Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lesson 4: Reducing and Changing Cues

Why do we eat what we eat?

There are many reasons we eat.
1. Hunger. Yes, physical hunger is the obvious. We need to eat to nourish our bodies. BUT, there are also times we have a desire to eat without feeling physical hunger.
2. Thoughts and Feelings. Emotions can trigger eating. For example, I go to sugary treats when frustrated or bored.
3. What other people do. If a friend offers you some food, you may feel obligated to eat it - or just want to eat it.
4. Sights and Smells. Just seeing or smelling food can trigger the desire to eat.
5. Activities. Watching TV, going to a ballgame, going to the movies. How often do you NOT think of the foods you will eat when doing these (or other) activities? Never right? right? Yeah, me too.

So, how do we change our behaviors and habits?

1. Stay away or hide!

  • Don't keep your 'trouble' foods in the house or at work. If you must, use single servings, or hide them. Don't keep them in plain sight.
  • Use opaque containers.
  • When you finish eating (at home or a restaurant), remove the plate or put a napkin on top.  If at a restaurant, ask for a to go container right away. Put any 'extra' in the box so you won't be tempted to eat 3 servings instead of one. 

2. Build a new healthier habit.

  • Keep the healthy stuff in sight. Put the healthy stuff in prominent locations in the fridge, not so healthy stuff in the back.
  • Set a designated eating place in the  house. Restrict your eating to this one place.
  • Separate eating from other activities. No more watching TV while eating. :(
  • Use smaller dishes - ones that better fit the correct portion size. You are less likely to feel 'cheated' if using smaller dishes with the correct portions. Correct portions and large dishes makes you feel like you are eating nothing.
  • Don't eat while cooking/baking. (Ohhh, the calories I must consume before we are ready to eat!!)

Shopping: Yep, this can be troublesome for all of us. Make a list. Stick to it! Don't go to the store hungry. Don't be a slave to coupons. Just because it is on sale - doesn't mean it is good for you.

Examine your habits...

Make a plan. Figure out what your 'bad' habits are and make a plan to change them. Write it down. There is something about having something in writing that helps to stick to the plan!

So - what are your habits? How do you plan to change them?

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