Home Conscious Consumerism Be Conscious: No More Mindless Eating

Be Conscious: No More Mindless Eating

by Erika Nicole Kendall

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.

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Carla Brown December 28, 2009 - 5:44 PM

I’m so glad I found your blog today. I read your Calorie Counting entries and I have never seen this concept broken down in “layman’s terms” like you did. Thank you so much! I will continue to visit regularly as I am trying to lose about 60 pounds myself.

N December 30, 2009 - 10:09 AM

I enjoy reading your blog. The mindless eating blog was very insightful. continue the good work.

jackie January 4, 2010 - 10:30 PM

I stumbled across your blog yesterday, determined to find something on the web that would help me in my weight loss journey…I’m so glad I was led here (God bless google!)I was contentedly munching a big bag of chips saying, “I’ll eat this whole bag tonight so that I won’t be tempted by it tomorrow…” (uh hello?!? What kind of logic is that?) In desperation I clicked to your blog for some accountability…needless to say, the potato chips are contentedly resting in the garbage (dumped out of the bag, lest I get weak later on and convince myself that they are “still ok” in the bag! sigh…)

Thank you for your encouragement – I hope to stop the madness myself and do the things I know I ought to do – I’m tired of this lifestyle! :-S

Jonah January 9, 2010 - 12:50 PM

One way I solve this problem is by cooking all of my meals for the 5 day work week on Sunday. I cook lunch, dinner and pack my breakfast. That way all of he decisions are made at once and since I am aware of how automated things can be I avoid setting myself up for failure. It also helps with time too. No excuses! Everything is cooked and portioned up in advanced. I just grab my breakfast, lunch, mid day snack and 3 bottles of water throw in my bag and I am good to go for lunch and breakfast for the work week. I pop out my portion for dinner and heat up.

Joy July 11, 2010 - 1:17 PM

I love this article!!!! I’ve noticed that I suffer from Mindless Eating. I’m trying to think about what I’m eating BEFORE I put it in my mouth. It really has worked in regards to my fast food habit. I’ve only eaten out once this whole week (so far). I’m currently fighting a strong craving for Papa John’s…don’t judge me:)

Twitter: MsWalton

nai October 8, 2011 - 10:05 PM

Yesss! Great insight

Sarah @ In Sustainability and in Health July 18, 2012 - 3:04 PM

I love this post! It is so true that we should all give careful thought to our food choices. I typically chose the wrong snack or meal when I’m in a time crunch or haven’t planned properly. I always try to prepare snacks for my desk at work on Sundays – same for packed lunches. It keeps me away from the vending machine. Also, If I know I’m meeting friends for dinner, I check the menu before and decide what I’ll order. It’s easier to decide before you get to the restaurant and are tempted by the sights, sounds, and friends’ influence!

Evon December 31, 2012 - 9:25 AM

Thanks so much for writing this article & countless others. I only began seeing tyre weight loss when I started planning weekly the meals I ate- I purchase all the foods/ ingredients Sunday for the entire week. In the event that I don’t get to plan out the week, there are healthy options located near my gym, so I’m a patron of health food stores & restaurants which offer healthy options. My well- being is of utmost priority; any excuse has become simply that.

Cherise January 1, 2013 - 9:05 PM

Awesome! Blog!! There is SO much helpful information!! Thank you!! I will be back often!!

Steve Desmonds April 29, 2014 - 6:10 PM

Thank you for your encouragement. SO much helpful information!! Thank you!!

Kim Silverman April 30, 2014 - 7:00 AM

Great article, I agree with you 100%! if you want to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle you should pay attention on the what you eat because no matter how much you exercise if you still have bad eating habits it will all be useless it should be a balance of a great workout regimen and a proper diet

Angelina Sophora May 1, 2014 - 8:34 AM

I couldn’t agree more! It really is the mindless, unconscious bad decisions that we make starting from the moment that we wake up regarding food that matters a lot in weight loss.

James Blog May 6, 2014 - 6:28 AM

You make an excellent point, an important part of losing weight is also watching how much you eat, this means controlling portions and reducing the amount of sugar you consume. Great post, loved reading it!

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