Thankfully, our minds are wired to run mostly on autopilot via our habits. Otherwise, we would constantly need to figure out electric toothbrushes, faucets, operating vehicles, getting dressed… life’s mundane moments.
As our talents can also be our faults, like the super organized business leader who goes home and drives his family nuts organizing the cupboards, so too can our mindless habits be impediments.
Those things we eat while we are busy working, watching TV or otherwise, can be the most harmful, but habitual calories we consume. Mindless eating could account for the calories keeping you from your goals.
In order to stop eating mindlessly, adopt these four rules.
Make healthier options easy. Make the rest hard.
When you get home from the grocery store, plan time to cut veggies and fruit. Put them in containers where you see them first when you open the fridge.
Freezing pieces of fruit in small containers makes a lovely treat when sweet cravings strike. The fact that they are frozen will slow you down, but the sweetness of the fruit will help abate your cravings.
Hide your low-quality nutrient snacks, like chips and cookies, where you can’t see them. May I suggest, at the supermarket?
In fact, you don’t even have to buy them. It’s not stealing if you just think of them as yours, but never actually take them to the checkout lane.
Tell the checker that the bag of Oreo’s on aisle nine is yours, but you’re going to leave them there.
Can’t control yourself? Don’t buy it.
The best nutrition advice I’ve ever heard: Food that you simply “can’t stop eating,” should not be in your home. You’ve already proven to yourself that you have no control.
Not all food, of course. In the off chance you have an insatiable urge to cram raw broccoli in your mouth, then don’t stress. The worst thing that’s going to happen is offensive gas. If you eat it all the time, you’ll probably be fine.
Snack foods like chips, crackers, or anything else that comes in a bag will likely make this list. I know, you love Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish, but polishing off the whole bag isn’t doing you any favors.
If your excuse is you’re buying these snacks for your kids, it may be worth asking “why?” Do you want them to struggle too?
Beware large pantries.
The bigger the pantry, the more you need to shop the warehouse supplier. Avoid.
With more to snack on, you’ll likely just be more compelled to eat through your supplies faster. Then you’ll have no choice but to replace them the next time you go shopping.
A vicious cycle was never more clearly illustrated.
Turn that pantry into a broom closet or storage space. If you really have to shop Sam’s Club, make sure to bulk up on paper towels, toilet paper, and chub packs of cleaning supplies, then fill your pantry with those items.
It is a foolish logic to undermine your health goals for “getting a better deal” on large quantities of food.
I don’t know if it’s true what they say about idle hands, but busy hands definitely have a harder time snacking. It’s not like your home doesn’t have a backlog of projects you need to complete.
Planning to fill your free time with yard work, repainting plans, wall tear-downs, basement cleanouts, garage sales (are you feeling me?) grants you double points. There’s one for being active, but two for the food you don’t eat while you’re working.
Beware the reward meal, though. Ordering a twelve-inch deep dish pizza for yourself after cleaning out the garage negates all your efforts.
Better you snack on those cut veggies in your fridge as you go, or plan out a balanced, less caloric reward meal before you start. A modest burger or a couple slices of pizza could work if you want to indulge.
Think of your mind as if it were a dog. When left alone, it may not make the best choices.
Because you rely on this dog to help you through your day, set your mind up for success. Give it the best opportunity to make good decisions. Set clear pathways for it to travel, by enforcing these rules.