I’d like to talk about something that I think is pretty important when it comes to weight loss and changing our eating habits. However, I think this is different because I’m talking about the habits we don’t necessarily know that we have.
Let’s talk about breakfast for an example. If you think about the average day, do you know how many decisions you make when it comes to food? Think about it. Within at least an hour of waking up – whether or not you’re going to eat breakfast, whether or not you’re eating cereal, which cereal you’ll choose, how much you’ll eat, whether you’ll add sugar, how much milk to use, whether or not you’ll have a second bowl – you’ve made at least 7 decisions, and usually those are all bundled up in a 3 minute time frame. How often do you stop in between each of those and think about what each choice will do for your health?
Let’s consider lunch, next. The average work day includes what kind of decisions? Whether or not you’ll drink the office coffee, whether or not you’ll add sugar, whether you’ll add cream, whether you order lunch with your co-workers, where you’re going for lunch, whether you’re going fried or baked, meat or no meat, carbonated drink or juice (or water.) Again, another speedy set of decisions.
How much forethought do you give to the choices you make each day when it comes to food? Are you mindlessly ordering “what sounds good?” If so, do you consider what makes something “sound good?” Is it usually the fattening, creamy, fried, or junk-food filled option that “sounds good?” Is it something “exotic?” Is it something that’s going to set you back in your weight loss goals?
And before you say, “A little potato salad can’t set me back that much, can it?” Let me tell you – walking for an hour (approximately 263 calories) doesn’t burn 1 cup’s worth of potato salad. And just so that we’re working off the same understanding of what “1 cup” is, the average American coffee cup holds well over 1 cup of coffee. Just sayin’.
Really, the important thing here is to simply stop and think. We’re such an automated society, that we forget that some things simply should not be automated, because those shortcuts wind up shortchanging our collective health. When you wake up in the morning, check to see if there’s any grapefruit, or get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off so that you can spend a little time making breakfast. Don’t simply put yourself on auto-pilot throughout the day.
Once you’re thinking about what you’re putting into your body, use those new opportunities to make healthier decisions. Opt for something baked instead of fried. Skip the morning cream and sugar in your coffee, and maybe opt for a blend with a flavor that might not need it. Those three changes right there can save the calorie counting conscious consumer about 400 calories.
So I say to you, give yourself a little time to think about you. Think before you pour that drink, before you grab that soda, before you grab that cereal box, and before you pull up to that drive-thru. Just ask yourself, “Could there be a better option right now?” That alone is a wonderful start.