Author Topic: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?  (Read 4522 times)

ender

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How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« on: July 29, 2014, 06:00:42 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/04/get-rich-with-the-chaching-instinct/

I can apply this article with financial habits really easily. I am very disciplined financially. Cha-ching! Saving half my income or more, woo-woo!

However... I am awfully undisciplined with what I eat. I find myself overeating, normally ever so slightly, which of course slowly adds weight over months and years. I get that food is so similar to finances too in that it can be measured, quantified, and analyzed. Maybe I should start tracking my calories in a spreadsheet for a few months... actually this might not be the worst idea ever.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to do something similar to that cha-ching instinct for eating habits? I want to change this lifestyle habit in my 20s before it gets even more difficult.


kimmarg

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2014, 06:12:52 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/04/get-rich-with-the-chaching-instinct/

I can apply this article with financial habits really easily. I am very disciplined financially. Cha-ching! Saving half my income or more, woo-woo!

However... I am awfully undisciplined with what I eat. I find myself overeating, normally ever so slightly, which of course slowly adds weight over months and years. I get that food is so similar to finances too in that it can be measured, quantified, and analyzed. Maybe I should start tracking my calories in a spreadsheet for a few months... actually this might not be the worst idea ever.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to do something similar to that cha-ching instinct for eating habits? I want to change this lifestyle habit in my 20s before it gets even more difficult.

I actually found tracking calories instructive in the same way tracking spending is. It made me realize where my mindless eating was going (whoops snacking with TV) and made me realize what calorie 'expenses' I do value (I'll never give up half and half in my coffee) I wouldn't do it forever just as a sort of wake up call. There are tons of websites and apps (if you have a smart phone) sparkpeople.com is my favorite. yMMV

lpep

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2014, 06:25:09 AM »
In a different thread someone recommended an app called GymPact. It actually pays you when you go to the gym (and takes money when you don't). You can do the same thing for eating healthfully, it just makes you upload a photo. It's something like 5 veggies/day, so you might have to do some mind tricks to yourself for the overeating part :)

I don't use it (I workout at home, and it requires checking in to a gym or logging a run with another app), so I can't vouch for it, but - there's that cha-ching, and it's still money!

wtjbatman

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Polaria

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2014, 06:47:36 AM »
Hi,

I have found this guide about portion size helpful, if you find that tracking calories is too tedious:

http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/p/hi-portion-size

Pol

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2014, 06:57:54 AM »
Usually I burn so many calories biking I don't have to worry too much about what I eat, but I do weigh myself once a week as a check.

I find tracking calories way too tedious. I've tried a few times, but give up within a couple days.

apfroggy0408

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 07:32:13 AM »
Tracking calories can be done very easily if you prepare for it ahead of time, it gets a little more difficult if you're doing random things every day.

I don't need variety in my diet and the last 8 months ate about the same thing everyday, where 6 of those months total calories fluctuated every day. I do it for powerlifting so I have a reason to do it but it's not terribly hard.

Take food out, weigh it on my scale, cook it, eat it.

NCGal

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2014, 03:09:55 PM »
A few things work for me. I'm in my 50s, work from home, and could over-eat like gang-busters. But I don't. And I'm thinner than I was decades ago. In my 20s I even went to a few OA meetings just to see if there was something I could work out in my head. But I was putting too much emphasis on the wrong things.

Weigh yourself EVERY DAY. Some people won't agree but it works. I always stay within a 5-lb range. Losing weight can be the Cha-ching factor, not gaining weight can be it, even gaining weight but not-as-much-as-I-should-have-'cause-I-ate-like-a-pig-this-weekend can be a cha-ching factor. 5 lbs gives you enough wiggle room to do something about gaining.

Save something for later in the day to eat that you look forward to. I can live on sugar and carbs so for me it's sherbet or a small muffin, or a small dish of pretzels at night. 

Know which foods are very unhealthy, full of fat, salt and other garbage, and limit your volume. Counting calories doesn't work for me but eating small portions does. Also, what got me off the roller-coaster was eating smaller meals more frequently. Rarely do I have more than 2 things for dinner. If it's chicken with veggies I don't have salad. If it's meatballs with spaghetti I eat nothing else with it. And I know what one portion of pasta looks like (when a restaurant dish is more like 5 servings). Weekday mornings I want my coffee more than anything - and maybe I don't eat until 10 or 11. When I commuted I was starving at 6:30 am and had to eat something before I left, and again when I got to work. And I needed the energy. To work from home, I don't. But I eat maybe 5, 6, 7 times a day.

