Diet Success: Your Eating Environment

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Forget about WHAT you eat. Let’s talk about WHERE and HOW you eat.

What?  Isn’t WHAT I eat so essentially important to my diet?

Yes.  But No.

I like to think I eat pretty well. I keep food logs on occasion for my benefit. I read labels. I avoid certain foods that don’t make me feel good, I eat organic and pastured, local and free-range whenever possible. I cleanse and eliminate test foods. I use my hands and fingers to make sure I am portioning out correct amounts of macronutrients.

However, on busy days, where I have worked most of the day and not eaten enough food, and it’s time to pick up the kids from school, I have an eating disaster brewing. I can choose to stop at home, try to salvage something healthy, or I can fit one more errand in before I absolutely HAVE to pick them up. I always choose one more errand. I LOATHE taking the children on errands after school.  I would rather clean toilets every day than drag them to the grocery store. So I find myself digging around for snacks for the kids or worse, stopping at a convenience store to pick something up.  Naturally, I am starving, so I pick up something for myself.  There are not a lot of good choices at gas stations, and even when the grocery store is my “last errand”, I still can pull a case of “good food gone bad”- as in, I don’t eat a portion of sushi, I eat the whole tray.  Plus half a bag of popcorn.  IN.MY.CAR. I know that fast-food restaurants made it totally acceptable to eat in your car, but we haven’t really had much good in the way of nutrition come out of the fast food industry, have we?

Yesterday's eating road trip.
Yesterday’s eating road trip.

I often find that I can take care of others quite easily, but I don’t find time to take care of myself. This phenomenon is common with many of my clients as well- busy moms and women with full-time jobs, volunteer commitments and families. Self-care includes making time for eating in an environment that is conducive to planned, thoughtful eating. We wouldn’t send kids to school without their lunches, so why do we do it to ourselves? We get so hungry we overeat if we don’t watch our hunger cues, and we make food choices we wouldn’t normally make.

Think about your eating environment- do you make time to sit and eat your meals?  Do you eat them- like, really chew, taste, and swallow the food? If you’re working on weight loss, think about WHERE you eat and HOW you eat- can you make a change to your eating environment that will improve your eating habits and choices?  



2 Responses

  1. This is so true. I have spent 12+ years taking care of everyone else but myself. Eating healthy has always gone downhill for me around 4 pm if I don’t have a plan and that is when old, bad habits return. I actually just quit my super stressful job so I could make taking care of myself a priority!

    • Susan Ogilvie

      Dawn- that is awesome! Deciding to take care of myself (at least try my best!) has been a life-changing experience for me, and I hope it is for you too!

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