Friday, July 9, 2010

Win The War on Temptation

Happy Friday! Today's post was inspired by an article by Jill Waldbieser on Women's that caught my eye with the title "4 Ways to Resist Food Temptations".  Who couldn't learn something from that? I'm constantly looking for ways to prevent/resist & recover from the deadly pull of junk food.
Here's what the article had to say- and of course, my take on her suggestions :)
Strategy: Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals
What it Targets? Out of control hunger.
Why it works: Going too long without eating makes your blood sugar plummet. That leaves you with a raging appetite that can overpower your best intentions to eat well. If you have small meals every three to five hours, your blood sugar stays stable, preventing the wallop of a sugar low that will leave you vulnerable to overeating, says Lisa Jones, R.D., of LaSalle University. I COULD NOT agree with this one more.  I have noticed repeatedly through my food journaling that often my bad choices are caused directly by hunger, lack of snack planning, or the blood sugar crash following something sweet. Have a healthy snack with you at ALL times. Right now, I have a fruit leather in my purse, protein bar in my desk and crackers in my car. Seriously- these are my saviors.
Strategy: Eat With Your Other Hand
What it targets: Distraction
Why it works: Picking up a fork with the hand you don't usually use automatically slows you down and makes you focus on your meal, two things that have been proven to aid weight loss. Studies have shown that with regular practice, this kind of switcheroo can also increase your overall willpower. Hmm... ok... don't really think I'll be trying this one anytime soon (I'm laughing just picturing myself trying to do this in a restaurant! Chris would probably stop taking me out in public :) But I do agree with the underlying principle of focusing on what you are eating and slowing down the meal process. Rather than eating with the other hand, I'd suggest working on chewing your food more, not eating in front of the TV or in the car, or other strategies that help you concentrate on what you are eating.
Strategy: Weigh Yourself Regularly
What it targets: Losing sight of your goal
Why it works: Few things keep your weight-loss goal front and center better than seeing those big glowing numbers on the scale. Regular weigh-ins also make it easier to notice extra pounds creeping on, so you can slash and burn immediately. In fact, when researchers at the University of Minnesota analyzed more than 1,800 people who successfully shed pounds in weight-loss programs, they found that about 40 percent weighed themselves daily or weekly. And the more frequently they stepped on the scale, the more they lost: 12 pounds on average for daily weighers, compared with six for weekly weighers. (Scale shunners, meanwhile, gained an average of five pounds.)  Interesting study! And I agree that weighing yourself keeps you accountable.  I know for myself, when I'm "being bad" I just stop weighing myself, which never leads to anything good.  Then I'll go 6 weeks without weighing myself and it's torture to step back on the scale.  There's definitely a healthy balance between obsessive weighing and scale avoidance, find what works for you. For me- I do best if I weigh myself once a week, same day & same time.
Strategy: Lift Your Spirits
What it targets: Emotional eating
Why it works: It's estimated that when people overeat, nearly 75 percent of the time it's because they're feeling blue.
Even small doses of pleasant emotions can quickly renew your ability to say no. So the next time you're facing down temptation, surf over to or buy yourself that going-out top you've been eyeing. The good feelings might be temporary, but they will last long enough to get you safely past that hot-fudge sundae. I do think this works.  However (and I know from experience) it can get expensive if you shop every time you feel like eating :).  Another great way to lift spirits is by getting outside, or really getting your serotonin flowing with some exercise.  Obviously easier said than done when you are feeling down, but nothing lifts my spirits more than a run or taking Riley to dog beach. 
Now you've got the tools, so get out there and resist some temptation this weekend!

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