No matter how serious you are about watching your weight, practicing portion control, and maintaining good eating habits, it’s easy to find yourself in certain situations that can really test your willpower.
Here are some common “danger zones” to watch out for when you’re trying to stick to a healthy, low-calorie eating plan.
Eating in Front of the TV
The problem with eating in front of the TV is that you’re not giving your meal or snack your full attention. Realistically, though, if you’re alone, you might want the TV for company. “If you are going to watch TV and eat, prepare your meal fully and portion it out. Once you’ve eaten what’s on your plate, stop. Also, give yourself a set time frame. Eat during just one half-hour show and not all night with the TV on.
Eating Smart at the Buffet
Here’s a way to approach the buffet table without overeating: Start by taking a walk around the buffet first before you start loading your plate. Look at everything that is offered. Make note of what in particular stands out as your favorite choices. Then decide on one protein, side and vegetable and even one dessert choice (one not three) from your favorites. Add to one plate with small portions and stop. By walking the buffet first you are more mindful of making healthier choices, rather then just adding everything that looks good that is down the line as you go. This helps by taking less of the unhealthy choices. Also filling up your plate according to food groups helps you be more in control and have a sense of what you’re eating.
Weekend or Week long Indulgences
Don’t turn a one day of extra eating into a weekend or week long affair. People rationalize by saying, “I’m already overeating, so I’ll wait until Monday to resume my good eating habits. It’s fine to overindulge for an evening, but start back on your eating plan with portion control immediately afterward. Don’t turn a fun evening into a regret by not taking back control. Having a nite off from your regular healthy eating routine is fine on occasion. And can actually be good to do to keep from “diet Burnout”. Because no one gets fat from one evening of extras. Just remember to limit it to just at that party or evening. Give yourself a specific time-frame to enjoy and then resume your healthy eating.
Avoid Dining-Out Diet Disasters
Never arrive at the table famished. It’s really hard to maintain good eating habits and have portion control when you’re starved. To avoid overeating, have a small snack like few carrots or almonds before you leave to meet your friends. Skip the over flowing basket of chips and bread that starts the meal. you are more likely to consume as much calories on these foods then your whole meal when you are more hungry. Make a decision at the beginning of the meal to choose to have a drink or a dessert with your meal but only choose one not both. If you’re drinking alcohol, limit yourself to one drink at most to save on calories and keep from getting inebriated and losing your self-control. Stay away from jumbo sized cocktails. Stick to low calorie sippers like a glass of wine.
A Vacation is a big change in your routine and a chance to relax a bit. But you don’t want to relax to the point that you lose too much ground from your weight loss so far. A good way to avoid overeating while on vacation is to decide each morning which of your three meals will be your special one. Keep it to one indulgent meal a day, not three. One day it might be breakfast, the next dinner. Having one meal a day that is beyond your normal eating habits and higher in calories is fine as long as you’re not doing this all day. If you want dessert, share the portion with fellow vacationers or just limit to one sweet treat a day and watch the alcohol.
Meals on the Go
Pack healthy meals and exert portion control on snacks for when you’re traveling. Don’t leave it up to the chance what you will find on the road because you never know what is going to be available. If you pack non-perishables and don’t eat them because you found a good restaurant, you can save them for later. Portion your snacks in individual baggies. If you must take the original bag, include a measuring tool so you can eat the right portions.
Some people find themselves overeating when they’re upset or under stress. If you’re having an emotional time, the solution is to be conscious of how your eating habits are being affected. Keep a food journal to help you see the portion sizes you’re eating. Another trick is to do something fun that doesn’t involve food to distract you from your worries. Get your nails done. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and have a long chat. Take a hike. Ride a bike.
Eating on the Job
When you’re really busy at work, you tend to eat quickly and not pay attention to portions or calories. Again, the answer to portion control is to plan ahead. Pack lunches and snacks the night before that will fill you up during the day. You won’t have to run to the convenience store around the corner and grab the first thing you see or risk overeating. Also, force yourself to stop work for just 30 minutes to eat. You need the break, and you’ll feel fuller if you take time out to eat.
When you’re overtired, it’s easy to eat mindlessly and before you know it, you’re overeating 1,000 extra calories. One solution is to take a nap rather than reach for another portion of peanut butter cookies. If it’s late at night and you’re about to start overeating, go to bed rather instead of wandering into the kitchen.