Behavior Modification Strategies for Weight Loss

Look at your home and work environment like a detective. What specific behaviors, habits, or aspects of your environment interfere with making lasting lifestyle changes? These cues can be eliminated or at least greatly diminished using the following tips:

Eat slowly

Chew your food completely and place your eating utensil on the plate between bites.

Always eat in a specific place

Choose a room where you will do all of your eating, and promise yourself not to eat anywhere else.

Do not keep leftovers on the table to invite additional nibbling after you finish

Instead, get up from the table immediately and do something else. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer before your meal so you will not be tempted to eat more later.

Keep food out of sight as much as possible

Do not keep it on the counter or in see-through containers. Keep your healthier choices in see-through containers so you learn to choose those before the others.

Bring healthy snacks and meals with you to work

This way, you will not be at the mercy of the cafeteria, fast food, or vending machines.

Do not eat lunch at your desk

Go to the lunchroom or a picnic table outside, but break the psychological connection between your desk and eating.

Learn to change your routine

If you go to the refrigerator first thing after work, learn to go directly to another room so you will eventually break that connection.

Try not to nibble while preparing foods

If munching while you cook is a problem for you, try to prepare several meals at once at the beginning of the week to decrease the amount of time you will be vulnerable.

When you have a craving, try waiting 10 minutes before you eat anything

When you do not immediately respond to cravings, they tend to decrease in intensity. Repeated over time, the craved food will lose its strength and power over you.

Always have an escape route

Do not put yourself in a situation where you feel unable to control your eating. If you find yourself overwhelmed at any time, have a plan for how you will allow yourself to leave.

Source: Alexander C. The Emotional First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery, Second Edition. © 2009 Matrix Medical Communications.

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