Mindless Eating-A Quick Fix

by Jennifer Boudreau on July 16, 2013

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sad woman eating snacks at homeI’m a woman, and just like many women I can be an emotional eater. Actually, not just an emotional eater but an “I am bored” or an “I don’t even know why I’m eating this” eater. I was having a discussion with a friend of mine last week and she asked me how I combat this phenomenon of mindless eating. I had to think about it, but I remembered that one tried and true trick that has worked for me every single time for the last 15 years is tracking what I eat (AKA – counting calories).

Now, the debate of counting calories is just as controversial as politics. Everyone has an opinion and it can get darn right confusing. Should you count calories or should you take the simple approach of only eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. The latter makes sense, but it also laughable. Seriously….maybe in another life, but for now, I need a different approach.

No worries. If you’re not good at the whole self-control thing, I feel ya and I think I can help. Whenever I feel that I am getting off track, I whip out my notepad that I use for my daily to do list and start writing down everything that goes in my mouth and the number of calories in it. And yes, I said everything. If it has a calorie, it gets recorded. I know….this takes time and there is an adjustment period, but do you want to gain control or keep eating mindlessly resulting in weight gain and loss of discipline? Once you get used to doing this, you will get very quick and efficient at it and it will no longer be such a nuisance.

Now, I started doing this long before smart phones and myfitnesspal existed, so I am in the habit of doing this the pen and paper way. I used to have to carry a big, fat book in my purse that listed common foods and the number of calories they contained. You can now do this on your smart phone much easier through myfitnesspal or LoseIt, but old habits die hard, so I’ll stick to my archaic way. You decide which is best for you.

When you start documenting what you eat, several things will most likely happen. First, you may discover that you are eating WAY more than you realize. You may think you are eating around 1800 calories, only to find out you are around 2500. Reality check! You will also start to “think before you eat”, meaning you will think twice before shoving that Oreo in your mouth because you do not want it staring at you when you look at your daily summary. Thinking before you eat is PROGRESS!

I do not know your fitness goals, your ideal weight, or how much you currently weigh, so I cannot tell you how many calories to consume. I know 1500 is my magical place in terms of calories, but that is me. You are bound to be different. Whichever app you use can tell you how many calories to eat based on your goals. Even if you do not use the app for recording your food intake, use it to find out how many calories you should be eating. Then you can tweak things based on what you body tells you.

The world of food can be a battle field. I know very few people who do not struggle with food in some capacity, so don’t sweat it. Eat a balanced diet, cut out the fast food and junk food and start being aware of how much you are eating. It works!

Visit my Facebook page and tell me – are you a calorie counter?

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