Monday, September 15, 2008

Take a Tummy Check

As I've said before, stopping to think before you eat is a tremendous help on your path to healthy eating and weight loss. Here's some more advice on more specifically what to think about!
Check in with your internal cues (what does your tummy tell you?) the next time you are ready to eat a treat. Think about what is giving you the signal to eat. Often, it's merely the fact that some food is present in front of you. Someone hands you a piece of birthday cake, you see the candy bar display at the cash register, or you see the golden arches up ahead on the roadside. Check in and ask yourself, "Why am I going to eat this? Am I hungry? Maybe even full! How will I feel 10 minutes after I eat this?" I want to remind you I am not suggesting that you never eat a treat! Just that you think about it first and think about what it will mean to you. Often, you will realize that you aren't really hungry, and that you won't feel better in any way after you eat it. Sometimes you will at first think you want it, and then become aware that it would just be a quick reaction to gobble it down, giving you little satisfaction afterwards. You might weigh the options and see that in ten minutes you will feel a little indigestion and a lot of regret, so it wouldn't be worth it to eat!

What other external cues could be signaling you to eat? The smell of food is often overwhelmingly inviting! Walking past a bakery, a mall cookie store, or the airport cinnabon cart is hard to resist. Take a tummy check: Yes, the food smells good... Remember that smells have no calories, so enjoy that delicious aroma all you like :)
Now, ask yourself if you really want to indulge in an extra 300 calories, and how you will feel afterwards. Sometimes the answer will be yes, in which case you should savor each bite! Other times, you will do a check of your internal cues, realize you are not actually hungry, enjoy a few more sniffs of the baked goods, and walk on, feeling confident you made a great decision.

Next time you are about to treat yourself to a high calorie treat, stop for a moment and do a tummy check: Am I hungry? Is it my stomach telling me it's time to eat, or are my eyes, nose, or other senses giving me false signals that I need to eat. Stop to think, and save yourself a few hundred calories today!

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