Here’s a cool concept that I learned from Joanne Donovan, a nutritionist. Instead of waiting until presented with food choices, pause and think ahead to what’s likely going to be available and “Pre-decide” what to eat and what to avoid. Don’t wait until you see a menu to think about what to eat. It’s too tempting. Instead, look at the menu online or figure out what’s likely on the menu or at the buffet or the pot-luck to “pre-decide” what you’ll choose to eat and drink.
By stopping to consider what you’ll choose, you can avoid a lot of “on-the-fly-I-need-to-treat-myself-with-food” decisions. Or, I’m so hungry, I’ll eat all the bread or chips or cheese and crackers while I think about what to have. This avoids unconscious eating and drinking.
By scanning the menu online before you go to a restaurant, you can “pre-decide to skip dessert, have an appetizer as an entry and only have 1 glass of wine.
Or you might decide to have a salad and dessert only. When you consider the type of restaurant, you pretty much know what’s going to be on the menu. This way you when going out for Mexican, you might pre-decide to skip the chips and order Fajitas. If it’s Japanese, maybe having sashimi and miso soup. For Italian, skipping the bread and dessert and have soup and salad.
Savor every bite
When you go out, skip the foods that you can eat anytime you like, you know what I mean, the basket of bread, the basket of chips, etc. Instead, enjoy the special foods that you might not make at home or have access to in other restaurants.
When you do have your favorite foods, slow down, enjoy and savor each and every bite. Make the most of the experience.
Limit alcohol as it really weakens any resolve you might have struggled to maintain. Once people have a drink, they’re more likely to eat high calorie foods they normally wouldn’t as a treat.
- Fill up on Water. That’s right, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and herbal tea to help you feel full, especially after dinner.
- Avoid eating anything after 7pm, as your body will tend to store those nutrients as fat, instead of burning them up.
Do a Pantry Audit
- Go through your pantry and fridge and throw out any tempting foods that might derail you. Give unopened items to the local food bank, like the 2 extra bags of chips, packages of cookies, and any other foods with empty calories. Or bring them to work.
- As you’re going through your fridge and pantry ask yourself if you have what you need to make healthy meals with lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains.
- Make a shopping list only for the ingredients you need. Pre-decide not to buy any foods that will add empty calories. Commit to finding and making healthy recipes with nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and whole grains that you like and you know you’ll eat.
- Try to be aware of unconscious eating, like when you’re angry and you find yourself standing in front of the open fridge mindlessly chowing down on last night’s take-out.
- Avoid sodas and fruit juice, opt instead for flavored club soda or water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Do eat a balanced breakfast that has protein, this helps your blood sugar stay on a nice even level without a lot of highs and lows that can lead to cravings and binge eating at lunch.
- Try yogurt with a little granola, nuts and a few blueberries.
- Scrambled eggs with cheese, avocado and salsa will help you feel full all day
What have you pre-decided to eat and why?
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