FAST FIXES THAT WORK! Changing our environment is important, but unless we also change our eating habits— the habits that prompt us to mindlessly eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting (while watching our favorite show)—we won’t be celebrating our 20-pound weight loss at this time next year. Though it sounds counterintuitive, the solution to mindless eating is not mindful eating. Mindful eating is just too hard. Who wants to keep track of every bite you put in your mouth? The best strategy is to transform bad mindless eating habits into good mindless eating habits—so you eat less without really thinking about it. Here’s how.
oo r o t k f y o transform bad mindless eating habits int s i a l t i n b . Her h
Most of us don’t eat poorly all
the time. There’s usually one
time of day—or one day during
the week—when we fall into what
I call a “dietary danger zone.”
Stuffers overeat at mealtimes,
filling and refilling their plates,
perhaps because they haven’t
eaten much earlier in the day.
Receptions and celebrations
are distracting environments for
party bingers, who can lose track—
or control—of how much they’ve
eaten or drunk.
Both desktop diners and dashboard diners are speed eaters.
They eat at work or on the go
to save time—yet often don’t
realize how much they’ve eaten,
since they’re eating quickly.
DESKTOP/ DASHBOARD DINING
The restaurant indulger eats out
often, having dinner away from
home at least three nights a week.
Research shows that if you’re served
more (as you usually are at restaurants), you’ll automatically eat more.
Grazers typically reach for food
more from habit than hunger.
Maybe it’s that 3 p.m. slump, when
the offerings in the office vending
machine actually look good.
FI TNESS FADS Take a fun look back at celebrity trainers
and exercise fads through the decades at aarp.org/fitnessfads.
44 AARP THE MAGAZINE
Focus on your biggest
dietary danger zone
Yes, you might have multiple danger
zones, but which one is adding the
most pounds? For homebodies, it
might be meal stuffing or snack
grazing. For social butterflies, it might
be restaurant indulging or party
binging. For workaholics, it might
be desktop/dashboard dining.
Many of us aren’t sure which of the
dietary danger zones is our biggest
problem. One AARP member, Charles,
50, came to me wanting to control his
party binging. When he was at a party,
he said, no potato chip or cookie was
safe. He was convinced this was the
source of the 30 to 40 extra pounds he
wanted to lose. When I asked him how
many parties he attended each year,
he said, “Usually
every New Year’s
Eve.” Clearly one
party a year was
not his 40-pound
ended up being
he did between
3 and 5 p.m.)
afe. He was
e said, “Usu
arty a year w
ot his 40-po
nded up bei