Our eating is triggered by different factors. For example, there are the signals we get from both the brain and the stomach that say, “Feed me!”
But as you know, hunger signaling can be a lot more complex than that.
In fact, we get all kinds of signals each day and they can be triggered by different urges.
There is nervous nibbling, which many of us do both in the office and at home. There is social eating, like the coffee and donuts provided in the office in the morning. You may, for example, have had a nutritionally satisfying breakfast that you completed less than an hour earlier, but you partake in this custom of morning office pastries anyway.
As you know, the triggers urging you to eat can go on and on, and cost us that extra two or three hundred calories, here and there, that at the end of the year has led to a weight gain of ten or more pounds.
At times all of us feel helpless to control that urge to eat a little more, have a second dessert, and most commonly to eat when we’re not hungry. The most important thing we can do to derail runaway eating is to become aware of our own eating patterns. After all, we have no hope of controlling any aspect of our lives if we are not aware of what we are doing.
Here are four simple rules to follow that will allow you to eat smarter and smaller.
Rule #1: Become Aware Of Your Appetite Triggers
Here’s a real life example: Many of us can’t resist those delicious Cinnabons sold in shopping malls around the country. The product was designed to tempt your urge for something sweet. You see it, smell it, and you have to have it. That was the reaction the product designers meant for you to have. Becoming aware of that pattern means planning on not passing that spot; or having an alternative treat ready. Recognizing when and where you’re susceptible during the day to over indulging will make a significant difference in your quest to stay satisfied, without experiencing significant weight gain.
Rule #2: Buy Smaller Plates, And Use Them
This is such an easy trick that you’ll wonder why you never thought to do it before. Our culture has a tradition of using large dinner plates and then filling those plates to overflowing. Show me a packed plate and I’ll show you a packed pair of slacks. Instead, fill your plate but opt for smaller dinner plates going, for example, from a ten or twelve-inch diameter, to an eight-inch plate. You’ll be amazed by the difference that can make on your weekly caloric intake. Four ounces of pasta, versus six, or eight, makes a big difference when it comes to your pants size.
Rule #3: Never Engage In Mindless Eating
Television and a bowl of anything is a great example of mindless eating in action. Add sugar packed soft drinks to the mix and you’ve got the easiest way to gain unwanted pounds.
Rule #4: Keep The Food You Know You Should Not Be Eating Out Of The House
This final rule is the most important one of all. When you get that urge for a bowl of super-rich Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after dinner, the odds are less than one out of ten that you’ll get in the car and drive back to the grocery store just to buy that item. About 80% of the calories we consume each year comes out of our own kitchen pantry. The easiest calories to consume are the ones that are just a few feet away from our living room, bedroom, or backyard deck.
Be mindful of the foods you bring into your house and you will have won more than half of the battle to slim down and stay slim.