Last week, CNN Health published an article called, “The moments that make us fat.” It stressed the importance of not relying on willpower alone but relying more on strategies to help people recognize and eliminate bad eating habits that we may not realize are harmful. Basically, there is no getting around moments of temptation. You need to have a real plan in place in order to overcome these fat-building moments so that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.The five top moments CNN identified as the most fattening are:
1. On vacation
2. After a break-up
3. A party with fabulous food
4. Watching TV
5. At a buffet, or a restaurant with enormous portions.
You can read the CNN article in its entirety here. Of course, I agree most people can relate to these top moments. However, in my opinion, a busy mother’s top fattening moments look a little different.
Here is my top 5 fattening moments as a mom and how I learned to outwit them:
1. Kids not finishing their meals. For some reason, I used to have the hardest time throwing food out. Every time my kids would get done eating, most of the time I would finish the leftovers. It actually became a joke that I was the kid’s scrap eater. I didn’t even think it was that big a deal until I started paying attention to food portions. It was then I realized that those few bites were costing me many extra calories. I still hate to throw food out but, instead of my husband or I being a human garbage disposable, I implemented a couple different strategies. First, I give them smaller portions. If they don’t finish the meal it’s not a large waste and they can always get more if they want it. Second, if there are leftovers I either pack up the meals if it’s worth saving or throw it out.
2. Empty refrigerator syndrome. Inevitably, a day or two before grocery shopping, the refrigerator is completely empty. We eat horrible whenever there isn’t healthy food readily available in our house. We will often order take out or just graze on whatever we can find. Most likely we order pizza and chicken fingers, which we all know is the worst. I triumphed over this fattening moment by planning a weekly menu. This way we know what we are having for dinner each night of the week. Also, it simplifies grocery shopping by forcing me to shop only for the items necessary for that week’s menu. An empty fridge isn’t so much of an issue now because I try to plan all of our meals right up until the next time I go grocery shopping. I know it seems kind of obsessive but, believe me this strategy has really simplified our life and supports us in eating much healthier.
3. Running errands and the kids are screaming for a snack. It never fails that when we would go out I would hear “Mommy! I’m hungry!” or “Mommy I want donuts” or worse “Mommy let’s get french fries”. If I had nothing else to give them, guess what I would do? Yep, stop and get them fast food. I shudder now at the thought of the numerous empty calories we were eating every time I gave. We no longer stop for snacks unless it is a special treat and planned out. Now I make sure they have a snack before we leave, carry healthy snacks with me, and always have their water bottles ready.
4. Grazing while making dinner. I think I could easily say this was one of my biggest fattening moments. In the past, I was picking on all kinds of snacks while I would make dinner. I estimate that I would eat about 300-400 calories just in snacks before I even sat down for dinner. The two things that help me to not nibble on food before dinner are water and gum. I try to drink water right when I get home from work and then pop a piece of gum in my mouth while making dinner. This strategy, while very simple, has assisted me tremendously in reducing my calories.
5. It’s the end of the night, kids are finally in bed and I have 1 hour till I pass out. Like most moms, I might get an hour to myself every night and even then that’s pushing it. Most nights all I want to do is sit on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream and/or popcorn! But, as we all know, the end of the night is the worst time to load up on calories. This is why I needed to find a way to unwind without food. If I must have something, I try to eat no more than 150 calories. For example, a 100 calorie bag of popcorn or a Skinny Cow ice cream treat, are tasty and very satisfying. I’ve found that it’s best for me to not even go into my living room and relax because I’m always tempted to eat. What I typically do is, brush my teeth, pick a book to read, relax, and go to bed.
All five of these fattening moments played a huge role in how I gained weight. Once I recognized these situations were road blocks to my weight loss, I was able to develop simple strategies and easily get them under control.
What fattening mom moments would you add to this list? Have you been able to overcome and ff so let us know how?