As I see it, the big pain about dieting (and you’re thinking; Is there anything that is not a big pain about dieting?) Is that it forces you to think about food. Dieting takes a lot of thought, and planning and preparation, and it’s all about food. And so you’re thinking about food. And the more you think about food, the more you want it, and the more you want it, the more you think about it, and … until it becomes an obsession, even if you do not normally obsess about food. You’re on a diet now, so you’re obsessing. You’re life is all about “When do I get to eat next and what do I get to eat next and is that on my diet?” So the best way to lose weight? Stop thinking about food. Yes, you’re wondering, but how do I do that? We just established that dieting takes a lot of thought, planning and preparation. Yes, it does, so here’s how you stop thinking about it and start improving your diet results:
- Plan and prepare, but limit it to once a week, or even less often if possible. Put your weekly menu on auto-pilot. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a handy little machine that seals food in plastic bags for freezing. The freezer is your friend. I freeze nearly everything, even milk. Lettuce does not freeze well, but other vegetables do. Blanch them, put them in the bags and freeze them. Seal them with the gadget once they’re frozen and write the date on the bags. For lettuce, get romaine. It lasts longer than other varieties, and invest in those green “as seen on TV” produce bags that keep your produce fresher longer. They really do work. I’ve seen them at Rite-Aide and Target. The local dollar store has a less expensive brand. And speaking of the dollar store, I buy plastic baskets that I label with each month and use them to keep the freezer bags organized by month so that I can cycle through the inventory by age and keep my stash fresh. So, you’re planning way ahead. You do not need to think about what you’re going to eat. It’s a done deal.
- Get busy. The times that I’ve lost weight easily, were times when I was super busy … too busy to think about food and too busy to even eat. Eating was just what it should be, an activity whose only function was to provide fuel. It was not to satisfy cravings. It was not to fill emotional voids. It was not to tie boredom. But, you say, you ARE super busy. You have a husband, kids, a dog, and a job. Well how do you have time to eat three bowls of ice-cream at night then? The busyness does need to be more engaging than food and it needs to be incompatible with food. Sometimes being super busy is as simple as being really engrossed in a good book. My Grandmother used to crochet in front of the TV at night. If someone bought her a bowl of ice-cream, it would melt in the bowl before she got around to eating it, because following the crochet pattern and counting stitches was more engrossing to her than eating ice-cream.
- Do not let yourself get really hungry. Carry a “food bag.” Small packages of nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, string cheese, fruit; whatever works for you. Prevent the “I’m going to eat everything I can get my hands on” attack before it gets to that. I find that a hand full of nuts on the way home from work helps prevent the “what am I going to eat” and the “I’m starving” thoughts. Remember, we’re trying to not think about food. Stuff some in your face before you have a chance to think about it and make what you’re stuffing in satisfying enough to abate hunger. For me, that means I need a little fat and a little protein. Carbs / sugar is optional. For you it may be a different mixture. So now you’ve planned way ahead so meals are a done deal. You’ve given yourself more engrossing thoughts than thinking about food. And you judiciously apply food to prevent hunger thoughts.
You’re good to go, are not you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. If any of it works for you? Or not? Or any other helpful suggestions.
Copyright Patricia O’Neal