Three habits that destroy your chances of losing weight

Bad habit #1) Finishing everything on your plate

“Oh thats nice…” My friend said to me suddenly distracted by the arrival of his dinner. Our conversation became quickly one sided once the waiter arrived. My friend was no longer listening to me and was busy attaching a vacuum cleaner to his face. I watched in awe (and in disgust) as he then inhaled everything on his plate. He chewed as if the world was about to end in the next 30 seconds. Food was flying everywhere. It was gross.

Breaking the habit: My friend became a mindless eating machine. He surrendered entirely to his stomach. I have two suggestions for him: think several, small meals throughout the day and have a game plan in mind before the food comes out. Once a plate arrives under your nose your inner battle for control must already be decided. The stomach and tastebuds cannot win so easily every single time. Think about what you are going to do before the food arrives. Tell yourself you will not eat everything and for everyone’s sanity try to eat slower!

Bad Habit #2) Staying up late and watching television

“I, I, I love you.” The actress says with a small, wry smile. Everyone knows she is full of bull. “Come on man don’t fall for this!” I yell back at the television. The actor on the screen appears starry eyed “I love you too.” He looks fatally lost in her eyes. The actress responds “Kiss me you fool!” As they kiss I throw down the remote control. “You are a fool! Don’t you know what she is up to? She loves Craig not you!” I shut the TV down in disgust muttering aloud how a blonde, bombshell heiress and a pizza delivery guy will never work out. I then find myself in my quiet living room. It is late, I have to get up early and I realize I lost several hours of my life and having nothing to show for it. “I wish I never turned on this stupid TV!”

Breaking the habit: This is a tough one. People all have their favorite shows and the networks do a good job of roping you in like a mindless zombie. My suggestion to break this habit is incredibly easy. Simply do not turn on the television. Unplug the damn thing. You will thank me later. Try to do it for one night a week and then add a another night. Can you go a week without watching TV? Consider yourself challenged. Think about it. The stuff on television really is garbage and designed to blast you with commercials anyway. You are getting suckered in and who wants to be a sucker?

Bad Habit #3) Lazy eating

Fred woke up groggy. He had been up all night watching television (duh!). He opened the refrigerator door to find something for breakfast. He saw some healthy fruits, eggs, leftovers but he quickly grabbed the milk knowing all along what he was going to eat anyway. He then pulled out some cereal from the cupboard and made himself a bowl. At work, lunchtime came along and he went to the deli with some coworkers. He  eyeballed the fresh salads but he knew what he wanted from the beginning “One super hoagie” he told the clerk. At dinner, his tired mind instinctively began to boil water. Pasta can be so easy to make. His day was a long, sleepy blur.

Breaking the habit: Processed foods such as cereals, calorie laden foods such as hoagies and carb heavy pastas will quickly add pounds to your waistline. The problem is these foods are quick, easy, tasty and typically arrive under your nose in portions that are way too big. Couple this with mindless eating and you are setup for a disaster. The trick is to train your mind to stick to all natural, healthy foods. Get rid of all the cereals and pastas in your house and pre-prepare fruits and vegetables so they are easier to eat than potato chips. I also suggest waking up earlier so you have more time to plan your day. Realize that the processed foods you eat are affecting your energy levels. A lack of energy means poor decision making and so the vicious cycle continues. You need to break this cycle.

For more tips and tricks read: The Diet for a Busy Life by Phillip Gerard.

2 thoughts on “Three habits that destroy your chances of losing weight”

  1. These thing makes sense (but I’m not giving up my Raisin Bran even though more often or not, i forget to have breakfast.)

    Here’s a less radical suggestion to breaking habit #2- Get a DVR and record those late night shows you can’t live without. Watch them early the next evening or save them up for a weekend marathon. An added bonus is being able to skip the commercials! If you end up not watching them later, then you know you can live without them.

  2. Some other ideas are to ensure you’re not starving before you sit down to eat like your friend. Small meals work as you pointed out, as do larger fiber and protein rich meals that can hold you for longer than an hour.

    I like my TV shows so no comment there.

    Finally and towards your line of thinking. Processed is the enemy, not necessarily the food itself. Before mass production whole grain pastas and cereals were excellent choices and rich in nutrients and fiber. Filling and good for you.

    For what it’s worth.

    Dr. A.

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