Slow down, where's the fire?
Eating too fast is a common habit. When you eat fast, you're likely to overeat. In fact, becoming a slow eater can be one of the most important things you do to get the weight down and keep it off. Here are some tips:
l Drink before you eat. Before you start eating, make a habit of drinking a large glass of water -- you'll feel full and be less likely to rush.
l Don't eat alone. When we're alone we eat the fastest. Try to include friends or family when eating. If this isn't possible, eating in the front of a mirror can also slow you down.
l Set your fork down between bites. Try to chew each bite 20 times.
The 'see-food' diet
We've all heard this: "I just look at food and I gain weight."
It's hard to look without tasting, so stop looking. Here are ways to lessen your exposure to food:
l Get food off countertops. Put it into cupboards, closets, cool ovens, etc. You should not be able to see any food in your kitchen, except perhaps a fruit bowl. (See-through cookie jars are not helpful.)
l The only place for food is the kitchen. Fill candy dishes with decorative shells or pebbles.
l Stay out of the kitchen. Find another spot to read, answer the phone or visit. Place groceries in the trunk after shopping. Don't carry food in your car, or you'll eat in the car.
l Keep your wallet (purse) empty. Candy bar machines, snack counters, bake sales and ice cream stands can tempt us, but if we don't have money, we're safe.
l Serve food from the stove, rather than passing a bowl at the table. How many of us see that last spoonful of mashed potatoes first in a bowl, then on our forks and finally on our love handles?
l Move food or move yourself. At get-togethers, do not make the fatal mistake of sitting next to a bowl of chips and dip -- you can only be strong for so long, and usually it's not long enough.
l Find out what times of the day you overeat and get away. Get out of the house and go for a walk if you can. If not, drink a glass of water.
Just because it's there
Don't bring food into your house that will tempt you. Don't go shopping on an empty stomach. You'll be more apt to buy high-calorie, high-fat foods.
Make a grocery list before you go and stick to it. Don't be swayed by impulse buying, especially for high-calorie, high-fat foods. Besides, how many times has that Valentine's Day candy you bought on sale made it to Feb. 14?
Avoid the cookie, candy or snack food aisles at the store.
Don't clip coupons for high-calorie, high-fat items. If you clip them, chances are you'll eat those foods.
Do buy a lot of fruits, vegetables and low-calorie food. You do not want to run out of these things when you are hungry.
If you must buy or make cookies, cakes and snacks for your family, choose items that don't temp you. Ask family members to respect the fact that you re trying to change your eating habits. Although you can't insist that they do as you do, you can ask if they would control the amount of tempting food they bring into the house or eat around you.
Use a smaller plate. It will fool your eyes into thinking you're eating a lot. Use darker plates. Psychological studies show that people who eat off black plates eat much less than people eating off white ones.
Wear tighter clothing. Clothes with non-stretch waistbands and belts remind us not to overeat. If you have a girdle, you may want to pull it out and start wearing it.
When you're buying new clothes, stay away from elastic waistbands and stretchable fabrics. Bodies have a way of growing if not hemmed in.
Bite by bite
Many of us pop things into our mouths without even realizing it. Be fully aware of each bite you take.
Do not eat while doing something else. Not only does this rob you of the pleasure of eating, but it also ties eating into other activities.
For instance, when you watch TV while eating, it's hard to remember what you've eaten and it's hard to feel satisfied. By doing this, the TV also becomes linked to food, and the next time you turn it on, what will you want? You guessed it --food.
Make it a rule to sit down when you eat. Eating fast and standing up seem to go together. Write foods down before you eat them. Keeping food records like this can cause you to eat less.
-- Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper. She can be reached at 843-7058.