Saturday, January 8, 2011

Choice: You have one, so make one!

Stop.  Think.  Choose.  Reflect.

For many people, food is a malevolent force that sneaks up behind them and yells, “Surprise!”  Somehow that bag of chips or tray of cookies made it from the cupboard all the way down your throat... and you realize afterward that may not have been the best idea. 

Hunger isn't the only reason people do this.  We all eat for many reasons, including:
  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Control
  • Love
  • Fulfillment
  • Social acceptance
  • Necessity

The good news is that you can stop the "food assault" before it starts.  Take a moment before you reach for that third piece of pizza or container of ice cream.  Stop.  Think.  Then choose.  As a dietitian, I don’t really care what the outcome of that choice is but I want you to make it.  The food doesn’t have any feelings about being eaten, but I guarantee that you will have feelings about eating too much.  Again.

Why choose?  The act of choosing isn’t to get you to stop eating, it’s to help you take an active role in your gastronomic life.  The triple venti machiatto doesn’t have control over whether it glides down your throat--that's your call.  Decide what you want and then do it, guilt-free.  If the machiatto was a bad idea, acknowledge that fact and decide what you would do differently in the future (like a double latte).  Then move on.

Stopping and making a choice allows you to do just that.  Eventually, you'll start connecting your actions with their consequences and start to make different decisions. 

Your Plan:
  1. Stop before or during your snack/meal.  Decide what you want and how much.  Choose.
  2. After you eat, assess whether you made a sound decision.  How do you feel?
  3. Decide what you will do differently in the future.

Example:
  1. I’ve had two pieces of pizza and I'm kind of full, but this pizza is DELICIOUS and I don’t want to stop.  I’m choosing a third piece of pizza because I would find that mentally satisfying.
  2. Oh my goodness.  That third piece of pizza was too much.  I feel horrible!
  3. Next time we have pizza, I’ll remember what this feels like.  When it comes to making my choice about how many pieces of pizza to eat, I’m going to choose to have two instead of three.
Give it a shot, let me know what you think.  You can do this!



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