Chapter 7: Take Charge of Your Surroundings

Ok. So we’ve covered being active and eating healthy. Now you have to learn how to take charge of your surroundings. To do this you must first know yourself. What makes you want to eat? Sure, you may eat when you feel hungry, but is there anything else that cues you to eat? What about thoughts or feelings? Or what about things other people say and do? You might even be triggered by the sight or smell of food or watching tv or reading magazines.

For example, you might see a carton of ice cream and want to eat it. Or you might turn on your tv and want potato chips. When you respond to a food cue in the same way, on a regular basis, you create a habit.
Change your cues by:

1. Staying away from the cue. Keep it out of sight or out of your house. For example, you can hide bags of potato chips on the highest shelves that you are less likely to see. Or not buy them when you go to the store.
2. Build a new, healthier habit. Add positive cues to your lie. Keep things with healthy associations in plain view. You can place a bowl of fruit on the table, keep a bike or running shoes out in the open, or even have little reminders posted.
3. Get rid of cues for being inactive. You can limit tv watching. If that’s too hard, you can be active while watching tv. Try tread milling, exercising, or stretching while watching.

Now, you should think very carefully about what you can do to change your bad habits. Look around your house for negative cues. Then look for solutions to change these negative cues to being positive cues. If you can’t change the cue, find a place to hide it.

What if you’re eating out? How do you take charge of that environment? These four tips will help you avoid the pitfalls of eating out.

1. Plan ahead. Call ahead to ask about low-fat choices or look at low-fat options on the menu online. Eat a little something before you go to lower your appetite. When you get there, don’t look at the menu. Order what you planned earlier. And finally, don’t drink alcohol before eating.
2. Ask for what you want. Be firm, but friendly. Ask for what you want and how much you want. Don’t allow servers or chefs to add unhealthy add-ons to your food. And if you receive the wrong order, in a friendly manner state the problem and ask for the order to be corrected.
3. Take charge of your surroundings! Be the first to order. Keep food off the table that you don’t want to eat. Ask that your plate be removes as soon as you finish.
4. Choose foods carefully. Menu items that mention hollandaise, parmesan, au gratin, breaded, cheese sauce, or rich are very fatty. Look for baked, broiled, boiled, grilled, poached, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried. And watch out for sauces! They pack a ton of fat and calories.

Onward to Chapter 8: What to Do When You Slip!

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