Column: Are you eating mindlessly?

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Commentary by Christy Kirkendol Watson

Is mindless eating sabotaging your weight loss efforts? A snack at the soccer fields? Hot chocolate at the football game? A Hershey kiss at the bank?

It’s food you don’t even think about or recall eating by the end of the day – and it could be adding three to five pounds to your body each year.

Overcome mindless eating with the The Four R’s Technique.

Recognition: The best way to understand your mindless eating habits is through food journaling. Recognize why you are eating. Is it true hunger (from the neck down) or emotional (from the neck up)? By tracking what you eat and your state of mind, you can identify patterns and triggers that often go with emotional eating. Focus on experiencing the actual emotion, and then decide what you would like to do about it.

Removal: Get rid of it! Get the junk food out of the house. Gather support for your lifestyle changes. Ask family members to not keep junk food in the house. Start a family habit of packing healthy lunches and snacks for the doubleheader at the soccer fields. Just stay away from the concession stand.

Reminder: Leave clues to remind yourself to think about whether you’re really hungry. In the pantry, hang a sign emblazoned with “Why am I here?” or “Is it Worth It?” Stash a picture of the thinner you (that you want to become) somewhere you’d see before venturing to the concession stand. Do whatever it takes to get you to pause and think, Is my stomach really telling me I’m hungry?

Replace: Do something else. It could save you 250 calories a day. And if it’s activity-oriented it can lead to four to five pounds off! Call a friend. Take the dog for a walk. Do the Pinterest project you’ve been putting off.

Just remember, every calorie counts; yes, even those little ones. Start implementing the Four R’s now and maybe you’ll avoid this year’s winter weight gain.


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