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If it’s available, you’re probably going to eat it

Posted: Feb 6, 2013

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If it’s available, you’re probably going to eat it

I’m guessing very few of you would be surprised if I told you that the number one reason people eat what they do is availability.  It’s something I hear fairly often from clients; “If I bring chips into the house, I’ll eat them”.  My response is always in agreement and may include the example of my experience with baked goods during this past Christmas.  I ate more lemon squares, Nanaimo bars (my favourite dessert!) and macaroons then I had planned because there were always plenty available.  Even placing them in the back of our freezer didn’t stop me from contemplating having one whenever I was in the kitchen – simply knowing they were there typically made me want one. 

So what can be done?  Consider the following suggestions:

a)      Thoughtfully indulge.  Ask yourself “is it worth the calories?” and if so, “what’s the smallest amount I need in order to feel satisfied?

b)      Ensure well-organized eating throughout the day.  Eat within one hour of waking then every two-three hours thereafter, always include protein and meet your minimums (men: approx 400 calories/meal, 200/snack, women: approx. 300 per meal, 150/snack).

c)      Stay hydrated.  The drive for thirst is stronger than that for food.  If you find that you are nibbling on several different foods and yet not feeling satisfied, you may be thirsty.  Aim for 1.5-2.0 litres of fluid/day. 

d)     Avoid bringing foods you may struggle with into your home.  Again, if it’s not there, you’re far less likely to eat it.  The odds of me having a Nanaimo bar at home these days is practically nil).  Alternatively, you can aim to have smaller, pre-portioned amounts on hand.  At the very least, this may help prevent you from mindlessly reaching into the bag.

Mark McGill, RD