4 Tips to Avoid Overeating Traps
Food is everywhere you look, am I right?
Finding it at the grocery store and farmer’s market is a given, but then it’s practically every other place your day takes you: You stop for gas on the way into work and there are cookies and chips and jerky lined up like little toy soldiers. Work is even worse, with a pastry spread in the break room and a vending machine full of delights tempting you every time head to the copy room.
When you spend the afternoon volunteering in your kid’s classroom, of course there’s a birthday party going on. Of course. And that means cupcakes with little pink sparkles are everywhere you turn! But it’s not over yet, oh no, the networking mixer after work? Obviously there’s even more food, including your weakness, cubed cheese.
Sigh. Since there is something delicious to be consumed everywhere you turn, avoiding overdoing it may feel impossible. However, you’ve made a commitment to health and weight loss, so coming up with some smart strategies to avoid overeating it is your best bet.
Learn how to say “no” to food pushers. Your mother probably taught you to always be polite, so turning down the generous offer of another slice of pie might be tough. Smiling and saying, “no, thank you” is always the first tactic to try, but if you want to add something on, like “I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next week so I’m trying to watch what I eat,” or “I’m taking a little break from sweets right now,” go for it. If you absolutely can’t say no, try, “I’d love another piece, but I’m going to have to take it to go!” That way you can dispose of it after you’re away from the food pusher, give it to someone else, or save it for another time.
Throw out your kids’ leftovers. Oh my gosh, I know how tempting it is to eat that last little piece of whatever your child left on her plate. Those three bites of mac and cheese are calling your name. Eating just a few bites of hot dog won’t hurt, will it? You can’t let that cookie go to waste, your grandmother baked those! All those excuses you’re making? Stop. It may seem like just a little, but if you do it every day, two or three times a day, you’re probably eating hundreds and hundreds of extra calories a week. Take a stand today: Promise yourself that you’ll throw away (or save, if there’s enough) your kids’ leftovers and you will not eat them, no matter what.
Make snacks work for you. Snacking is a great way to avoid getting way too hungry before your next meal, but make sure you’re not consuming a meal’s worth of calories in the process. Pick smart snacks, like sugar free yogurt, hummus and carrots, or nuts and fruit. Pre-portion your serving at the beginning of the work week so they’re easy to grab and go (and so you don’t end up with a bottomless bag of chips next to you), and for Pete’s sake, don’t buy the biggest bag the store sells; if you do, you might feel like you “have” to eat it, which leads to eating more than your body wants or needs.
Keep meal times regular. A routine for eating is great. Say you’ve decided you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and a little something after dinner each night. That way, if you eat breakfast before you leave the house and run into that amazing pastry spread once you get to work, it’s easy to remind yourself that you’ve already eaten breakfast and you’re going to wait until lunch for your next meal. (If the pastries are really special, like they’ve been flown in from Paris, then scoop one up and just eat it with your lunch; no need to suffer.) If you’ve already had your afternoon snack and your coworker comes by shilling cookies for a school fundraiser, go ahead and buy them, but remind yourself that you can have one after dinner and that for now you’re good.
What aspect of diabetes management do you struggle with most?