Exercise - but know that small things help your metabolism. I'm antsy. I walk up and down the stairs frequently, shift rooms to go from my work computer to my personal computer. Cook and do laundry while I'm working. I just can't sit still for too long.

Know your weaknesses. I make my husband hide food if he wants me to buy certain things. Seriously. Like peanut butter (which will last him a week, and me a day) and cold cereal - I can't just eat 1 portion I want the whole box. I'd rather make oatmeal instead if I feel like eating cereal.

Plan ahead, and be methodical if you're going to be surrounded by food. At barbecues and buffets (I don't even go to buffet restaurants) I take a look at every single food item before putting anything on a plate. If the desserts look killer, I start with that and then maybe have a small portion of real food later.

Juju

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 03:47:40 PM »
I'm no expert but have found myself doing the same thing with the slow weight gain from poor portion control a couple of times in the last few years.  Right now i'm gaining weight again (away from home and normal routine, no fitness at present, poor eating). What has helped me to turn it around in the past are these:

 - giving calorie counting a go.  I can only last a couple of days and then get so sick of it.  Having to measure and then calculate for  every single item just drives me crazy. A small burst of tracking does help though.  I have continued to weigh/measure rice, pasta and cereal as it's fast to do and I consistently underestimate how much i'm cooking if I don't measure.  I just use the guide on the packet for a single portion.
 - watching t.v shows and reading about weight loss (blogs, sparkpeople etc).  Even the really trashy programs tend to get me thinking about it and being more concious of my own eating.  It's good to have that dose of motivaiton.
 - trying to be aware in everyday life of all of the extras and saying no.  Handout at work?  don't need that.  Free sample? nope!
 - focusing on fitness.  Generally if i'm in a weight gain phase (like now) it's because i've dropped my exercise for some reason and calories in are far outweighing the calories out.  Working on fitness makes me more motivated and interested in healthier foods too.

I guess to put it in mustache terms:
- take a good hard look at your 'spending' - be aware of your particular weakness areas.
- read/watch some shows for education/motivation
- increase your everyday awareness of your actions
- umm... struggling to come up with the right comparison for that fitness one... but i'm sure you get the idea.

Once i've done this for a week or two I can then let it go on auto.  If i've made enough changes to my habits to get me back to a good calorie in/calorie out then I start to see the weight slowly drop. 

horsepoor

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Re: How to modify the "cha-ching" instinct for eating habits?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 04:45:36 PM »
I did this the opposite way - lost 50#, which I've kept off for almost two years now, and then came here and started getting the "cha-ching" instinct installed.

Agree on the calorie-counting for a bit.  Even if you commit to doing it for a week, it makes you think about having to track each food as you're contemplating putting it in your mouth.  And it will give you ideas of what you can cut from your food "budget."  Repeat as needed to reinforce habits.  As mentioned, My Fitness Pal or Spark People websites/apps are way easier than tracking your foods in a spreadsheet.

Eat lots of low-cal veggies, ideally raw - celery, broccoli, bell pepper, cucumber - every day.

If you can do it without becoming obsessive, step on the scale each morning - there will be fluctuation, but it will help you identify upward trends and act more aggressively before 5# turns into 10#.  It's also feedback on whether your current eating and exercise routine is effective or not.

Allow yourself to be hungry for a period of time each day.  It will get you back in touch with what true hunger feels like.  And if you're getting that light-headed, need carbs now type of hunger, dial the sugar way back and try working on becoming fat-adapted.  That will allow you to go longer between meals/snacks, and reduce cravings.  When you are trying to decide if you're hungry and want to eat a certain thing, ask yourself if you're hungry enough to eat some less-than-enticing item, like a can of green beans, or a plain piece of fish or something.  If the answer is no, you're probably more bored or experiencing cravings, rather than hungry.  On weekends, I'll often eat a big breakfast around 11, and then eat dinner, so total calories stay lower than if I had 2 smaller meals plus snacks.  And it saves time on food prep, eating and cleanup, and I'm eating at the times when I'm honestly hungry.

Focus on food quality, and you'll get that "cha-ching" feeling when you're eating proper amounts of the proper foods, and feel the opposite when faced with the idea of eating crap.