Have you lost count of the times you’ve told yourself today is going to be different and you are not going to over eat?
Is tomorrow going to be the day you finally get control of your eating?
After a stressful day at work it can be really tough to resist temptation and to avoid finding yourself adding your favourite ready meal to your shopping basket. And it can be really challenging not to add that dessert you love so much and that nice bottle of wine as well!
Then, once you’ve arrived home, how easy is it to tuck straight into your ready meal and crack open the wine. And when finished, you remember you’ve got that dessert in the fridge and one portion won’t hurt will it…or is it two?
All a little too easy to devour, especially when you’re sitting in front of the TV. And then all too quickly you’ve found you’ve eaten the lot, leaving you feeling bloated, guilty and wondering “why did I do that…AGAIN?
If this sounds familiar then here are 3 tips, which my clients have found very useful in these situations.
1. Become A Conscious Eater
Always sit down at a table when you eat your meal, don’t eat in front of the TV or your computer – in those situations you are eating unconsciously, you are in effect on autopilot, and will eat more than you probably intend.
Debbie tried this said she ate less and in addition found she got more pleasure out of her food. She really started to notice the taste and texture of her food, she was more focused on what she was eating and was able to savour it more.
Because she was now eating her evening meal at the table with her partner, rather than just having a TV dinner, she said they started to talk more and share things about their day.
She has a full on job and not only did she find it helped reduce her stress levels when she talked about her day, she said it also improved their relationship. A fantastic positive knock on effect, all through just making one simple lifestyle change!
2. Be More Tortoise
How fast do you eat your mail meal? As a slow eater myself, I’m amazed at the number of people who have told me they eat their main meal in 4 minutes or less.
So, move into the slow lane at meal times and aim to take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal.
Eating slower allows the signals produced by the satiety hormones released by your stomach and gut that say you’ve eaten enough, time to reach your brain so you stop eating and feel satisfied sooner.
One lady told me that she couldn’t possibly take that long to eat her evening meal, she had always eaten fast. She was also worried that she would just forget. So to help herself she used the timer on her phone to keep track of how long she took to eat.
She gradually increased the time she took to eat her meal by 2 minutes each day until after a couple of weeks she was taking around 25 minutes.
She surprised herself about how easy she had been able to slow down her eating and reported that she now not only started to enjoy her food much more, but that she felt fuller sooner and didn’t go on to have that second portion that she used to.
3. Why Size Matters
It may sound simple but studies have shown people eat less if they use a smaller plate at meals times. One study showed that reducing plate size from 12 to 10 inches resulted in 22% less calories being consumed (Journal of Consumer Research 39: 215–228).
Connie* told me how she had gone out and bought a smaller plate as she only had large dinner plates at home.
She was concerned that she would then just have 2 or more of the smaller platefuls of food, but, in combination with eating slower and conscious eating, she found she felt full after just one plateful.
She reduced her portion size, felt satisfied sooner and so then didn’t have the urge to go and have a dessert or a large piece of cake afterwards.
So, how do you go about creating these new habits?
Well firstly I would say go easy on yourself, trying to do all of the above in one go may be too much, so just pick one and then stick to it.
At first, like learning any new skill, you will have to carry out these new behaviours consciously. So remind yourself to do them, e.g. leave Post-it notes on the cupboard to use a smaller plate or remind your self to use a timer at meals times.
Tell family and friends what you are doing so they can support and remind you.
Science has shown that it takes around 60 days of repetition for a new skill to become a habit; something that you do unconsciously without having to think about it.
So repeat, repeat, repeat and soon you will find yourself doing these new behaviours automatically, without so much as a second thought!
And rule one, if you have a wobble and divert from your new healthy eating plan, is to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself; remember, tomorrow is another day.
I really love this saying and I tell it to everyone I work with. It is the realisation that “taking a step back after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a Cha Cha Cha.”As a Latin American and ballroom dancer I can really relate to that!
And don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back every time you succeed, that is something we just don’t do often enough.
The good news is that my clients find themselves adopting these new habits more easily, and much quicker, than they might once of thought, which is really great because it shows that they can still surprise themselves in what they can achieve.
They really start to enjoy healthy eating, which means they lose weight, gain confidence and feel much better about themselves.
And remember: Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out. ~Robert Collier
P.S If you have found this post helpful, please use the icons below to share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+