Brian Wansink in his article titled "Food-Related Behavior Change Made Easy: Replace Clients' Mindless Eating With Eating Solutions for Everyday Life" writes that "the solution to mindless eating is not mindful eating--our lives are just too crazy and our willpower's too wimpy. Instead, the solution is to tweak our homes, workplaces, schools, restaurant dining and grocery shopping so we mindlessly eat less instead of more."
Many people struggle with mindless eating behaviors since we are surrounded by an abundance of food with endless choices of which foods we'd like to consume. As a result, it is incredibly easy to overeat, especially on foods that don't keep you full as long versus foods that do.
For myself, it was a journey to change my eating behaviors. Before my eating disorder, I mindlessly ate whatever I felt like. Oftentimes this included junk food with some fruit thrown in. Then there were days when there wasn't much in the kitchen, and so I consumed less. It was probably those days that balanced out the days where I consumed primarily junk. After all, I have never been overweight or even struggled with having more fat mass than lean mass. When I developed anorexia, obviously my eating behaviors took a horrendous turn, with severe calorie restriction, calorie counting, and avoiding all but low-calorie foods. It was during my recovery that I decided to clean up my eating habits for good--and not revert to the way they were pre-eating disorder.
What generally happens during eating disorder recovery is visits to a registered dietitian. Now I'm not saying that you absolutely need to see an RD because I think they're the only ones who can help and you can't possibly do it on your own. I'm simply relaying my journey over how I finally fixed my eating behaviors.
I knew during recovery that I couldn't go back to the way I ate before I developed anorexia. I knew too much about calories and what could happen if I overate. Yet, I didn't want to have to worry about going over my RDI (recommended dietary intake) in terms of caloric intake. I didn't want to have to worry about a piece of cake adding excess fat. This in itself was a journey that, even when I gained back a healthy amount of weight, I still struggled with. Now I'm much better about it; I primarily keep healthy foods at home and exercise enough that any excess calories can be worked off then. So I enjoy ice cream daily.
Changing your eating habits is a process, not something that you can do in one day. If you're a big junk food eater, as I was, don't expect to quit that junk food cold turkey. Taper off the amount of junk food you eat until it's a habit to eat far more healthy foods than junk foods. This lifestyle change is all about developing healthy eating habits. And a habit can only become a habit through continual work and prevention that ensures there are little relapses.
Here are a few ways in which you can go about the process of changing how you eat:
Wansink, B. (2016). "Food-Related Behavior Change Made Easy: Replace Clients' Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life." IDEA Fitness Journal, 29-33.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
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