In the movie My Favorite Martian there is a wonderful scene where the newly arrived Martian is introduced to ice cream for the first time. Not surprisingly he found this earthly enticement so scrumptious that he couldn’t stop himself from eating scoop after scoop. He encapsulated his discovery of this delicious treat by saying, ‘One scoop’s too many and a million is not enough!’
Many of us have our go-to comfort foods. Whether sweet or salty, restaurant or home-cooked there are times when something tastes so good you don’t want to stop. This can be especially self-sabotaging if you have been ‘being good’ by limiting sweets or eating healthy. We’ve all been there – you get to a dinner, event or party and succumb to temptation thinking I’ll just have a little. Soon the rationalization begins in your head, “Since I’ve already ‘blown’ it I might as well keep eating” or “I’ll just start over tomorrow, on Monday or after the next holiday.”
In addition, we are bombarded all day with clever advertisements that try to program us to believe we have no power to resist or stop. Think of the Lay’s potato chips slogan, “No one can eat just one” or restaurants with their ‘endless’ fries.
So here are two amazingly simple strategies that can short circuit that crazy binge and regret cycle.
1) Make a decision in advance that if you choose to indulge that you are going to have one and be done. It might be one cookie, one slice of pizza, one handful or just one bite of the object of your desire – but then you have to honor your commitment to yourself and stop. One and done!
2) It’s really important to put what you are going to eat on a plate. As much as we’d like to believe that if food goes directly from a serving platter or package directly into our mouths there are no calories, that’s just not true. Once the food you plan to consume is on a plate your brain can better acknowledge you are eating and send signals of satiety so you know when to stop. But here’s the trick to prevent going back for seconds. Leave something on your plate. When you leave a bite or two – even down to a few crumbs you send a message to your brain that you have had enough and are so satisfied that you couldn’t eat another bite. Every time you look at that crumb it reminds you that you are done. Leave a crumb!
There is no reason we can’t have a little cake and eat it too!