You are probably sick of reading weight loss tips. I don't blame you. You've heard them so many times. Eat less; exercise more, blah, blah, blah...
When you begin to delve into the psychology of weight loss, you find that it is actually very complicated. The reasons for being overweight are extremely varied and the obstacles that appear as you walk down the weight loss path are many and fierce. I have come up with a few tips to help you deal with some specific weight loss road blocks. Feel free to share your own, as they might just help someone else.
1) To Prevent Leaving The House To Get Binge Food
I am a big believer in environmental control. Meaning, if it's in the house, I will eat it. Also known as the "see food" diet. If I see food, I will eat it. So if you have learned to keep your house safe, there is always the danger that you might go back out and get binge food. To nip this behavior in the bud, when you get home, put your keys in the pocket of your "fat pants". Those are the pants, or any outfit will do, that you wore at your top weight and that made you feel your biggest. This will work for you if you are motivated more by the negative than the positive. If you are more motivated by the positive, put your keys in the pocket of an outfit that you'd love to be able to wear but is currently too small. Having to retrieve your keys in this way has stopped many a potential binge.
2) To Stop a Binge in Progress
You are eating an entire bag of cookies. At some point, during the eating, you have a thought like, "What am I doing?" That moment of awareness is your chance to change the behavior and stop the binge in progress. Take one more cookie out of the bag and set it aside (so you have something left and don't feel completely deprived), be chewing when you take the rest of the cookies and destroy them. I don't mean throw the neatly wrapped bag of cookies in the trash. That isn't safe enough for many of us. Garbage disposals work as do spraying the food with Endust (for example). If you are someone who regularly binges, watch for that moment of clarity next time and try this tip. The thought will be something like: "What am I doing?" "This doesn't even taste that good." "I'm full, why am I still eating?" "This is going to ruin my low calorie day." Use that moment to get rid of the rest of the food. Small steps like this will get you to where you want to go.
3) To Have Your Candy and Eat it Too
I'm going to share this publicly, even though it is weird. I hope it helps someone out there, and if it does, it was worth sharing. I love See's candy. It is the best chocolate on the planet, in my opinion. When I was heavy, I used to buy a pound box and bring it home. I would eat the entire thing in a very short time. I even went so far as to pretend it was a gift for someone else and had them wrap it. I was so embarrassed that it was all for me. (I'm sure I'm not the only large person who has done that.) Once I got thin, I weighed the Sees by the piece and found that each piece averaged 75 calories. In order to have my Sees, and eat it too, I found that if I just ate the chocolate off each piece, I could eat 4 pieces for the calories of 2. I throw out the center. It's weird, I know, but it can work. If you are sitting in front of a piece of cake, but really just want the icing, eat that first. You might be satisfied and not end up eating all cake and accompanying calories. Eat what you most want first.
4) To Eat Less But Not Notice It
There is an excellent book out there called "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink. He is a food researcher at Cornell and has written of his research into why we eat more than we think. One example of a study he did was to invite students to a Super Bowl party. They served chicken wings, separated the students into two groups and measured how much each group ate. One group had the bones cleared from their table and one group had the bones left on their table. The group whose bones were cleared ate significantly more than the group who could see their empty chicken bones. When you are aware of how much you are eating, you eat less. This is why keeping a food journal works so well. Also using smaller plates and bowls can fool you into eating less. Wansink advises using thin and tall wine glasses to avoid over-pouring. These little changes can add up to many pounds over time.
That's it for now. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.
If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss visit http://www.eatingdisordertherapist.comand take the survey.