Chart Your Eating Habits
Do you take the time to periodically chart your eating habits? If you don’t know what you do now, how are you going to change your eating habits?
I carry one of those little purse sized notebooks and jot down what I eat all day. Then I input it all into a software program (I like Food & Exercise Diary for Windows – you’ll find it at the One More Bite Weight Loss Tools Section) and take a look after a week or more to see the trends. When you do this it’s best to track yourself being yourself. In other words, don’t make a point of trying to eat better than usual, just for the sake of logging better values. The idea is to capture your habits and those things you regularly eat.
First, try to write a log of what you regularly eat from memory. Write down what you ate yesterday, for instance. You’ll be able to remember the highlights, but you’ll probably have more trouble remembering the little bits here and there. Yes, chewing gum counts, and so does anything that goes in your mouth. Just list the basic foods, meals, etc., as best you can recall. Put that list aside, and then today write down what you actually eat as soon as possible after you eat it. If you remember what you already had today, write those too, including that tiny nibble of cake as you walked past, and that little grab from the peanut dish. Everything you put in your mouth, including pure water, must be listed.
If you try to remember, you’ll capture the big items, but you’ll forget that taste here, that little lick there. Did you know you can easily eat an extra 250 or more calories just tasting as you cook? Diet tip: Stop licking the spoon! Especially this holiday season. Stop licking the beaters, taking your finger and scraping the bowl, etc. Stop it. If you want to eat some, wait until it is finished, then eat some. Put the spoons immediately under water, or give them to the kids (naturally, that teaches the kids to lick the spoon, but you could include the message that, “This is for you since you’re the kid.”)
Why A Food Diary Helps
The point of a food diary is to capture your regular eating patterns, then choose one thing you can change. Licking the spoon is a thing you can change. It doesn’t cause too much trauma to drop that from your usual habits, and no, since you don’t cook often, it’s not going to cause major weight gain all by itself, but listen, it is all these little things that add up to one big thing, your rear, sitting on the chair.
Kill the Licking the Spoon Habit
Resolve now that you will drop the habit of licking the spoon, or tasting as you cook. Sure, I hear how you won’t know if it’s salty enough etc., unless you taste, but a teensy bit on the tip of a spoon or fork tine, is not the same as a big bite. Licking the entire contents of the chocolate chip bowl is not the same as a teensy taste. Better to just break the habit. Sure, it’s a holdover from when you were a kid. It was a treat to lick the spoon, but you’re not a kid anymore are you? Save that for your kids, or your grand kids, and drop it as a practice for you.
Remember, it’s these little changes that create real results. It’s a trick of those who stay slender. Likewise, when you discover your general eating habits, you can choose one thing to change, cut back, or discard entirely. Sometimes it’s best to just take it slowly as in weaning yourself from whole milk to skim. First try 4% and when that is okay, switch to 2%. After that, switch again to 1% or go straight to skim. Once you get used to it, you’ll think whole milk tastes like pure cream ? it’s much too thick and creamy for me to use now ? of course it tastes good, so do thousands of other things, but you must choose what you’ll regularly eat. Do you want to consume your day’s worth of fat and calories in your milk, or would you rather eat something more substantial with your milk?
What if there were a global energy failure and we no longer had fast food restaurants? Would you die of starvation or would you just learn to eat something else? I’d venture a guess that you’d adapt. I recently got a copy of Restaurant Confidential and if you want to be shocked, get a copy and check out the calorie counts of some of your favorite fast foods, then drop one night a week from the fast food plan – or add one night a week of home cooking. Yes, it means time in the kitchen.
Consider time in the kitchen used to be a pleasurable time. Think of the physical movement we used to get, kneading bread, chopping vegetables, bending over and reaching for the dishes? Get back into the frame of mind of enjoying physical movement for its own sake and you’ll find pleasure in these daily activities once again. It’s the little changes that add up to the big results.