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5) I have not been very successful at controlling eating while life is distrating me. I think the key is to achieve a mindset where food is not on page one of my priority list. It is easier to squeeze excess eating out by wanting to do something else than by sheer will power.

Can you elaborate a little more, or give an example? Are you talking about boredom eating vs other types of entertainment? Or about caring about what you eat (good food vs junk)?

This is an area that I am still working on. While I have some current success here, it hasn't been going on long enough for me to trust that it is a permanent change. Hence, the less definitive description of the point.

The major categories of eating that have been a problem for me are:

1) Portion size (and seconds) at regular meals,
2) Boredom eating
3) Stress eating
4) Social eating

Changing my mindset to put non-food activities higher on the priority list is helpful in controlling boredom eating and stress eating. If I find that a trip to the fridge for a snack is a boredom ritual (and it was), it has worked better to replace that with a different boredom ritual. One idea was to get diet soda instead of a snack with calories. Another one I stumbled into by accident was to make some light exercise with dumbbells a boredom ritual so I'm not even walking into the kitchen.

Similarly, when I am stressed out I need to develop a stress coping mechanism other than eating. Maybe it's storming out of the house and going for a walk. Maybe it's sitting around playing a mindless computer game. The important thing is that it will be easier to replace a stress habit of eating with a non-food stress habit than just to avoid eating on pure willpower. I am less confident of how good a solution this is, because I have not been tested on it under high stress conditions.

Portion size is more of a meal planning thing, and this thought is less applicable to that. There is some benefit of looking forward to a non-food activity instead of looking forward to supper, but the benefit is minor compared to the effects with stress eating and boredom eating.

Social eating is trickier. Here, I may not want to control my eating because it's fun! I do work on a mindset that isolates the fun from the food and understands what drives the fun, so that I can consume less and still have a good time; but that isn't really applying this particular point.

At this point, I'm not paying a lot of attention to good food versus junk. I'm avoiding obvious junk, but not making a serious effort to have super-healthy food. If I can lose weight and feel good on portion control and exercise, I don't want to mess with formal diet plans. But that's a subject for a future post discussing the interaction of time constraints and weight loss efforts.

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