No backup cupcakes needed….

One of my faithful readers left the following comment about yesterday’s post:

How do you stay motivated to say no to junk food during the work day? I think I need to make sure I have NO CASH for vending machines, for starters. But how do you resist the junk your co-workers bring in? Or do you just practice moderation? I need some practical tips, dear!  

These are great questions and I thought I would share my response as a post for everyone to see. Maybe some of you will also comment on today’s post and share your own insights. Something that works for me might not work for you so it is important to take what I say with a grain of salt and not get discouraged. Trust me; finding out what works for you is harder than implementing it. As always, practice moderation- I think it is very important to never feel like you are depriving yourself.

When dieting, one thing I think is important to understand is what kind of eater you are. I think you need to understand why you eat the way you do in order to change-up your habits or implement control methods.  How can you expect to be successful at changing your behaviors if you don’t understand what you are doing wrong?  This is something I had to focus a lot of my attention on in order to make smart dieting decisions. I found that I fall into three categories; stress eater, grazer, and food lover and needed to think of how I could control each one.

Stress eating: I think this is a pretty common behavior. I don’t know if I would ever be able to eliminate all stressors from my life so I needed to change my behaviors from stress eating to stress exercising, stress venting, stress tweeting, etc. Now, when I am stressing about something I turn to my friends, the gym, or social networking to let off some steam. God help me if Paul ever gets a twitter account. I have found these options to be just as satisfying as eating a candy bar and probably even more helpful because it forces me to confront my issues head on instead of just burying them.

Grazing: I am pretty sure I could win any contest that involves eating slowly for a long period of time. I am definitely the type of person who likes to snack while I am watching a movie or TV. I can just snack and snack and I end up finishing whatever is in front of me. I have mindlessly eaten a whole bag of chips, twizzlers, cookies, etc. without even realizing it. If there is food in front of me I will eat it. For this problem I took on two different approaches. One, spend less time on my couch. This is made easier because of my workout routine. I have less free time at home so therefore I have less time on the couch. I am making a conscious effort to reduce how much time I spend watching TV but I have not eliminated it completely. So when I find myself relaxing on the couch and I feel the need to munch I try to choose healthy options. I will eat a plate of carrots and celery or some fruit. For me, when it comes to grazing/snacking, I really don’t care what I eat so I don’t feel like I am losing out by eating carrots versus potato chips.

Food Lover: I love food. I love to eat it, I love to cook it, and I love the experiences associated with it. I love trying new foods and that feeling of satisfaction I get from testing the limits of my cooking abilities, i.e. chocolate soufflé for Valentine’s Day.  This is the reason why I decided to stick with the slim fast shakes, because it allows me to continue to have one meal a day of my choosing. I never feel like I am dieting because I am not limiting myself of any foods. I just focus on limiting the portion size of the meals I eat and try to make healthy choices when I can. I also don’t skip dessert.

Most nights my dessert is a banana (sometimes with peanut butter) but if I am out I will have a cupcake or mini parfait if I feel like it. If there is cake at work, I will take a small slice to have with my lunch but I always eat everything else I brought for lunch first. If someone is pushing Girl Scout cookies in my face I will take one, and then quickly give them back. One is enough to satisfy the craving and as long as they aren’t still in front of me I am ok with having just the one.

I have heard you should never grocery shop hungry but I try not to go most places hungry. For example, Paul and I went to the movies Sunday evening around dinner time. We had gone out for lunch earlier in the day but I knew if I didn’t have a shake and a snack before the movie I would want to eat while I was there. To make matters worse we were at the Alamo Drafthouse which offers a full menu and they had pizza in a cup because we were there seeing ‘The Jerk’. Since I wasn’t hungry I was able to avoid pigging out during the movie, just some ice water for me. I did have a bite of the pizza in a cup but I just had to try it- it was probably my only chance to ever have some and I was ok with that decision.

