I've been meaning to make this post for a long time but I kept forgetting. Now obviously seemed like the perfect time since I don't want to write a paper for my Women's Studies class.
Okay, so here it goes. This is my NUMBER ONE dieting tip...
If it's not on your diet and you shouldn't eat it then don't buy it.
I always have people tell me they have no self control and always end up eating things they shouldn't. Keeping your house free of junk food is by far the easiest way to avoid this (eating at a restaurant is a different story... or future blog post). This means that you only have to have a lot of self control while you're grocery shopping. While I understand that can be hard to do sometimes, it's definitely not impossible...
Grocery Shopping Success Steps:
1. Do not grocery shop when you're hungry
2. Make a list before you go and STICK TO IT
3. If you have a cheat day then don't buy your cheat items in advance
Here's why this works so well...
1. You can't eat what you don't have. Duh.
2. Most of the time when people cheat on their diet it's because they're in a "I HAVE TO HAVE THIS. GIVE IT TO ME NOW." craving state of mind. (Also known as emotional eating or bored eating.) If you have what you're craving (assuming it's something bad for you) within your reach then you're screwed. Chances are that nothing is going to stop you from running into the kitchen and stuffing your face. However, if you don't have what you're craving at home then you have to take the time to consider whether it's something you actually want (badly enough to go get it), whether or not there's a healthy alternative at home, or if you're even really hungry. Normally my laziness prevails and I realize that I don't want to go drive all the way to go get it. Then once I've decided that I'm not going to give into my craving I can logically think about what I want to eat or if I want to eat at all. I'm not saying that I'm always perfect and manage to talk myself out of driving to get what I want. There is unfortunately a Dairy Queen extremely close to my apartment and we've become very well acquainted. All I'm saying is that having to take the time to go get something often makes you stop and think about whether or not it's worth the effort.
3. If you're sitting at home and start stuffing your face then you're at least stuffing your face with healthy things that will do less damage in the long run. Binging is obviously bad, but if you do it you'll feel less guilty knowing that those 14 rice cakes you ate were only 560 calories instead of a bag of chips that would be in the thousands. - Okay, so maybe not everyone eats 14 rice cakes when they're hungover. Don't judge me.
There are a few problems that can come up with the not buying things approach...
Problem: You're still living at home and Mom and Dad directly buy your groceries.
Solution: Start by nicely asking them if you could try eating healthier as a family. Ideally, they'll say yes and will start buying healthy things. If not, don't get mad. Remember that you're lucky to have food to eat at all. Either give your parents a list of healthy items that you'd like for when they go shopping or start going to the grocery store with them. You can also ask them to clear a special place in the fridge or pantry for you. That way you know that you have a spot of food that is totally okay for you to eat and you'll be more likely to go for it.
Problem: You're living with a roommate and you share your groceries.
Solution: Try nicely asking them to eat healthier with you. If they say no (their loss) then you need to stop sharing groceries. You're ideally not eating all of the junk food that you're buying together so that's wasting your money anyways and knowing that the junk food is technically yours to eat too isn't going to help you stay away from it. Try to explain this as nicely as possible to your roommate. They might get mad and that's okay. They'll get over it.
*Problem: Your significant other doesn't watch what they eat and they want to have something to eat when they're at your place.
Solution: Like the other solutions, try to get them to eat healthier with you. If they say no then you should basically do the reverse of what you'd do if you still live with your parents. Give them a small space in your kitchen for their crappy food. Ideally out of your sight (out of sight, out of mind) and out of your reach. Make sure you have something healthy and yummy for yourself on hand if you're snacking together so you'll be less tempted by their food. Plus, if what you're eating is good then they might be tempted to come over to the healthy side.
*I should note that I'm still incredibly single and have never had a serious relationship (go me... not) so my advice on this one might not be the most sound... but it's what I'd do if I had a boyfriend.
Y'all can comment if you have any questions!