Do you remember being told “no” as a child or telling your own children “no”? Why does that little word make the forbidden seem so enticing?? That is exactly what happened to me whenever I tried a diet that included a lot of “no’s”. Whatever I was not supposed to eat, well, that is exactly what I wanted to eat! Even if I had no interest in that food the day before, it suddenly became all I wanted. That is how I discovered, that diets did not work for me. I only got hungrier and more frustrated. I needed a way of life – a way to live every day without feeling deprived.
For me, that way is to simply eat less of everything. There is nothing reasonable that I don’t let myself eat, but I try to never finish my plate. Yes, there are certain foods that I wouldn’t touch, but they aren’t foods I want anyway (i.e. Devil dogs, Twinkies, Big Macs). It is much easier to simply eat less of everything, rather than face all those “no’s” everyday! If I really crave it, I will have it.
One perfect example, for me, is the chocolate covered graham crackers at Starbucks. They are sold in a packet of two and I love them. If I really have a chocolate craving, I buy the packet and immediately throw out one of the crackers. (Yes – it is wasteful – don’t tell Grandma!) It satisfies my craving and I am not tempted to have another because it is gone – literally. Another trick I use is the napkin. As soon as I feel that first hint of fullness – I throw a napkin over my plate. This works especially well in restaurants where you look funny eating from under a napkin! So often we feel a bit full, and then pause, and dig right in again. Try to pay attention to this first feeling of fullness and stop eating then. It is amazing how it becomes a habit and how your body gets used to eating less food. So in the end you are not even saying “no” to more food, because you are simply full and satisfied!
Portion control allows you to eat lots of different foods and it takes away the constant negative voice in your head saying, “Don’t eat that!” Without that reminder, you may be surprised to find that you don’t want that junk food after all. Maybe the only reason you really wanted it in the first place was because someone or some diet said you couldn’t have it!