3 Ways to Not Eat Like an A**Hole
Merriam-Webster defines "eating like an A**hole" as:
eating for speed, pleasure, with distraction, and in quantities that exceed activity levels.
Hey it's easy to do and we all find ourselves, from time to time, as "this guy". Kids, travel, family and jobs can create a gravitational pull towards this Bermuda triangle of nutrition.
As a heavy portion of our new work-up to membership we call the "ramp-up", we practice three ways that you can keep yourself healthy while still living a real, normal life.
1) PLAN AHEAD
Nobody is their best when they have to improvise all the time. The best comics/jazz musicians practice and think way ahead for what we think is improv. Planning ahead could look like:
The beginning of the week:
head to the store Sunday afternoon, stoke up the barbecue and oven and cook a weeks worth of animals (grill) and vegetables (oven roasted). Cooking on sunday inevitably helps you look ahead to the week you'll have (travel, appointments, etc) and help you plan when and where you'll eat during the week
The night before:
While Sunday bulk cooking is great, sometimes is unrealistic. A very easy alternative is to cook 2x the amount you need for dinner and eat the left overs for lunch the next day. Eat dinner as usual. Upon clean up, transfer 1/2 to the container for work that you'll pop in your bag in the morning.
The morning of:
Life throws curve balls and if you find you're not home for dinner the night before, it's pretty hard to pack a lunch that doesn't exist. Get up 20 minutes early with a cup of coffee and sit down with your calendar for the day and take a look at what you have lined up.
Unless you're an indentured servant, you'll have breaks ('transitions') throughout your day and these little pockets of time are where you make good choices.
Pocket number one: your way to work. Stop by whole foods, snap kitchen, a territory foods fridge, hell, even 7-11 for some jerky and nuts works. Grab a snack, grab 2 or three and survive thru the day so you don't find yourself having to improv with what's brought in to the office.
2) PAY ATTENTION
Planning ahead may help with what you eat but it won't keep you from overeating. You have to pay attention to be aware of how much you are eating.
Put your phone down. Get off your computer. Don't drive. Stop standing and eating. Seriously, you're not Gordon Gecko or the President of the United States. You can take a break. (if you can't, you need to schedule better or change jobs)
There is a mechanism at play with our metabolism where the signals of "fullness" don't kick in until a certain number of minutes have expired. (ever wonder why hot dog eating contestants stand up and chew incredibly fast? they are trying to beat this window...).
Set your fork/food down between bites.
Chew your food more than 5 times.
[Sounds stupid, right. We've had people loose 50 pounds by ONLY DOING THOSE TWO THINGS. It's simple but has a compounding effect that would make Buffet blush.]
3) FOOD ISN'T (always) ENTERTAINMENT
While we'd like to believe that food has always tasted good, we've gone full-tilt-boogie to believe that everything that touches our mouth should be a celebration.
You don't need a reward just for completing your day
We get it, you work hard and you have stressful situations you are dealing with. A glass of wine a night, however, is 2920 ounces of wine a year. That's 22 gallons of wine. Do you deserve that?
Couple of things to think thru:
maybe you're supposed to work hard and so maybe you should expect to have hard days.
decompress in ways that doesn't compromise your health. Go for a walk, draw a hot bath, watch a documentary, have a nice chat with a friend or loved one, turn a few pages of Dumas, or listen to a record.
Food is fuel in order to be a productive member of society
Much like exercise, we have turned the consumption of food into a social, fun activity. There are times to do just that - celebrate being a human being together but by a large count, your meals should really be quality foods eaten at a reasonable "quantity that support the activity of the day but not excess body fat". That doesn't really sound like a party to us, and for the most part, eating should not be a party; just a necessity.
Stop before you even start
Those times that really do call for a celebration should be...celebrated! Don't be the weirdo at your Dad's retirement party that is counting almonds in the corner - be first to toast that sonofagun for a job well done.
Having said that, we each have foods that we cannot stop overeating. You're not crazy or two steps away from rehab; the food-types typically at celebrations are engineered to be addictive - i.e. "hyper-palatable".
Figure out what those foods are for YOU. We each have some food that are a:
Red light ('if I eat this I literally can't stop")
Yellow light ('I can eat this and it tastes good, but I don't have much trouble stopping if I'm paying attention) &
Green light ("yeah, I like this but have no problems at all controlling myself).
Enjoy yourself at the party, social function, or rhythmic ceremonial ritual but don't eat the "Red" foods. Period.
The easiest thing on earth is to be just like everyone and therefore eat like everyone else (on the fly, too fast and always to reward yourself).
Use these three guidelines to start to separate yourself from the pack.
Where do you start? We recommend just picking one and make it the easiest one of all. Start there and progress only when you've nailed that one and it becomes second nature!
Here's to being: