Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Not Letting Your Eyes Get Too Big for Your Stomach

This is so important because what you load-up on your plate can create an obligation for you to overeat. I think we can all agree that the great majority of us were "trained" as pups to eat everything we put on our plates. Now maybe it took us awhile for that lesson to be drummed into our little heads, but once we learned it we were programmed for life. I know that's the way it was for me because I was a pretty fussy eater when I was a kid and left food on my plate plenty of times. Once I grew up enough to appreciate what my well intentioned parents were trying to teach me, the light bulb went off in my head and all of a sudden I had this new respect for all things food. Hence forth, if it was on my plate it did not stand a chance of being left on it when the sparks stopped flying. Now, finishing my food became a badge of honor and a matter of great pride, as I preened myself on how much I was growing and how "big" I was getting. How big you got when you're growing up was more important if you're a guy, because it stood to reason that if you got big than no one was going to mess with you, and you'd automatically be able to fend for yourself, at least that was the underlying logic of the process. There's probably a scintilla of truth to that, because if you're big it will make most people think twice about treading on you. Problem is, we subconsciously carry that eating philosophy with us into adulthood.

My point here is to make you aware of your programming, so that you can make a conscious decision to override it. If you can do that you will have taken a big step towards taking control of your eating habits. The place to start is not creating an obligation, even if it's in your mind only, that is going to cause you to do something that runs contrary to what you are trying to achieve and your new way of being. You just make it so much easier on yourself when you exercise some restraint upfront rather than after you've loaded up your plate and now your faced with this huge guilt-laden burden of finishing what you took. You can always go back for seconds, that is if you are really still hungry and not going back for more out of pure gluttony!
Refer to Tip #1
Also, see Tip #5

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learning from Your Mistakes

In my last post I shared with you the mistake I made resulting from the head of steam I had going into making a batch of blueberry pancakes for myself the other morning. This "head-of-steam" got built up because of my excitement over finding a new whole-grain based pancake mix from a venerable brand like Quaker Oats, which I'm a big fan of because I eat their oatmeal at least three times a week. I do this mainly to soak up the cholesterol waiting in my digestive tract to be assimilated into my blood supply. However, I also have come to enjoy eating those oats very much, and they really fill you up and stick with you. They will hold you till it's time to eat lunch unlike cereals you add milk to that leave you wolfish after just an hour. A side benefit of eating oatmeal is the "morning constitutional" you have a short time later. There's something to be said about a good healthy evacuation in the morning! Enough about that here though because I digress.

The purpose of this post is to share with you how I learned from the previous day's mistake and resultant stuffing of myself to start out the day. I still had some batter left over and decided to have some pancakes again a couple of days later. There was enough to make a couple more cakes of about the same size when I first whipped-up the batch. Well I was about to repeat the same thing I did two days earlier just as a matter of routine. I got the first one cooking and had the second dollop ready to slap on the griddle when I pulled myself up short and asked "do I really want or need to do this again"? The answer was "no, I did not", because I was not that hungry to begin with, and even if I was, it would probably still have left me with that uncomfortable feeling of being stuffed again. Something I surely did not need to start the day off again. So I opted just to have the one I already had going on the griddle and be done with it. This left me a breakfast for another day and a good way to economize, which has become quite necessary in this do-with-less economy that we are in.

As it turned out that one pancake was plenty for me. It left me full but without that stuffed feeling. To think how close I came to repeating the same error I had made just a couple of days earlier gives me pause. Pause to think how many times we all just do things as a matter of rote, that mindless programming we all operate on a majority of the time. If we can just be more aware of what it is we are about to do, then that alone will go a long way to curtail our excesses. We just need to stop ourselves and ask "Do I really need to do this?". You have to be vigilant about whether or not what you are about to undertake squares with what your ultimate objective is. If it is contrary to that then I think you know what the right decision is. DON'T DO IT! 
Tip #1 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Setting Yourself up to Fail

I want to tell you how I set myself up this morning to overeat and be left with that uncomfortable feeling of being stuffed. We have to go back to yesterday when I was shopping at this small supermarket/convenience type store up the street from where I live. I was looking for some whole grain pancake mix, because I try to limit  my dough consumption to whole grain items as much as possible. Well I found this new product from an old-line company, Quaker Oats, and I decided to try it. I still had some blueberries left from my last purchase over a week ago, and I was looking forward to making a batch of blueberry whole grain pancakes with them. I love blueberry pancakes! The kind with the berries mixed in the batter. This business of sprinkling berries on top of your pancakes to me is the stuff of pretty pictures designed to whet your appetite. The blueberries are best mixed in the dough and cooked with it. This creates a flow of blueberry juice that you just don't get unless you cook them, because eaten raw they are really not a juicy berry. Tasty but not juicy. I load up the batter with em so that when cooked there's enough juice released that that you don't need to adulterate your cakes with any cloying syrup of any flavor.

