This post is going to use the “D” word—run for cover. Discipline. I read a book decades ago called Discipline: The Joy-filled Life, and I found it to be true. It is not drudgery, but a way of life that accomplishes goals, makes healthy choices, and is not prone to out-of-control frenzies or despair. So how am I disciplined about eating? This might take several posts actually…
I never create food habits. As soon as I see a pattern with food that I might be dependent on, I break it. I don’t have to have certain things every day at a certain time. I am in charge, not the food.
I never carry food around with me, except bag lunches, which I do a lot and don’t eat until it really is lunchtime. No candy bars in my purse. No regular stops for lattes or fast food.
At home food stays in the kitchen or pantry. No stashes of food here and there, so that there is something to munch on in every room. One exception: the candy dish in the living room, which never has chocolate in it, and from which I can have one piece a day—but not if it’s becoming a food habit.
I don’t nibble while I cook, unless it is raw vegetables or fruit. I don’t eat cookie dough unless it is in ice cream. The only food I sample while cooking is gravy, because I find that impossible to make without a taste test. I admit I might lick the beaters when I have whipped cream…
I rarely take second servings, with salad and plain vegetables as the exception. I keep my meat portions small and gravitate toward whole grains and fruits and vegetables to fill up on.
If I do overeat till I am too full, I don’t eat again until my stomach is empty. That means growling. Sometimes that will be late into the next day. Then I just eat a normal meal.
I don’t reward myself with a snack if I exercise. In fact, I rarely reward myself with food for anything. My life is too full of other things to celebrate with food to add rewards of any kind.
If I am eating out and the restaurant portions are large, I divide everything on my plate in two, ask for a doggy bag, and take half home. If it is really good, it sometimes helps to get the doggy bag right away, so the food is packed up before I whittle it down. Then I enjoy what I have in the restaurant and anticipate enjoying it again the next day.
I never completely eliminate something I like to eat. It’s all about portion control. If I had an eating motto it would be: “Moderation in all things.” So when I dish up, I take some of everything, but there should still be space between each item on my plate. It should look ample, not loaded.
I realize that there are other people around me who can eat more than I can and get away with it. I don’t dwell on that. Learning what is right for me to eat—what, how much, and how often—is an important key to how I eat now.