(Indoor cycling instructors probably have their holiday eating under control, so this post is for your participants. I hope the information helps them.)
Quite a few years ago, I was on staff at a 10-day seminar on nutrition and eating behaviors. We lived at the ranch where it was held. Staff and participants alike followed the same mealtime rules.
Frankly, the seminar wasn”™t particularly good. But we did one great exercise that helps me to this day.
The Standing Ovation
In the dining hall, we had to stand and announce that we were going back to the buffet to take seconds. At that point, everyone in the room gave us a standing ovation.
The reason behind this is simple. Some people tend to pile food on their plates when they go through the buffet line. It prevents the embarrassment of returning for more. The problem is, once the food is on the plate, it”™s easy to keep eating, even when we don”™t want it.
Giving yourself permission to get seconds eliminates the need to pile extra on the plate. Start with a small portion, and get more only if you really need and want it.
A Better Standing Ovation
The other part of the exercise was this: We had to stand and announce whenever we were throwing away food. Again, everyone in the room gave us a standing ovation.
I”™m convinced this is one of the most valuable exercises anyone with food issues can try.
Most of us grew up learning that it”™s a sin to throw away food. Didn”™t you? Because of the starving children, right? Where were they starving when you learned it? We all heard different countries, different locations, but the sin was the same.
Kids immediately see through this nonsense and say, “So send it to them.” No one can convince kids that shoveling food that they don”™t want or need into their mouths will help starving children anywhere. And yet this “teaching” persists and its negative lesson lingers into adulthood.
U.S. Food Production
Meanwhile, the U.S. produces 3950 calories worth of food for every man, woman and child (even infants) in the U.S., each and every day. 3950 calories is far more than most adult men need, and certainly more than women and children need.
So much of the food the U.S. produces is excess. There”™s almost no way to prevent wasting of food.
Under circumstances like those, throwing away food isn”™t a sin. It”™s survival. And learning to be 100% okay with doing it is the smartest strategy.
Convincing My Clients To Get Rid Of Trouble Food
It isn”™t easy to convince my clients of that. One client bought a giant tub of dates at Costco. Even though the date sugar kept triggering binges and her weight was creeping up, she kept eating them daily. When we talked about it, she said, “They”™re almost gone.”
Perfect. Don”™t put the dates in the garbage. Treat your body like a garbage can and put the dates in there. Yikes.
Another client had dinner with her parents at their home twice a week and couldn”™t refuse the giant portions her mother served her. She had a problem with the sin of throwing away food. I wish she”™d learn to use plastic containers for the purpose for which they”™re intended.
Seminar Benefits You Can Use
After the seminar at the ranch — and all those standing ovations! — I can throw away any food. Now, I”™m definitely NOT telling you to buy good food and throw it away for no reason.
But if a food — especially sugar — is making it difficult or impossible to stick with your eating plan, it needs to go. Not when it runs out, but now.
The impact of the sugar you can”™t stay away from is huge. It goes beyond the “empty calories” most people talk about when discussing sugar. (Does that phrase bore you as much as it bores me?)
Toss That Sugar
Sugar increases appetite by inhibiting your satiety center. It changes your food preferences and makes you want more junk and fewer vegetables. It can make your eating feel out of control. As all of that happens, it affects your self-esteem, and not in a positive way.
And sugar will — as always — be everywhere this holiday season, along with holiday buffets.
Stop treating your body like a garbage can. Throw junk in the real garbage can, where it belongs. If you need to ruin the food first, do it. (Dishwashing liquid is handy for that!) Dump it and move on.
Your body deserves better. So does your brain, and your self-esteem. Can you hear the standing ovation?
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