So how did I set myself up for a stuffing? It was just the idea of having this new product that looked exciting, and I was invested in the idea of enjoying a nice batch of them with my blueberries mixed in. Where I went wrong was I got carried away with how much batter I dolloped onto the skillet. Now I only eat a short stack, that's two pancakes, so I'm thinking in the back of my mind that I had the portion thing covered, but I let my eyes get too big and made the size of each cake a little to big. When I was adding the batter to the skillet my thought process was "Is that enough"? after the first dollop. In hindsight, the answer was a certain yes because I don't have the capacity that I once had, but, no, my enthusiasm got the best of me and I thought "nah, that's not enough", so I added another dollop, not as big as the first one, mind you, but in retrospect more than big enough. Since I was cooking two pancakes, I doubled down. All the while, knowing in my heart of hearts I was making a mistake and setting myself up for discomfort. You see, one of the results of portion control is that after a while you can't eat as much as you did when you were gorging yourself on a daily basis, because your stomach shrinks. Anyway it was too late, I had made my decision, and being a member of the "clean-your-plate club" I was duty-bound to finish what I had started. It's a curious thing when we delude ourselves into thinking what we are about to do will be alright even though in our gut we know we are on an ill-fated course. We just seem to turn a blind eye to our better judgment and forge ahead as if it weren't so. Well I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that it is always so, and as I sit here and punch these words out I can also tell you that I am  uncomfortably full still. The reason why I am  sharing this tale with you is for the moral to take away, so that when you are faced with a similar circumstance hopefully you'll remember this little anecdote, and you will listen to that inner voice and pull yourself up short so as not to set yourself on a self-defeating course that you are "duty-bound" to stay on. The moral is to be keenly aware of your inner voice, also known as your "gut feeling", because that is your built-in true compass in life, and what you should be obeying. If you can heed what it is saying you will not be setting yourself up to fail, and this applies to all areas of living, not just feeding your face.

Now make it a great day!

Refer to Tip #1

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Real Life Illustrations of Common Sense Weight Loss Tip #1

To re-iterate, lowering your expectations as to how much food you think you need is key to getting your food consumption in line with your actual physical needs and not your emotional or psychic needs. I'm sure we all can think of examples where our eyes got too big for our stomachs, and you can also probably think of other people's over ambition when it comes time to order or fill their plates. A lot of it has to do with the situation, eg. if we're at a holiday feast or an all you can eat buffet ( going to those is just setting yourself up for over-indulgence), where we are expected to "put on the feed bag".  What I'm talking about here, though, is everyday practices, because it's not what you do once in awhile, it's what you do on a daily basis that makes the difference. Now, if you go to all-you-can-eat buffets often then you are asking to be in the super heavy weight crowd.

I'm going to share with you a fairly recent example of how someone I worked with let his runaway conception of his appetite order a bunch of food he did not need nor could finish. It was around lunch time and my stomach was telling me I needed to put something in it, because when I get hungry I can't concentrate, and do things of a mental nature (I do not do physical work for a living anymore). That is because I'm just sitting there not doing anything physical, if I were doing manual labor or exercising the pure physical exertion would override the appetite, and the appetite only comes back when we stop what were doing and rest for a while. If you doubt me try working out before dinner, and then go right to the table after your workout. You won't have an appetite for about twenty to thirty minutes after you stopped working out. I may have just hit on a good weight loss technique there. Anyway, back to my to story, so I'm thinking about going to Taco Bell for one of those burritos I'd seen them advertise for 89 cents, a good sized and good quality sandwich for next to nothing in price. How can you beat it? Well I made the mistake of announcing that I was going out and if anybody wanted anything brought back. I say mistake because my boss decided to take me up on it. Well he's a "stocky" guy in his mid-thirties who still has these grand delusions, shall we say, of how much food he needs to order when it's time to eat. He proceeds to order five (5!) hard shell tacos. I guess that was just the appetizer course because then he said to get him one of these "grande" something platters. If that weren't enough he added some other item to it that was a stand alone meal in itself. OK, I asked for it, so what's the problem? All I had to do was just pick it up, right? Well, it was a mistake because he did not have any cash on him. Typical boss, right?  My spend went from less than a dollar to twenty bucks and some change! Here I am trying to economize in this hard-scrabble economy that's so hard to make a buck in, and I get way-layed having to shell out enough for twenty lunches if I ate that special burrito everyday! I rationalized it because he is a generous guy who buys pizza for the office frequently, and it was just my turn to reciprocate.

As it turns out, he gets burned-out trying to force feed himself all that food before he's even half way through what he ordered. So he ended up giving it to this other young guy in the office who had the good fortune of just walking in after a morning of beating the bushes on the street. My boss did give it his best shot at trying to finish, though. As a result he was painfully stuffed to the gills and in that semi-comatose state that we all seem to find ourselves in after gorging ourselves on a Thanks Giving Day feast. Well, this is a pretty regular occurrence for him, almost daily I would say. I mean you could count on hearing him say everyday after lunch "Oh God, am I stuffed!" This is just a long standing habit with him, and, regrettably, he has the girth to prove it. The guy is carrying about fifty pounds too much weight. I think it's pretty obvious why. It's what he does almost systematically on a daily basis. OVER EAT! He has programmed himself to do it. That's what I'm talking about with Tip#1. I'm Basically giving you a way to gradually de-program yourself from your destructive over-eating habits, and it starts with what portion you allot for yourself before you put the first bite in your mouth.

 See Tip #1