The truth is, you don't have to stop loving food to manage your weight. You just need to alter the ways you view it. Start by making a list of the foods you generally find irresistible. Evaluate the damage level from each of these foods in relation to your weight-loss goals. Then, instead of assuming you have to stop enjoying all of your favorites, consider how you can budget them into your life.
Narrow your list down to the foods you love most, then plan them into your life by applying the principle of smaller amounts, less often. Suppose you typically eat a large bowl of ice cream every night. In your budget plan, you might decrease the amount to 1/2 cup or a small cone at the ice cream shop. Once you've set the amount, determine how often you will eat ice cream -- perhaps every Friday instead of nightly.
Use this same approach with your favorite wines, chocolate-chip cookies or fried clams. Once you budget a special food such as ice cream into your diet, you can look forward to it all week. And because you know you get to have it eventually, you won't be as likely to crave it the rest of the time.
Have you ever eaten a candy bar, then wondered where it went? Or looked down at your plate and had no memory of eating your meal? It's not that you didn't enjoy the food; you just don't remember the experience.
To break this habit of unconscious eating, practice slowing down and savoring your food. With this technique, you eat a very small amount of food while paying full attention to how it tastes and feels in your mouth. Force yourself to take tiny bites, about 1/4 of a teaspoon, and pay total attention to all the details of the food's flavor, texture and even the temperature.
With each bite, allow yourself to feel contented and satisfied by the tastes as well as the sensations of eating. Next time you eat a fabulous dessert such as chocolate mousse cake, relish it and notice every detail.
You may not realize it, but we perceive the most flavor in the first two bites of any food. If you keep eating after that, you're just "feeding." Of course, if you're physically hungry, eating more of the food serves a purpose. But if you're wanting to appreciate the flavor, no matter how much you eat, the taste won't get any more wonderful than those first two bites.
Instead of taking in all those calories, why not take advantage of the way your taste buds actually work? With any food you love, eat those first bites slowly, noticing details such as the cinnamon in the apple pie or the soft caramel swirl in the cheesecake. Close your eyes and let yourself delight in the taste. Eventually, you can actually train yourself to love those first two bites, then stop and let the rest go.
With all those foods you love, here's a way to decide whether you might be fooling yourself into thinking they're a perfect match for your taste buds. For this exercise, choose a tempting food such as a restaurant entree or a decadent dessert. Take a small bite of food, then evaluate it based on each of these criteria.
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