Monday, November 8, 2010

Does it Matter where you Eat your Food?

Have you heard the advice not to eat at your desk, not to eat alone, not to have the food on your plate touching, and not to eat while watching TV? It seems the idea is that if you eat under those conditions, the food you're eating must be the kind that will make you fat. Or you'll mindlessly eat large enough quantities to gain weight. I almost always eat under those conditions, and haven't found any of this to mean anything. Would it make a difference if I plopped down with some coworkers to eat the lunch I packed? Or if I took my plate to the dining room table instead of here at my computer? Maybe it would be even better if I put my dog's dish on the table so she could join me. I really might end up eating less that way: she's a terrific scavenger.

I don't think it makes a bit of difference where you eat your food. It's what you eat. Of course, if you don't plan and prepare, you can end up eating whatever is handy, and that, I suspect, is a real reason people eat junk food at work or alone--or at home or with others, for that matter.

For what it's worth, the way I prepare is to go to the grocery store once a week and stock up on nutritious foods: meat, non-starchy veg, nut butter, eggs, protein powder, spices, cream, cheese, etc. as needed. I also get some snacks like pork rinds and low-carb ice cream. As for chips, cookies, pasta, and other high-carb food, I just don't buy it. I don't even look at it or think about it. If the stuff isn't in my house, I won't fall into temptation. Even a little bit of this makes me feel lousy, so it's no sacrifice for me.

To help keep my groceries from spoiling, I put them away immediately when I get home and don't let them sit out when I use them. I wrap them up and put them away.

Every night, I pack a lunch keeping in mind what my appetite really is, not the amount I think I should eat. Even though I work downtown, it's slim pickings for low-carb fare--and expensive. If I need to, I can buy a low-carb nut bar or string cheese or a salad at the convenience store in the building, but I pack almost everything I eat at work. It makes it easy to avoid the junk food at the office. (I do indulge in a few chocolate candies at work, though. What can I say--there's no substitute for chocolate.)

Every morning, I make a protein shake that usually fills me up until lunch. If it doesn't, no problem--there's a low-carb snack in my lunch.

When I get home, I enjoy some low-carb ice cream and usually a light dinner.

This isn't to say I eat perfectly, or always according to plan, but this method keeps me on track the vast majority of the time.

There's not only a lot of talk about where and how to eat, but how much to eat. I regulate this through a four-step process:

  1. I get hungry.
  2. I eat.
  3. I get full.
  4. I stop eating.
Be warned, this doesn't necessarily work on a high-carb diet. On a low-carb diet where you eat plenty of protein and fat, the macronutrients make you feel full and don't cause blood sugar spikes. At least, that's what I've read and what I've found to be true in my case. The only time I really went on a bender was when I tried intermittent fasting. Others have good results with it; I simply follow my four-step process.

By planning, preparing, and following a low-carb diet, I can eat in the park, I can eat with Lark, I can eat all alone, but I can't eat a scone. I can eat by a screen, I can eat while I preen, I can eat while I roam--but I should bring food from home.

No comments: