Greetings! I’m back for “part 2” of my plateaus blog, as food warrants its very own dedicated time.
Hitting a “food plateau” to me means that I’m frustrated with making poor eating decisions over and over again (during a certain duration, not just one day), as well as getting bored with “eating healthy.” So let’s discuss!
FOOD DECISION MAKING SKILLS:
- THERE WILL ALWAYS BE AN EVENT OR REASON TO GO OFF THE RANCH WITH YOUR DIET. Don’t do it for every one of those occasions (wedding, birthdays, your kids birthday, vacation, bridal shower, baby shower, work meeting, picnic, girls night out, guys night out, Super Bowl Party…). Some of those are okay, and maybe all of them are okay for you — but if you have a very active social life and are constantly hitting that “food frustration plateau,” take a look at your decisions here. Perhaps eat something before you go so you aren’t so hungry? And simply don’t excuse yourself to eat 3,000 calories at every special occasion. There will be another one right around the corner for you to indulge at.
- The Second Bite Rule – recently Neghar Fonooni pointed this out in a blog; the second bite better be just as good as the first was. If it’s not, STOP EATING IT! For example, if I buy a fancy chocolate bar with bacon in it (yes, this happened) and the first bite isn’t absolutely divine, then the remaining 400 calories of that bar aren’t worth the indulgence. That chocolate-maple bacon-bar was NOT that delectable, so I didn’t finish it. I’ve also found that natural peanut butter that only contains “nuts, salt” is not near as yummy to eat straight from the jar (as I discovered after ONE knife licking). So I only open it to bake with now. Sweet!
- Servings Per Package – recently, such as in the past 30 days, I have committed to not buying anything that has more than 1-2 servings per package. Primarily, I’m talking about snack foods (my own personal devil). I already know that I WILL NOT only eat 2 servings if there are 5. I WILL eat all 5. So I just won’t buy it now. It’s a rule I made up for myself but it really seems to be working well. No more travel size Chex Mix, trail mix or Swedish Fish in my future.
- Drink Before You Eat – as an intermittent faster, I have learned that you definitely mistake hunger for thirst. Personally, I think my stomach just needs something to do. It doesn’t like when NOTHING is there to break down, swirl around and send throughout the body. So if I have a stomach rumble, I try to drink something first (that has zero calories, aka – water, black coffee). This always seems to work and staves off an eating binge. Some studies have indicated that caffeine can curb your appetite, so that is why I like to use coffee in these circumstances (typically in the morning or late night when I THINK I need a snack). It may be mental, but the aforementioned works for me!
- GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE – yes, anything you can’t control yourself with, do not keep it in your house (dark chocolate nibs, pretzels, peanut butter). You WILL eat it and eat too much of it at once.
FIGHTING FOOD BOREDOM
- Learn to Love Recipes – one of the best foods (if you aren’t vegetarian) to eat can be chicken, primarily of the skinless-fat trimmed-breast type. BUT it can become so boring and mundane. Lucky for us, chicken is very easy to prepare and there are a GAZILLION recipes that you can try. Step outside of your cooking comfort box and whip up a new recipe today! ——- I made spicy chicken mole in the crock pot last week, I mean who knew I had that in me?
- Don’t Be Afraid of Fat – we often avoid “fatty foods” because we still want to think that fat makes us fat. I’m not saying to go eat fried chicken fingers, french fries and eat a gallon of ice cream. What I am saying is that it is okay to eat a burger, use a little extra coconut oil to fry chicken cutlets in, eat some bacon with your omelette. No need to bake with “fat-free” cream cheese, egg whites and fat-free milk. That’s actually NOT natural, right? Just control your portions, as with any time you are eating. Fat is what makes much of our food so flavorful.
- Find Your Healthy “Go-To” Foods – I have some go-to foods that are healthy but so yummy. I look forward to them and don’t feel bad when eating them. Here are a few examples: rotisserie chicken, chili, macintosh apples, beef jerky, roasted vegetables, stir fry chicken and shrimp, Artic Zero ice cream (150 calories per pint), and Popcorn Indiana Natural Sea Salt popcorn. Almost all of these can be bought prepared or cooked very easily.
- Buy Pre-Prepared Ingredients – you will be more apt to cook a good meal if most of the items are easily accessible and prepared. I almost always have pre-cut vegetables in my fridge for when I want to whip up a chicken stir fry. The messy de-seeding and cutting green peppers and having watery eyes from onions are gone. I’ve also recently seen avocado halves, pitted and air-tight-sealed. Now that’s easier!
- Morning Meat Assessment – before I leave for work in the morning, I make sure I have my prepared lunch with me. But I also make a mental note to know what I will have for my dinner when I get home. If I don’t have a meat to eat, I take something from my freezer and place in the fridge. That way when I come home, it’s thawed and ready for me to cook (often it’s 2 chicken breasts that I set out to make my stir fry). I also freeze chicken breasts individually, just for this reason.
- Explore, Explore, Explore – as I stated in #1, you should learn to love recipes. But also learn to love new ingredients and flavors. Over the past year, I’ve incorporated curry, cumin, rosemary, ginger and cilantro into so many meals. I never even purchased any of those items prior to 2013. Furthermore, I started to eat lamb and pork, two items I never really looked at twice in the grocery store. The more variety you have in your diet, the less apt you will get bored and make poor decisions.
Okay, so there you have it. These are a few tips among so many out there. Do what works for you. Some of us travel for work, some of us have children and a husband, some of us are single…..don’t fight food, make it enjoyable, guilt-free and easy-peasy for your lifestyle.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!