“You are responsible for what you put in your mouth”

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A common theme that comes up when discussing weight and eating habits are excuses we use to displace blame for our inability to properly control our portion sizes and eating.

A common excuse is a cook who judges the quality of their own cooking by how much of their food you eat.  They will insist that you eat more and more food.

I’ve encountered my share of such cooks.  And for a long time my defenses were useless.  I would eat rather than risk offending.

Many years ago on the Dr. Laura radio talk show I heard the Dr. Laura say something that changed my mind.  A caller struggling with her weight was using that old excuse — everybody feeds me to much.

Dr. Laura’s response, which is the title of this post, made me realize that I had to take ownership for the food I put in my mouth.  I can’t say no is not a good excuse.

It took some time, but I learned a great way to handle the monitoring cooks.  Be polite and tell the truth.

  1. Thank you for making this food. It was excellent.   Do you have some I can take home?
  2. I wish I could eat more, but I am watching my weight.

Sometimes the concern is with wasting food.  The cook might say something like, I made all of this food, I don’t want it to go to waste.

When I was losing weight and I faced this demand I came up with a little saying that absolved me of my guilt for wasting food:

I’d rather waste it than waist it (i.e. put extra weight on my waist).

It’s a stupid pun, but it worked.  It reminded me of my main goal to lose weight and kept me from being distracted with other concerns like wasting food.

Give it a try the next time someone doesn’t want you to waste food.

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Cut the emotional ties

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My dog, may she rest in peace, loved dried pig ears dog treats.  Pig ears put her into another state of mind.  Get close and she’d growl and bear her teeth.  Touch her and she’d nip at you.

I think we have similar emotional ties to food.

Here’s a way to test it.  While eating with others and everyone seems to be enjoying their food, ask them if they should be eating so much.  Then observe the sour looks.

When we’re eating, we are often in another state of mind.

Emotional ties to food come in many forms.  Some people can’t break the habit of overeating.  Sometimes they have ties to specific foods or treats or eating establishments.

When I was more emotionally tied to my food, my life revolved around it.  I looked forward to trying new restaurants and new recipes and focused more on the eating portion of sharing meals with friends and family than the being with friends and family part.

Severing some of these ties can help you control your weight.   Here are some of the ways I severed my ties:

  1. I began to view food, first and foremost, as a source of nourishment rather than a source of emotional satisfaction.
  2. I reminded myself that each meal was not my last meal.
  3. I found other things to rely on to keep me busy like exercising, reading and interacting with friends.
  4. Don’t eat less now to enjoy more food later.  Sometimes I hear people justify eating less at lunch so they can have a ‘bigger dinner’.   That’s like a metabolic wrecking ball that can make it tougher to lose weight.
  5. Enjoy smaller portions of the stuff you love.  Again, this time isn’t likely to be your last.  Slow down and savor and remind yourself that you will get to enjoy more soon.

I’m not perfect.  I still have some emotional ties to food.  If someone were to ask me while I’m stuffing my face if I should be eating so much, I’d give them a sour look too.

But, I am much better than I use to be.  Much better than when I weighed about 30 pounds more.

FREE exercise videos

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I found free exercise videos on AT&T Uverse’s Free On Demand service last night.

I imagine other cable and satellite TV services have them as well.  This removes lots barrier for folks wanting to start an exercise program or work something different into the current program.

No need for a gym membership or expensive pieces of exercise equipment.  No worries about getting hit by a car or jumped by a mugger outside.  No worries of long lines at the gym or weather.  No scheduling worries.  You can watch the videos when you want in your own home.  You can do in them in you PJ’s.  No travel time to the gym.

The videos seemed to be 20 – 25 minutes in length, so they’re not too hard to fit into even a busy schedule.

There are well over a hundred videos available, so there’s plenty of variety.

I tried one of the videos to work out some kinks from shoveling snow.  It was 24 minutes in length and it got me sweating, stretching and working my muscles.

If you don’t have Free On Demand exercise videos with your cable company, other options include checking your local library for exercise DVDs or checking the internet.  I havn’t research the internet, but I imagine youtube might have some exercise videos as well.