Saturday, June 4, 2016

Do you overeat? Me too. Hey, let's work on that.

Right off the bat, I have to say that I do not want to be giving this advice to people who are already in some way, in any way limiting what they eat. I am not on a diet, I am not trying to lose weight, I simply want to stop eating when I'm bored or when I, for whatever reason, get the urge to eat. Please eat if you're hungry and are able to; there are many people who don't have that luxury.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about our problem. This is not binge-eating disorder (BED) this is just a casual problem that, in my case, doesn't have any adverse effects on my physically right now as a 20-year-old who works out, but it likely will when my metabolism slows down in the years to come. I eat when I'm bored. I eat when I have a craving. I eat after looking at food blogs on the internet. I eat when I watch TV. I eat if food is around. I don't quit eating after I'm already full. And, lastly, I feel obligated to eat all of the food that I get in one sitting if the other option is just to throw it away (buffets and school dining halls).

While I am not currently experiencing the degree of success that I would like to, I do have a few methods that have been helping, and I would like to share them with the world.

1. Cool it with the pre-prepared food.

It's handy to have frozen chicken nuggets handy at all times. They taste awesome and they're quick and they satisfy just about everyone. But I find that something that really helps me (and it tends to be healthier, as you're controlling exactly what is going into your body) is making your own food.

Gasp! Crazy concept, right? But I really mean it. I know this isn't new info, but just take a second to think about it.

I'm not only talking about full meals. I'm more so talking about snacks. Because what can be the most dangerous is taking that bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos into your room as you're streaming something from Netflix and then, poof! The bag is never heard from again. You aren't even thinking about it. One second the bag is there and the next you're crumpling it up and tossing it into the trashcan. And missing because you're completely supine in your bed.

I suggest finding either snacks that fill the sensation of wanting to munch on something (sugar snap peas or carrots come to mind immediately) but don't taste quite good enough to binge on. 

Or prepare your own personal appetizers to munch on. The other day, I fried up some tofu with melted cheese and wilted spinach on top. Relatively healthy, quite tasty and, most importantly, very time consuming. Now obviously I am a person with some time on her hands currently and that's why I'm filling the void with food. If this is you, then follow my lead and prepare your own snacks instead of buying the ready-made ones. Because, if they're not in the house, then they won't be in your mouth. If you don't have the time, then how are you eating so much anyway?

2. Drink. But not your calories!

People are so unaware nowadays of how much they're drinking their calories. That Starbucks drink? Yeah, the one currently condensating on your desk. Do you know how much sugar is in that? Prepare to frighten yourself. Or that cocktail last night or that juice that you had with breakfast. None of that is very good for you and you don't even think about it because it's not a meal!

Solution: fill the daily drinks in your life with healthier replacements and then return to them only as occasional indulgences.

Now, I have the good fortune of not liking a lot of drinks. I don't drink any alcohol by personal choice, so that's a great health benefit right there, but I also don't like most juice, smoothies, tea, or coffee. I still drink them, but only occasionally. Most people are not as lucky as me and have one of these liquids as their water.

First, think about why you're drinking them and then go from there.

Me? I like to get coffee from a local Starbucks-esque coffee shop to nurse while I read a good book or do some writing. I still do that occasionally--no more than once a week--but most of the time now I head home and drink some lemon water instead.

My lemon water!

Note: I despise lemon water.

It does not taste great. But it's good for you, it's an appetite suppressant, it has a good amount of vitamin C, and it fills the ambience I need for an activity while I read/write. It's a great solution. Now, this might not be what best suits your life, but it's an example. The main moral of the story is: have something basically calorie-less that you can have by your side instead of seeking out food. I suggest something like lemon-water (or cucumber water or maybe even a tea that's not too sweetened) or actual water. Just something to fix that oral urge of yours when you're not actual hungry.

3. Portion size!

Remember that bag of Doritos that didn't quite make it into the wastebasket? Well, it probably wouldn't have been that bad if the portion size hadn't been all wrong. I'm going to make this one quick. If you lack self-control, as I do, make a suitable portion size before you leave the kitchen (dump whatever it is either into a bowl or a bag) and then leave the kitchen. Don't go back.

Tips for this: invest in smaller bowls for your meals. With a smaller bowl, there is less temptation to shove the rest of that lasagna into the bowl and therefore into you.

Always go smaller than you think that you want, especially if you're hungry. Because you can go back and get more, but you'll probably end up satisfied with the smaller amount that you give yourself anyway. I promise.

4. Know what your triggers are.

If one of your triggers is looking at  food on the internet, just don't. It's as simple as that. Unfollow all of those blogs on tumblr and pinterest and only look up recipes when you really need them. Et cetera. If you know what your triggers are, then it's easier to avoid them.

5. Keep food out of your room. Keep it in the kitchen!

Now this one can be tough if you're living in a dorm room. But other than that, you have no excuse! If you're hiding food from someone, maybe you need to consider the fact that you really should be hiding it from yourself. I find myself eating when food is available. So, simply, make yourself work a little harder for it.

 These are literally right next to my bed right now. Don't do this!

6. Last but not least. Don't buy it just because it looks good.

As I touched on before, if it's not in your house, then you won't eat it. I happen to have the misfortune of living in a house with people with very different tastes and very little self-control when it comes to eating. My brother has the appetite of a hippo and the taste sophistication of a three-year-old. So we have endless frozen food for him to munch on. Then my prediabetic dad has the appetite of a hippo with the tastes of...the whole world. So we have the whole world. And my poor mother tries to cater to all of us. I bring more fruits and vegetables into the house, but we are all to blame for the constant array of baked goods.

Again, long story short: You don't need the sugary cereal, and if you do need it, you only need one. You only need one desert in the house at a time and if truly necessary, one desert for each person in the house. I could not tell you how much chocolate is currently in my house, much less the amount currently in my drawer. Don't impulse-buy. Go into the grocery store with a list and don't buy food at stores you're not intending to buy food from. Simple as that. And not buying food is never a missed opportunity, I promise. It will never be a long-standing regret.

If you take these ideas (not rules!) under consideration, you will be so proud of yourself every time you make the smarter decision. And soon that pride will be intoxicating. And then, before long, you'll choose that over the food.


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