If you love food, like me, you may often find it very difficult to stop thinking about eating. Sometimes, I begin to look forward to my next meal as soon as I finish eating. I am referring to "mindless" eating that occurs while full, not sincere physical hunger. The time in between meals begins to feel like forever.
During a busy day, it can feel easier to practice portion control. However, once the evening and/or weekend arrives, you find yourself with free time to focus on food.
People that are losing weight may find that they are able to lose a few pounds during their busy work week, only to regain the same weight during the weekend. This rebound effect is generally a reflection of change in eating patterns. I've found that it can feel more difficult to practice portion control and patience between meals when I have more free time and fewer distractions.
My favorite solution to this is eating more often! Eat 5-6 Meals a Day! You should have 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day; breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and an optional snack spaced 2-3 hours apart. Decreasing the amount of time between meals helps make portion control habits feel a lot less difficult.
You still have to work within your calorie budget. It helps to make sure your "snacks" are smaller than your meals. You may break the calories up however you choose. For example, to consume 1800 calorie day, have 400 calories for breakfast, lunch and dinner and 200 calories for 3 snacks.
If your schedule feels overwhelming or you don't think you have the time, I beg you to give it a try for at least one weekend. I promise it’s simple and the ability to eat more often makes portion control easier.
When this is not enough to limit mindless eating habits, I create distractions between meals.
My Favorite Distractions:
We all claim to have such busy lives and long "to do" lists, yet we still find ourselves with the time to obsess over food and eating. When I find myself unable to take my mind off eating, I take look at my inner "to do" list. I lose myself in the task, lose the temptation to eat, plus I end up with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Because I have not only marked something off my "to do" list, I’ve also conquered my temptation to eat while full.
Some examples of items on my list are email, paying bills, cleaning, phone calls, manicures, etc. Even cooking can help. Do NOT sample or taste along the way, and cooking the next meal will help pass the time. I often use writing this blog as a distraction. Thank you readers! Take a look at your "to do" list, to find distractions the next time you can't get food off of your mind.
Extremely Low-Calorie "Food”
Sometimes you just have to eat something — anything. You tried to wait, but you cannot fight the urge. Not today! I get it and I empathize. I know that if you don't keep some low-calorie food options for these moments, you will cave and eat something you will regret. The trick is to keep the calorie count at a maximum of 50. I love a cup of cocoa. Also try a sugar-free popsicle, cup of fruit flavored tea, sugar-free hard candy, and yes, even the often recommended stick of gum can help. Just remember to stay within the 50 calorie limit. Check the grocery store for some low-calorie favorites, for your next weak moment.
Remember It Worked for Me! And It Can Work for YOU!