These Hacks Are Helping Bill Control His Eating
This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.
By Bill Kimm
I like food. I mean, I really like. Food comforts me and I love to eat. It started at an early age, and for as long as I can remember I have associated happy thoughts and good feelings with food. There is just something about the taste of food that brings me so much joy and pleasure. I love my wife’s cooking; I love going out to eat; I like food.
It might not be a big deal if I could control myself and control the amount of food I eat. I remember when I was a teenager my parents used to joke about “human trash” because anything that wasn’t eaten on their plate or on my brother’s plate, I would eat. In my teens and 20s, a quality meal at fast food establishments just wasn’t enough, and I would order a second burger or additional burritos because I just liked the taste of it all.
Unfortunately, as we get older, these bad habits never went away. I always love a good steak – and we’re talking about a 12-ounce serving. (Don’t even tease me with a 4-ounce serving!) A double cheeseburger is ALWAYS better than a single. Free popcorn refills at the movies (oh how much I miss seeing movies)? Yes please! And don’t even get me started on desserts and sweets.
Because I love to eat so much, it has become a crutch for my emotions. Bored? Hit the pantry for some crisps! Stress? Cookies will calm those nerves! Sad? Ice cream! (Always ice cream!)
I say all of this because I realize that is why I am where I am today. I am 46 years old and 246 pounds. For a healthy BMI at my height, I should weigh around 180 pounds (and that flirts with the health / overweight line). Full disclosure, at my age, I don’t have the desire to completely stop eating my delicious and favorite foods. But I know I at least need to limit them. Unfortunately, I don’t have much willpower. This is why I need to develop strategies to help myself.
My friend Sara is a dietitian and she gave me two simple and surprisingly effective tips.
1. Eat on a smaller plate. It’s amazing how mental eating actually is. When I use a plate, I fill the plate because that’s exactly what I’m supposed to do. Well that leads to bigger portions and overeating just because it’s on my plate. (And who weren’t taught to clean his plate when he was a kid in the 80s!) Using a salad plate, I always fill the plate, however, with much smaller portions, and believe it. On it or not, when I’m done my brain thinks, “I ate a whole plate, I’m satisfied. I am amazed at how well it works, but it really does. I don’t have seconds despite eating less food because my brain thinks I’ve eaten more than enough. And speaking of seconds …
2. Put away all leftovers BEFORE eating. I love this simple tip so much! I often get seconds for two reasons: the food is delicious and more is readily available. Putting all the leftovers in containers and in the fridge before eating, when I’m done, it’s too much work to remove everything just for a few more bites. Plus (here’s the mental thing again), if all the food is put away, my brain says dinner time is over. There is no more food to taste. This is such a simple trick, and it really works.
These two easy changes have helped me eat healthier and reduce my calorie intake a bit. And a few weeks ago my 2021 healthier blogger colleague Mark had a third brilliant tip he wrote that I also added that is to immediately ask for a box at the restaurant and put half of your meal away. before you start to eat.
I love the taste of food, and that’s not going to change miraculously (I don’t want it either; I love food!). So I need to find some hacks to resist the temptation to overeat. These tips work for me, and I would love to hear about the hacks that work for you. Please send them to me!
Bill is the Senior Director of Funded Content Strategy for WebMD. He has been trying to find a balance with his weight, exercise and general well-being for over 15 years. As he approaches 50, Bill understands how important it is to maintain good, healthy habits and take better care of yourself. He has the support of his wife and two children (aged 22 and 15) and hopes this blog humanizes the struggles of weight loss in middle age and offers hope to others who live. the same thing. To learn more about his career, follow him on Instagram @billkimm and on TikTok @ billkimm3.
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