My family and I are avid fairgoers. We have passes that allow us to go as much as we want. I love the agricultural tents, my kids love the rides, and we all love the food! The powerful aroma of sausage and peppers, fried dough, jumbo corn dogs, and the doughnut burger (my hubby’s favorite and yes-it exists), commingle for a nasal experience that we look forward to every year.
At premium prices for beverages and meat on a stick, fairgoers expect massive portions and vendors are all too eager to pile it on. Here I am writing three blogs about overeating, and I shamefully must admit that both my three-and-five-year-old children ate jumbo corn dogs; that’s 2 hot dogs dipped in the “corny concoction,” on their own, three times each (well, one per visit). And my husband… “fuh-get-aboutit.” He “triples his Lipitor,” he jokes before heading to the fair and inhaling doughnut burgers, sausages, and hand-cut fries drizzled with cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream.
The fair is obviously a slippery slope for moderation control, but it can certainly be done. These posts are not necessarily about giving up favorite foods; that’s your call, but the point that I am making is that we need to scale back on the amount of food we put into our mouths.
Go ahead and type in “portion size” into your search engine under images and see what pops up. The pictures of a 1970’s sized hamburger versus one today is outstanding! One way to go about eating a burger and not depriving yourself is to split it into half.
Other ways to cut consumption and thereby curtail overeating include:
- Read labels; use your measuring cups to scoop out the portion as stated by the label
- Put your fork down between bites
- Don’t talk with your mouth full
- Take time to enjoy your food; someone took time to make it or make it happen
- Put down the newspaper, the book, & turn off the television
- Drink water between forkfuls or spoonfuls
- Start off your home-cooked meal with a light soup, speaking of spoonfuls: miso, vegetable or just a chicken broth with a little onion
- When at a restaurant, politely decline the bread basket and ask for a cup of hot tea
- When your meal arrives, ask for a box and put half of it away. If there is any chance you might start to pick, place it out of sight
- Another solution to big restaurant meals is to split it with your dining companion(s)
- Chew slowly. We have a tendency to swallow large bits of food as we shovel it into our mouths either because we are so hungry, we are in a hurry, or we want to talk. Slow down and chew. (Eating small meals throughout the day certainly helps us from feeling “starved”)
- Make mealtime a time to relax. Try to be comfortable with silence; put your fork down, lean back, put your hands behind your head, and listen to the conversation
- Get to know easy-to-remember portion-size guidelines. Whether a stack of cards, a hockey puck, a computer mouse, your palm, find images that make sense to you and make it a habit to compare what is in front of you to what you know is a normal portion
Overeating is a product of a multibillion dollar industry. Eating is a fundamental activity for all living creatures. Food, however, can trigger the happy zones in our brain just the way drugs and alcohol can. Because of this aptitude, our mouths and bellies have been exploited and at a very high cost to our health, our wallet, our social wellness. By all means, I am not advocating that you eradicate the foods you love, instead I implore you, and me for that matter, to get a grasp on portion control. To stand up for ourselves and teach ourselves how to eat. To learn to know when we are satisfied. To let go of finishing off a bag of chips, eating an entire gigantic salad or making multiple visits to the buffet. We can train ourselves to eat mindfully, intuitively and in turn model this behavior. This is a tremendous step towards big change.
Next week, we’ll add a psychological twist to these practical tips, as well as motivational tools and behavior modification techniques to support our overeating cessation. How are you doing on your journey? Have you tackled overeating? Have you ever had setbacks, and if so, how did you deal with them? Do you not struggle with overeating? What is your secret? Please share your experiences and be part of the conversation with JumpSport, Inc. by following the JumpSport Fitness Trampoline™ on Facebook or on Twitter @FitTrampoline.
In good health!
Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades
Writer and Social Media Correspondent
Professional Fitness Instructor
FB: The Write Fit & Open Barre Happy Hour