The other day I went to the cabinet where I keep the chocolate chips to grab a handful and I couldn’t find them. Then I remembered. They were in a jar with the lid one as far back in the cabinet as I could put them. I’d need to either climb on the counter or grab a chair to get them. In that moment, I thanked my past self and went on with my day.
Do you ever eat just because it’s there? Do you ever snack because it’s accessible and easy? I know I do. These are some of the scars that a lifetime of over eating and free range snacking have left. Even four years after losing 45+ pounds, I still have trouble with mindless eating, over eating, and snacking when I’m not hungry. I have to plan ahead in order to combat my weak moments. I have to make my stronger, present self accountable for my weaker future self.
We see it all the time. On Monday, we vow to eat great, work out daily, and live a healthier lifestyle. By Wednesday, we’ve all but forgotten our goal, and by Friday we’re telling ourselves that we’ll “start next Monday.” Lather, rinse, and repeat. It’s too easy to submit to temptation when you pretend that it’s not there.
Got leftovers? Either chuck ’em or freeze ’em. Tasty leftovers are an easy target when they’re sitting pretty in the fridge. I am definitely likely to take a bite here and there if they’re easily accessible. If it’s enough food to make a serving, I’ll throw them in the freezer for an easy meal later. If not, I try my hardest to just throw them out to avoid temptation.
Put it somewhere harder to get to. If it takes me a few extra steps to get to a tempting food, I’m more likely to build the willpower to say no. You will be reminding yourself why it is where it is, and more likely to stop.
Double wrap it. If I can’t freeze it, or don’t want to throw it out, I either wrap it two times in plastic wrap or foil or twice in a baggie. Again, make it harder to get to, and you’re more likely to resist later!
Write a note. This used to work great for me when I would bring meals and snacks into my office at work. If I let myself, I’d eat all of it before 12 and then have to go out at 3 for a snack. I KNOW. I started putting post-it notes on things, telling myself when I could eat them. That way, I could re-evaluate whether I was hungry or bored at work. Did I really need to eat my snack before lunch, or did I just need to get up and stretch my legs.
Set an alarm. My weakest time is nighttime, when I slowly snack the world away. This year I imposed a 9 o’clock rule. Except for very rare treats or emergencies, I don’t eat after 9 pm. Sounds fine and dandy, but its upholding the rule that’s tricky. I found if I set an alarm for 9:15 I am more likely to not eat or snack after 9. It’s a visual reminder of the pact I made with myself.
Look, if you’re the kind of person who has willpower of steel, ignore this post. But if you’re like me, you need an extra push. This is what helps me keep my present self accountable for the future, to help me prepare for weakness. I hope it helps you too.
Linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud.
How do you keep yourself accountable? Do you have willpower of steel, or do you need tricks to help along the way like me?