Well, they aren’t secrets anymore and they might not be entirely mine, but these minor eating adjustments have contributed to my weight loss. And because I practiced them without any research from self-help books or costly consultations, I feel some sense of ownership.
Stress. Everyone handles it differently. Some turn to food for comfort. I run in the other direction. When my stomach is turning and aching from an emotional situation, food is the last thing that squelches the acrobatics. My dental hygienist did notice considerably more staining on my teeth. “Have you been drinking more coffee than usual? Well, how about red wine?” We’ll leave it at that.
Padding. No, not that kind. I’ve come to accept my endowment (or lack there of). The food kind. I try to pad my plate with something healthy every night when I sit down to dinner with the family. Brown rice, shredded cabbage, arugula, or whole wheat bread are my standard padding. Say I make grilled or baked fish and pasta. I forgo the pasta and serve it on a heaping handful of arugula. Maybe I’ll make pork chops and mashed potatoes another night. I’ll take my half serving of pork, cut it up, and serve it on a bed of brown rice. Last night I made a chopped salad with all the yummy stuff inside—salami, chicken, mozzarella cheese, marinated artichokes—but I served my small portion on a bed of shredded savoy cabbage. There was enough flavor from the ingredients and the dressing to cover the bulk of the cabbage. This strategy could be used with any protein. The key is to always have your favorite healthy padding on hand. We’ve grown accustomed to every bite of food doing a flavor dance in our mouth that we’ve forgotten that we can stretch that flavor (and fat and calories) by cutting back on portions and beefing them up with healthy bulk or padding.
Visual Trickery. Now this is where I use a smaller plate or bowl for my serving, tricking my mind into thinking that I have more food than I really do. This isn’t a new idea, but it works for me. And if I feel like seconds, I can fill my bowl or small plate with more knowing that I’m not overdoing it.
Competition. I have been accused by those closest to me that I am a closet competitor. Fiercely competitive about my kids and loved ones, but not about myself. I know that everyone says that we must love ourselves for who we are, and I do feel like I’m a fairly well adjusted person with moderate self esteem. But, I do believe that sometimes we need a little push and there’s nothing better than competitiveness to get us over the hump. Yes, you can compete with yourself to lose those last few pounds, or you can visualize someone you admire physically and imagine standing next to her while she marvels at your figure in your new skinny jeans. Hey, whatever works.