Down with free food

On Saturday of HLS we were introduced to Dawn Blatner, an RD who wrote the book The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn gave two amazing speeches that really inspired me to change my eating habits.

Her first discussion was about action mantras. To summarize, an action mantra is three or four words that you can repeat to guide yourself towards making healthier choices. Very simply put, repetition = results. She gave us several examples such as Table-Plate-Chair to help stop grazing. Anytime you want to eat something, remind yourself that you must be sitting at a table with a plate; no more noshing over the sink or out of the refrigerator.

Of course I should note that they are all positive phrases. Dawn noted that negativity is not a true, long-term motivator. Perhaps it will work for you this week, yet eventually it will drag you down. Being positive has always been a struggle for me (I’m a Realistic Rachel), but this is one area where I need to change my point of view.

What resonated the most for me was the mantra for eating out. When considering buying food from a restaurant (because I’m too lazy to prepare dinner), I’ll have to remind myself “Social Not Convenience”. Eating out with friends is completely acceptable, but I need to stop picking up food for myself. I’ve always been full of excuses and reasons not to prepare my own meals, but it is time to change my unhealthy ways.

Also something I’ve always fallen victim to is allowing myself to snack on samples and food brought in by others. A great mantra for this is “No Free Food”. How often does someone bring into the office a box of donuts or cookies and we succumb? Dawn’s tip is to say no to the food, if you really want a donut then you can pick yourself up and go to the store to buy your own.

Hopefully I can keep these mantras in mind as I make my new life change in the next few weeks!

Are there any mantras that you use to get and keep yourself motivated?

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About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on August 26, 2011, in Running. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I love this post! I need to put the table-plate-chair into action; I grazed like crazy yesterday!

  2. I really like the no free food mantra. There’s constantly food being brought into my office, and from Halloween through Valentine’s Day, it’s really bad since clients and companies we do business with are sending us all sorts of treats. (I usually refer to November through February as the “season of fat.”)

    A lot of times I find myself craving these things, but I’m sure that more often than not it’s just because it’s there. I wonder if I would still want that donut if I had to walk my happy-self all the way down the street to Dunkin Donuts and spend my own money on it. My guess is probably not. (A – I’m cheap. B – I use all my free time at work to read and comment on blogs so I’m too busy to go pick up a donut.)

    I’m definitely going to have to start employing this strategy!

  3. Ive been saying social not convenience to myself all week! These are great mantras and you are going to eat more at home in your new life, I know it!

  4. I totally go for free food. I think it’s the desperate college student in me (even though I’m 5 years post-college).*

  5. Erm, the Jew in me makes me stick to the motto “only free foods.” That might explain my current weight problem.

  6. I’ve gotten over free food – and using coupons for processed foods – but it took a while. We have monthly “donut days” at work and I used to succumb and then feel like crap after the sugar crash. When I reminded myself that I could buy a donut downstairs any day but never did because I didn’t really want one, I stopped going to “donut day.” We also have ice cream bars on Fridays, and I’ve also decided that the cheap Good Humor bars just aren’t worth it (please don’t convince me otherwise). I can still be tempted by the brownies at a lunch meeting, but only if they are the fudgy kind without nuts or frosting ….

  7. I like the “no free food” mantra…also the “social not convenience” mantra. I could definitely use both of those!

  8. I’ve been trying to use the “Only Social Sweets” one that Dawn talked about…but it’s hard!

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