We all know the classic phrase, “dance like no one’s watching.” Basically, dance with wild abandon. I agree with this idea in theory…when it comes to dancing.
But not when it comes to eating.
(if you’re trying to lose weight)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. When I got back from my travels, I noticed something interesting. I felt lighter. Just a bit thinner. It definitely felt like I had shed a couple of pounds.
I thought this was so weird. I hadn’t been following any exercise routine at all (I walked a lot, but that was it – no running, no yoga, etc). I wasn’t cutting out any certain food group or sticking to a specific diet (in fact, I ate at restaurants for every meal for 2 weeks, and felt like I really indulged). I wasn’t even paying attention to my weight whatsoever. So what gives?
As soon as I got home and had my first day alone without my travel companions, I found myself mindlessly walking to the kitchen out of boredom to get a snack, and then eating it without really thinking about it at all. The snack was gone and I hadn’t even paid attention to it. That’s when it hit me.
2 things were true while I was traveling:
1) I never ate alone
2) I never ate mindlessly of boredom
While I was away, every meal was like a celebration. I was always with someone else and we savored every new taste. There was no mindless snacking throughout the day, because I was always busy doing things with people. I had packed a big bag of raw almonds, and I just grabbed a handful of those anytime I felt hungry. I realized, there’s a big difference between reaching for a handful of almonds when you feel physically hungry vs. aimlessly looking around the kitchen for food out of boredom or habit.
Part of my trip involved going to the IIN Mega Conference, where Geneen Roth was a speaker. Geneen is an expert on emotional eating, and she has a list of “Eating Guidelines” to help people be more mindful when it comes to their eating habits.
The one that struck a chord with me the most was this one:
When she said that, I found myself nodding in agreement. This, I thought, could really be the key to weight loss (for some people). A lot of people who struggle with weight issues also have a habit of overeating when they’re alone, or eating things when they’re alone that they might not eat in front of others. When it’s your emotions running the eating show instead of physical hunger, that can often be a clear path to weight gain.
So. If this strikes a chord with you, here are a couple of things you can try to put this guideline into action:
- Before you eat something, ask yourself if you’d eat the same food (or the same amount of food) if you were in full view of everyone you know. Most likely, if you’re overeating or emotionally eating, you wouldn’t.
- Start a food journal and write down everything you eat. That way, you’re being accountable to someone, even if it’s just you and a piece of paper. Even if you do eat mindlessly or overeat out of boredom, write it down. You’ll start to become more aware of when this is occurring and eventually you may be able to stop the habit in its tracks before it happens.
- Find a buddy to check in with about your food – ideally someone else who can relate. It helps to take pictures of what you’re about to eat with your smart phone and send it to your buddy.
So what do you think? Does this eating guideline resonate with you?