Here’s some of the advice that David Kessler, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997, gives in his book The End of Overeating to help you resist the pull of unhealthy foods.
1. Replace chaos with structure. Determine ahead of time what you’ll eat for meals and snacks. Block out everything else.
2. Practice just-right eating. Figure out how much food you need. (Odds are, it’s less than you think.) Put it on your plate and don’t go back for more.
3. Pick foods that will satisfy, not stimulate, you. What satisfies you is personal, but try foods that occur in nature, like whole grains, beans, non-starchy vegetables, and fruit, combined with lean protein and a small amount of fat.
4. Rehearse. Anticipate your moves like an elite athlete before a competition. For example, tell yourself, “If I encounter chocolate-covered pretzels, I’ll keep walking.”
5. Seize control. Stay alert to emotional stressors or other stimuli that trigger automatic behavior. Recognize emotions (like sadness, fatigue, or anxiety) that might lead you to overeat.
6. Stop that thought. Change the channel. Turn off the image of the trigger food before you start to debate whether to eat it.
7. Think negative. Pair the unhealthy food with a stream of (unappealing) images. “That’s the flip side of what advertising agencies do when they link an Olympic athlete to a pair of sneakers or an attractive woman to a new piece of technology,” says Kessler.
Other relevant links:
- A day’s worth of food. See: The OmniHeart Diet: What a Healthy Diet Looks Like
- Advice about how to develop and maintain good eating habits. See: How to Diet: 121 Good Eating Tips
- Making a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier? See: 14 Good Nutrition Tips for 2014