Saturday, January 16, 2010

Healthy Habit for 2010: No Mindless Nibbling

If you are like me, your home was filled with (delicious) junk food over the holidays. We were guilty of making some of that food ourselves, but much of it came through our doors as holiday gifts intended for one or all of our family members. (I learned that elementary school teachers are blessed with lots of food gifts at Christmas time!)

At one point, I suddenly became conscious of how many times I walked through the house and mindlessly picked up a cookie from a cooling rack and started munching on it, or grabbed a Hershey's kiss from the candy dish and popped it into my mouth. (My husband received a HUGE tin of Hershey's kisses from a work associate!!) I know I consciously ate a lot of calories over the holidays, but I wonder how many calories I unconsciously ate?? It's a scary thought!

This experience prompted me to make it a habit for 2010 to stop all mindless nibbling. This sounds so simple, but may prove to be my most challenging goal! I mean, it's just so . . . mindless! ;) To help me develop this new habit, I plan to implement some or all of the following strategies:

1. Eat three small meals and two or three smaller snacks at planned times throughout the day, and don't let food pass over my lips at any other time. My meal times will be at approximately 7 AM, 12:30 PM, and 6:30 PM, with my planned snack times occurring at 10 AM and 3:30 PM.

2. Never eat while standing up or walking! (Ooops! I break that one all the time!) I will take the time to sit down and focus on every meal or snack.

3. Never eat in front of the TV or computer! (Ooops! Guilty here too!) I love to multi-task, and will often read email or blog posts while eating my snacks, and sometimes while eating my meals, depending on what the rest of the family is doing!! This has to stop! I read somewhere that Americans spend so much time researching what they should eat, but so little time eating it that they barely taste what they have eaten!

4. Slow down and savor my food! Many times we pop several pieces of chocolate into our mouths, one right after the other, because the taste never even registered in our brains! It is better to stop what we are doing for a moment, and eat one piece and really savor the sweet taste and the smooth feel and the satisfying way it melts in our mouths. Then, we are satisfied by one (or two) delicious piece(s) of Dark Chocolate -- and not the whole bag! :)

5. Always put food on a plate. This would obviously slow us down enough to make sure we know what we are doing, and prevents the walk-through-a-room-and-grab-a-cookie scenario!

6. Always pray before eating. If I pray God's blessing over my food before I eat it, it will definitely slow me down and make me think about what I am eating, and hopefully convict me if I am about to consume something I shouldn't. I will definitely be reminded of Tim Hawkins, who hilariously points out the ridiculousness of our eating Cheetos, while praying God will bless the food to the nourishment of our bodies -- like we think they are going to turn into carrot sticks on the way down! :)

7. Write down everything eaten in a day. This is a great strategy for increasing awareness of how much we are eating and how many calories we are consuming in a day. I have experimented with entering all of my food and activity into an on-line calorie counter, but I find it time consuming, and I'm never able to keep it up for long. I do enjoy using The Daily Plate and other calorie trackers, but based on past experience, it is doubtful that I will really stick with that.

These seven strategies should prove helpful in breaking the habit of mindless eating. Do you have a problem with this too? Have you discovered any other ideas for breaking this habit? If so, please share them in the Comments section.


Samantha said...

Chew gum between meals and snacks if you get bored!

kristilea said...

I do the same things. I've also implemented some of the things you've mentioned.
I agree too, with the gum. I have found it won't help if you are truly hungry, but if you are just bored, or are having cravings, it helps A LOT! My favorite is "Extra" sugar free gum.

I've cut out sweets alltogether. I just can't handle them. It's an addiction for me. If my husband bring something home, or if we go out to eat somewhere, I will have a little bit because it's controled and I can't over induldge, but that's it. I don't buy any and I certainly don't stock the house with them. The kids don't need it either, but if I do get some for them, I only buy enough for them and for one sitting, no extra left over.

I don't have time to do the calorie counting either. I know the calorie content of my usual meals. I have started a seperate blog just for my weight loss journey. I write down in it when I eat everyday and how much exercise I've gotten in (or not gotten in). It helps me to be accountable for what I'm eating and it shows me if there is any days or times where I am petticularly vulnerable.

dyslexic different thinking me said...

Okay you have HIT me between the eyeballs with this blog girlfriend!
You've spurred me on to imitate all that you've written as your goals.
Thanks for this great post! It's truly motivating and it came just when I needed it. (Having mindlessly eaten a ton of peanut M&Ms yesterday . . . sad hefty sigh . . .)

tlmalcolm said...

Don't you know the food you eat standing up has no calories???? Just kidding...all good ideas! And another I like is to drink a glass of water when you feel the urge to eat often we are thirsty not hungry when we are snacking mindlessly. I like selzter water that is vanilla flavored makes me think I'm having something yummy!!

dyslexic different thinking me said...

This blog was so good, I hope you don't mind that I linked to this off of my blog. What you've said is so meaningful - it should be shared.
Thank you again!

Noel said...

Tim Hawkins is VERY funny :D Oh the pounds I would have never gained and had to lose if I would just think BEFORE I eat!!!

Noel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca's Refining said...

So true! Confession: I also have many "mindless eating" habits. A shock I know! :) A big one for me is when I am on the phone...I tend to "graze" through the kitchen while talking....(doesn't food always accompany socializing?)
I am working on increasing my water intake! I need to focus on getting eight glasses in per day...that helps me to eat less too. (this becomes problematic for me though when I wait until evening to exercise....too much liquid in my system! :) )
I have also heard that we should eat on a smaller plate as that gives us the "correct" portion sizes, as well as "tricks" our brains into thinking we are eating more.
I also tried to buy more vegies this week ... and have told the kids I won't be baking cookies every week for their lunches...we all need to try and eat better!
Good news is (and bad) Sunday is Abby's birthday....buckey cheesecake!! :) (I don't even want to think about how many calories are in this one!!) Amber won't be home for her birthday in February, so we won't have another one until March!
We can do it! We can cut back (cutting out is a bit extreme, and probably unrealistic!) on the sweets, and eat better!

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