brain does not have time to register that you have eaten. You may eat beyond fullness before the rising blood sugar level can send your brain the “full” message to tell you to stop eating.
Try timing yourself to be sure you take 20 minutes.
#2) EAT WITHOUT EXTERNAL DISTRACTIONS:
Eat in a peaceful environment without T.V., reading, doing office work or having
upsetting conversations. If you can’t give up these distractions and eating at the same time, notice your resistance to change. Try eating one meal in total quiet or with soft music.
Notice if any feelings come up for you around just ‘spending time’ with your food and being fully aware of the mechanics of eating and what you’re eating. Do you pay more attention to the tastes? Do you enjoy that particular dish? Does eating bore you?…
#3) EAT WHILE YOU ARE SITTING AT A TABLE:
Are there certain foods that you are more likely to eat standing up or lying on the floor or couch? (Cookies, chips, etc.)
Notice that you never eat broccoli lying on the sofa. Some people eat in the car, in front of the ‘fridge, or walking down the street. Thus, these relaxation activities, and/or postures become associated with eating certain (junk) foods. When these foods become part of the relaxation process, you might not feel able to relax when you are not eating these foods, even if you are not hungry.
Example: You come home from work tired and stressed. You fling yourself on the couch, turn on the T.V. and devour a bag of chips to give you the strength to get up and make dinner. If you do this a few times it becomes a pattern.
• Here is a weight-loss strategy to try:
Notice what it is like to relax or lie down, watch TV or read a book, without eating. Is it just as enjoyable? Consider if a glass of water or hot tea would be just as relaxing. Give it an honest try to break your habits of grabbing junk food to relax.
#4) CHOOSE ONE EATING LOCATION IN YOUR HOME OR WORK:
Eat all your meals and snacks at this one location You may discover that once you formalize your chaotic eating patterns by eating at your eating place, you begin to disassociate eating with relaxation or socializing and start to eat more for nourishment. Be sure to take every meal, midnight snack, or even a simple handful of pretzels to your eating place. Notice if it takes the fun out of your “stolen” munchies. If you have to make the effort to go sit down, you may notice that you are more willing to let go of this quick enjoyment.
#5) MAKE EATING A SPECIAL OCCASION: (Especially if you eat alone).
Make your eating place attractive by creating a place setting. Use candles, flowers, linen, music, etc. Even if you don’t do that – at least clear off the table of the past week’s newspapers and mail!
#6) IDENTIFY YOUR EXTERNAL FOOD CUES:
If you are triggered to over eat by the sight or smell of a particular food, even
when you’re not hungry, you might consider the following:
• Drive or walk in another direction to avoid your favorite ice cream or cookie store. (Did you ever notice how you crave a Mrs. Fields cookie as soon as you see their counter and smell their cookies?)
• Don’t shop for food when you are hungry- statistics show that when your are hungry you will buy up to 20% more food, and your food choices will not be as healthful.
•Leave the room or change the channel when food commercials come on T.V.
•Time can be an external food cue as well. Do you eat because you’re hungry or because it’s lunch time? Do you follow a routine that triggers you to eat even if you are not hungry?
#7) IDENTIFY OVER-EATING HABITS AND TRY THESE STRATEGIES:
• Remove leftovers from the table immediately to avoid picking.
• Cut back on baking deserts for your family. Discover other ways to show your love for them, such as taking walks or spending more time doing activities together.
• Portion out everyone’s food from the kitchen when they first sit down. Family style serving often leads to overeating.
• Have your partner or kids buy or make their own snacks if they want high fat/sugar. When you find yourself saying “I must buy brownies for the kids ” know that in fact you are buying them for yourself!
#8) IDENTIFY RESTAURANT AND “SPECIAL OCCASION” OVER-EATING HABITS:
• Alcoholic drinks before your meal often lead to overeating as well as “empty calories”.
• Identify eating companions who trigger you to overeat or emotionally eat. It may require you to find social activities with these companions besides eating.
• Assertive behavior may be necessary with people who want you to eat for their sake or because “they made it just for you”, “it’s only a little piece”, “how often do you get to eat this”? They may act offended, but remember it’s your body and you are in charge. If nothing else works tell them you are allergic to it!
• Before going out to a meal, imagine yourself as only eating what you want and taking the rest home in a doggie-bag. Seeing yourself doing this before hand will make the action easier. You can enjoy the meal twice by having the leftovers again tomorrow!
• When your food first arrives at the table, divide it in half. Make a conscious decision to, after you eat half the food, re-evaluate how you feel, wait five minutes and then decide if you want anymore.
• If you think you might be full but aren’t sure, stop and wait five minutes before another bite.
• Have the waiter clear your plate as soon as you know you are through eating.
• Visualize what a naturally thin person would do before you go to a restaurant. Imagine yourself doing that. Re-program your brain as if you already think and act like a thin person and your body will follow.
• At birthdays, holidays, weddings, parties and other social gatherings decide to choose four or five things you really like and eat only those. Prior to going out for the evening, imagine yourself doing the above suggestion and you will leave the party feeling light and energetic instead of stuffed!
• Notice what it feels like to go out with your friends and focus on the conversation and companionship as the main event, rather that the eating.
See if these tips work for you…, please email us your results after one month of trying these!