So to recap, these are my guidelines that help me stick to my diet:

  • Find better alternatives to stress eating since stress will always be a part of life
  • Spend less time on the couch
  • Try to choose healthier snacks
  • Eat foods that make you feel satisfied
  • Don’t skip dessert, and yes fruit counts as dessert
  • Don’t pass on the office foods, just moderate portion sizes and eat some good, healthy stuff first
  • Never go anyplace that has or sells food while you are hungry
  • Drink lots and lots of water
  • Find the balance you need to feel satisfied with your food choices; don’t be too hard or too easy on yourself
  • Most importantly- everything in moderation. You don’t need to buy a backup cupcake just in case you don’t like the first one. One cupcake is plenty. You will survive.

I know nothing I am saying is new and I am sure you have heard it all before. It is different to know the things you should be doing versus actually implementing them into your life. That is what I am working towards every day, implementing these changes that will help me follow and maintain a healthy, or at least healthier, lifestyle.

Thanks for reading!

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March 9, 2011. Tags: , , , . Diet, obesity.

3 Comments

  1. Dacia replied:

    This is a comment my friend emailed me, she can’t get it so she can post comments on here. I am sure it is something I messed up when I set up the blog- I am so not tech savy. LOL!

    i stack my house/work desk with healthy snacks. that way when a craving comes on literally my only options are to eat an apple or nothing. either way, WINNER. haha. had to sheen that.

    also eat at your table. and only your table. this worked for me because i couldnt see the tv from the table. so eating was separate and i wasnt allowed to eat in front of the tv. that way the sitting at tv boredom didnt get filled with fillers of food, but i knitted a blanket and stuff…

    and a good low cal dessert (you can keep it under 100 cal) is sugar free dark chocolate pudding and fat free cool whip. i mix them together and its like a poor lady’s chocolate mousse. pudding is 60 cals and cools whip is maybe 20 cal for 2-4 tablespoons. perfect dot of sweetness without wrecking all the workouts!

  2. jamesandjax replied:

    This is my favorite post yet on your blog! I love bulleted lists. Especially when the bullets are so helpful. I might type this out and save it into a note on my iphone so that it’s handy when I need it. I’m grateful spring is coming because the weather alone helps me live healthier. I will get outdoors more often (less time on the couch) and will drink more water (being more active & the warm weather both will make me thirstier). Plus, the fruit is always better in the spring & summer. Alternatives to stress eating are more plentiful when it’s nice outside. It’s easy to take a walk around the block to ease tension when it’s a balmy 80-degree summer night, you know?

    I’m not too much of a stress eater—but I am definitely a stress tweeter! And my husband DOES have a twitter account, but so far he hasn’t divorced me, haha. I’m not too much of a grazer, though I do like to eat many small things over the course of a day. However, I am a definite food lover, and that’s how I get into trouble.

    I have one more tip I didn’t see on here—I try to limit myself to eating only between the hours of 9 and 7. I don’t eat first thing after waking up (I need time to figure out if I’m even hungry and what exactly I want to eat, or else I’d grab the first thing I saw, like a donut or poptarts, because it’s easy & right there) and I rarely eat anything after dinner. If I do, it’s close to dinner time so that I still have a few hours to burn it off before bed.

    You’re doing a great job, Dacia, both with your healthier lifestyle and with blogging!

  3. jakennicksmomma replied:

    You are so well written! You have some great ideas.

    I am totally a bordom eather. I am also a sneak eater. You might ask what is that.

    Its aweful and embarrasing to admit. I will buy things and hide them in the cupboard. M is not really that observative and will not see it there. I will gorge. I don’t tell anyone and eat it all quickly.

    Somewhere along the line I also became an obessive eater. If I for instance think about a donut, I will have it on my mind until I eat one, whether its one day or a week later. It happens with good things like a salad too, but usually bad things.

    Your tips are great, and another thing that works for me was doing weight watchers. That way there were clear cut rules I had to follow and I could eat whatever I wanted but I had limits in place.

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