Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week #19 - Eating Without Distraction

I've had this window open on my laptop all weekend waiting to write up my thoughts on our latest routine. But apparently...I've been distracted. Ha!

I am terrible about eating while distracted. Many of my meals and snacks are taken while in front of the TV or a computer. As I've been taking some time to think about our routine, I've been thinking about how to change this and whether or not this is really a problem.

One of the big reasons that distracted eating might be something to avoid is because it results in overeating. To some extent, this isn't a problem for me in particular. Many of my meals in front of the computer take place at work. There, I am eating a portion of food that I have pre-measured and I know the PointsPlus value of. There is no accidental overeating. In this sense, there is no problem to be solved.

One could argue that by eating while distracted, it's hard to evaluate hunger signals. This could certainly be taking place. If I'm working on spreadsheets while eating my soup, am I paying attention to whether or not I could stop with some left over? So there certainly is a potential upside in making sure I'm focused on my meal: it could result in consuming fewer calories.

Probably the biggest upside I see to being mindful of my lunch is satisfaction. Maybe you have noticed that if you aren't paying attention to what you eat, it's almost as if it didn't count. You don't feel as if you really ate it. Your mental satisfaction hasn't kicked in.

As we work our way through this month, that's what I'm going to be thinking about, particularly when I look at my routines concerning meals and snacks at work. This is going to be a busy month of quarterly forecasting, so I will be more challenged than usual to take some free time out of my day, but in the end, it's not about perfection. It's about evaluating your routines and seeing if they can be improved. And if they can, about how you can slowly evolve into something that has a healthier end result.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Week #18 - Find Your Anchor

Wow. I haven't posted anything here in a month! It turns out that I am not always inspired to share my thoughts on the weekly topic. And while I do find the value in wearing an activity monitor and monitoring my activity in general, I guess those things didn't really inspire me to share much.

We start a new routine this next week that I think will be much more thought-provoking, because it gets to a behavior that can often cause us problems: mindless eating. When you come to the meeting next week we'll start talking about the routine of the month which is "To eat all of your meals free of distraction." This is a routine that will truly be a joint effort, because it's one that I confess I am not very good at following. With how much we all multi-task these days, it's a rare moment when we can sit, eat, and not do anything else. Will that be possible? Will it make a difference? There are probably lots of ways we can interpret the routine and apply it with the end result of more mindful eating, so be ready for that in May!

In the meantime, I do want to reflect a bit on having a weight loss anchor. Over the years I've used a lot of different objects to be a reminder to me of why I continue my healthy habits:

* Before photo - I actually don't have the photo that caused me the most angst before I re-joined (because I tore it up and threw it away!) but I have a vivid memory of it.

* Marathon finisher's medal - this reminds me of my perseverance, and if I can run when my body wants to stop, I can probably say no to a doughnut.

* My weight records from when I was losing weight - I didn't lose quickly (a year to lose just 26 pounds?) and so it's a good reminder of patience.

* Mantras - these have evolved over the years (Outsmart the Fat! being one, and you've probably seen plenty of them around the internet) but having wise words always helps. I even have one set as a reminder to me on my phone every day.

Whatever helps you tap into those inner resources can become an anchor. Even if you've never successfully lost weight or improved your health before, if you possess the traits necessary (patience, persistence, focus) as applied to another area of your life, you've got what it takes to succeed. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself.