I made a sign for my bulletin board that said: “THINK: Before food goes in and words come out!” One night after I binged on potato chips and dip (my favorite comfort snack) and said something to someone I wished I had not, I jotted that down. Because we are always moving so fast and trying to accomplish so much, we often don’t give ourselves time to think. And let’s face it, the older we get and the more responsibilities we add to our plates, the more we have to make a conscious effort to think before we eat or speak.
Here are four tips I use to try to help me with this (besides keeping a sign with these words on my bulletin board):
- Have a confidant or confidants.
This is no-brainer. You’re going to be crabby sometimes. You’re not always going to say the right thing. People are going to piss you off. But you really should think before you speak–you don’t want your neighbors to plan your move or your co-workers to take bets on who wants to throat punch you first. So you need a group of trusted friends, or at least one, where you can share your witty and sarcastic thoughts, instead of saying them directly to the people who are driving you crazy. I know this sounds like I’m advocating talking behind people’s backs. That’s the glass half-empty way of looking at this because everyone needs an outlet–that’s real life.
- Don’t be around people who make you crazy.
I realize this is easier said than done. And if you can limit contact with people who drive you crazy, you won’t need to share so much with those confidants mentioned above. But there are some people in your life who you will not be able to avoid. For example–your adorable children, who can turn into little beasts when hungry, tired, and overstimulated. (This is why you need those confidants.) If it’s a co-worker who is rude, you don’t have much choice, except for the confidants or finding a new job. But I bet there are some people in your life who drive you crazy, and you don’t have to be around them. You are CHOOSING this. Why? Why are you doing this to yourself? (Look, I have been guilty, trust me–I know it is easier said than done!) If someone does not treat you with the respect and kindness you deserve, then you don’t have to be around this person.
- Make yourself write down the food you eat.
Now we get to the what goes in your mouth–or “a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”. If you have trouble with your eating habits, one thing I have found to work, to be aware of what I’m doing, is to write down everything I eat/drink. After I had my daughter, I went to Weight Watchers to lose the baby weight, and I found the program worked great. I know it’s not the answer for everyone, but one of the things they preach is: keep track of the food and the portions you eat. I had to go back to Weight Watchers–I reached my goal about 7 months after Katie was born, and then had to go back when she was 3? But I have managed to keep it all off since then (almost 3 years) and stay well below my goal weight, using the principles of being aware (most days), portion control, balanced diet, and exercise–all things I learned from WW.
- Don’t buy food you like.
Okay, maybe I should change that to don’ t buy junk food you like. I wouldn’t have binged on those chips and dip that I mentioned above if I wouldn’t have bought them. Ah, it seems so simple–I know it’s not. But if you have only healthy snacks that satisfy you, the chances of you putting on clothes to go out and buy junk food when it is late at night and the kids are in bed are much lower. ESPECIALLY if you think about what goes into your mouth before you put it in. 🙂