Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Hand Out of the Cookie Jar

I am, by no means, an expert on dieting and behavior modification.  If I were, I'd probably have some initials after my name and actually be wearing those size 10s I've been aiming for.  But, I have had enough experience with dieting and lifestyle alterations to have come up with some tricks for success.  They aren't earth-shattering, but they work.  Here are a few:
  1. ASK YOURSELF THE HARD QUESTIONS.  This one's the most difficult, but there are underlying reasons for all those quirky behaviors that land us in jeans that are two sizes too big.  Whenever I find myself lamenting my size, I try to remind myself to sit with some deep questions.  Why am I overweight?  What am I really hungry for?  The answers aren't easy.  If I come up with a cute reply to either question, I know I haven't found the true answer yet.  Once you figure out you're eating chocolate icing out of the tub because your boyfriend didn't call, it's much easier to walk away from the behavior.  You don't want to give him, or anyone but yourself, that much power of you, right?  Nope.
  2. THE TEN MINUTE RULE.  I actually use this one a lot when I'm shopping and it helps tremendously.  We are creatures or both impulse and habit.  Whenever I find myself reaching for an in-between meal snack, I make myself wait with the promise that if I still want to eat whatever I was reaching for in 10 minutes, I can.  Usually, I don't.  I either forget about it completely or that 10 minutes end up being enough time for me to make a decision with my evolved brain (instead of my reptile brain).
  3. DIVERSIONARY TACTICS.  These are for when I'm really having a hard time.  It's 11pm and I've got the munchies.  I really want to nosh something naughty and I'm having a difficult time avoiding the kitchen.  So, I do something to prevent myself from eating.  My two favorite diversionary tactics are dental care and manicures.  For the first, I go brush and floss my teeth.  I'm talkin' the full-on ritual with mouthwash and the whole thing.  Who wants to eat with the taste of toothpaste and mouthwash lingering on their tongue?  Not me.  The second tactic is pretty obvious: I break out my nail tools and give myself a manicure.  Not only does it take some time, but I'm loathe to mess up a fresh manicure by trying to stuff something in my mouth.  This one's pretty effective, too.
  4. WATER ... MY NEW BFF, REMEMBER?  Often times, we mistake thirst for hunger.  A simple glass of water can waylay pangs for food more often than not.  
  5. THE RIGHT KIND OF EXERCISE.  Exercise is a big one.  I can't go to a gym to workout.  Not only do I not want to pay the monthly dues, but I have daycare issues as well.  My challenge is to find exercise options that are unique and fun.  For me, that means thinking outside the box.  My favorite exercise routine right now is acting a fool in my living room playing Dance Dance Revolution on my Wii.  This game can be played in a workout mode that allows you to set goals for either calories burned or time danced.  It's wicked fun and pretty good exercise if you allow yourself to venture into the higher levels and just let yourself go.  During the summer, I love to swim.  I also love to roller-skate and ride my bike.
  6. RELEASE ATTACHMENT.  This one is the hardest for me.  The Buddhists refer to this as the practice of non-attachment.  Uncle Al wrote about it when he spoke of being "delivered from the lust of result."  Either way, it's the path to personal liberation.  Find your attachment to the outcome (If I don't get into a size 6 dress by my birthday I'll have failed!) and let it go.  It's tricky work and, like I said, the part I struggle with the most.  But it really is amazing how when you call out your attachments and really look at them with a critical eye, they often seem senseless, silly, and completely unhelpful.
  7. BE KIND TO YOURSELF.  The last one is about self love.  I know it may sound sappy, but if you don't love yourself and treat yourself with kindness, you'll never heal yourself.  It's that simple.


jessy said...

these are some really wonderful tips, Marni! i have a big problem with munching when i'm bored or bingeing on cookies late at night (undo'n a day of healthy eating. argh!). i'm going to print out your tips & tricks and post them on my fridge. i think i can distract myself with knitting - and a manicure sounds like a great idea, too! i also love your idea to practice non-attachment. good point, indeed! asking myself why i'm wanting to eat sugar and crap is a great idea, too - as it is often times because i'm upset. i'm gonna have to remember the 10 minute rule as well - so smart!

thanks again, Marni! i have a feeling you're gonna be helping me keep my hand out of the cookie jar! :)

Anonymous said...

All of your tips are very helpful; I completely agree with the Ten Minute Rule and also the drinking of water. When I get hungry at work before my lunch, I usually have some water and it helps immensely. Plus, I never drink enough water during the day, so this is a way to make sure I stay hydrated. I am however, guilty of dipping spoons into jars of chocolate ganache or hands into bags of tortilla chips before bedtime. Not so smart. Your guidelines will hopefully pull me from the bad habits.

allularpunk said...

great tips! i try to practice as many of these as possible... it's hard, but worth it. i've completely stopped eating when i'm not hungry now, and it makes me feel so much better. i still overeat, mind you, but that's a different problem haha... also, on the posts i missed: that minestrone base recipe sounds wonderful! the sauce and your idea for roasted garlic is also mighty yummy-sounding. AND i am in love with your idea for a hash! we never get soyrizo from the store because the only place to get it is walmart, but i have made it once and love it. i'll have to use it in a hash!

Jill said...
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Ricki said...

Fabulous tips. This is going on my corkboard right beside my computer! (or maybe right on the fridge door. . .). :)

Jeni Treehugger said...

Good tips, however, I've always been told to eat healthy snacks in between meals. Eating 3 meals and then 3 healthy snacks balances out your metabolism and keeps your energy levels up so as you avoid binge eating and reaching for the Cookie jar.

Amira said...

wonderful tips, i try and do most of these though have some major slip ups! i found your blog through jessy's and i really like it!
anywayz have a fabulous day