He mentions a woman who used some unique strategies. When served dessert, she poured salt over half of it so she wouldn't eat that part. After giving snacks to her kids, she applied slow-drying nail polish so she wouldn't reach into the bag for more.
I think too often I have relied on sheer willpower and turned my nose up to "strategies." Whenever I did use tactics to stop eating, I felt like I was being weak. But, after reading his book, I see the wisdom in having a few tricks up my sleeve.
Here's a list of strategies I've come across. I've tried some of them, but not all. It's nice to have a selection to choose from to see what works for me, and to devise a plan.
- Never eat directly from a package; use a bowl or plate.
- Brush teeth right after meals, to help avoid munching as you clean up the dishes.
- Keep a buffer of time and space between you and temptations. (Such as stashing the chips in a far corner of a far closet, so it takes more effort to retrieve them--giving time and distance to rethink having any.)
- Better yet, don't buy the things you want to avoid.
- I recall reading about a woman who put her "house" on a diet. She would not bring anything into the house that she shouldn't eat. If she really, really, really wanted that candy bar, she had to drive to the store and get it. (Which combines the previous two strategies.)
- Drink water before a meal.
- Only eat at the table.
- Dish up your meal on a small plate so the serving sizes look bigger. (This strategy works for my husband, but not for me. If I serve myself food on a small plate, I think to myself, "I only had a small plate of that... I can have more." It works far better for me to use a full size plate and arrange my food so it looks like a plateful.)
- Put your fork down between bites.
- Sip water between bites.
- Cover up, or discard leftovers immediately. (I found placing my napkin over my plate when I'm finished really does help me quit picking at what's left on my plate.)
- When going out to eat, decide what (and how much) you will eat before you go. (To avoid giving in to impulses.)
- At restaurants, ask the server to bring a take-home container along with your meal, then put half of your food in the box right away. Out of sight. Out of mind.
- Enlist the help of friends or family. ("Don't let me order the full rack of ribs!")
- Always leave something on the plate.
- Before eating, ask yourself aloud, "Do I want to eat, or do I need to eat."
I need to exercise my willpower muscles, but I'm also selecting some strategies for back up. I'm sure you can add to my list of tactics. What works for you?