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Are you tired of mentally debating food choices? The mental debate over food choices is a real struggle for many of us. In fact, I would dare say that mental ping pong determines our food choices the majority of the time.

It’s that point when a craving hits…your mind begins to play with and consider the possibilities. For those of you who struggle with maintaining your weight, it is a scenario that you probably experience multiple times a day.

Mentally Debating Food Choices

We know on a conscious level what we are supposed to eat, but the pleasure points in our brain are only interested in stimulation and that is precisely where the conflict starts.

In order to ever win the internal mental debate over food, you need to come to the point where you can separate the concepts of food and entertainment. Is food entertaining? Yes…BUT, entertainment should not be the primary reason we eat. We eat food for fuel; so that our bodies can move and function as they are supposed to.

The problem arises when we replace fuel with entertain and train ourselves to believe that food exists purely for our entertainment. When we attach entertainment to our food, then our mind immediately turns to thoughts of food any time it desires stimulation.

This means:

I’m bored…I need something to do. = What can I eat?

I’m tired…I need to stay awake. = What can I eat?

I’m sad…I need to feel better. = What can I eat?

Does this sound familiar?

Develop The Habit Of Thinking Through Your Day

At times, we all desire an extra treat or some unique food because it’s fun. If you feel tempted to eat a snack or dessert, take a moment to think through your day. Make a mental checklist of what you have already eaten that day and what you plan to eat that night.

mentally debating food choices

Often, we eat several junk food items or sweets in a day without ever considering how they add up. Will it kill you to have an occasional doughnut at breakfast or a Snickers bar in the mid-afternoon?…no. Both of these items weigh in at about 250 calories. If you eat only one 250 calorie treat during a day and eat sensibly for your other meals, then you can probably afford to splurge without affecting your weight.

However, if you have a doughnut for breakfast and then forget about it when you have your Snicker’s bar in the afternoon and finish off the night with even a small serving of ice cream, you can easily rack up an additional 750 to 1,000 calories of “entertainment” by the end of the day!

If you think through your day and determine you have no special meals or occasions planned, then you are free to enjoy your treat without doubling up on calories later in the day. This process trains you to make mental notes of the food you consume, so you become more conscious of the “extras” you eat throughout the day.

The important thing is to bring your food choices up to a conscious level where you can acknowledge them and make decisions accordingly. So, next time you find yourself mentally debating your food choices, use this process for making the decision of what you will eat instead of allowing the food to make the decision for you.

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Learning It (2)






  1. Rosemond says:

    It is important to be conscious of what you are eating. I have a bad habit of eating something “snacky” like a rice cake or crackers when I get home in the afternoon. Not terrible but that small unintentional snack can easily add 250 or so calories to my day. And that adds up in the long run!

  2. Kathleen says:

    More good advice, it is a struggle when you like these things and when I am excited, good or bad, my first thought is ‘what can I eat’. When my children were little and we went to church, yes, I gave them something to eat to keep them happy and quiet. I am sure I was training them to use food as a crutch 🙁

    The Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      That’s where my thoughts always used to go too, Kath! I also gave my kids “stay quiet” snacks during church 😉

  3. Helen says:

    Great article – enjoyed reading it! Just stopping over from the bloggers’s pit stop!

  4. Can’t agree more, Shellie. I normally restraint myself from sweet stuff as I have a horrid history of diabetes in my family and sugar is the food of cancer. Thanks for reminding us.

  5. This is great advice, Shellie, and something I struggle with. I do forget sometimes when I have already eaten something sweet earlier in the day and only remember it later after I’ve eaten something else sweet. I am trying to write down my foods and count points right now which helps. The thing is, before I turned 50 I really never had to worry much about what I ate. Or if I needed to lose a few pounds, I would just not eat a couple cookies or skip a slice of bread and the weight would come off. Not so easy now as my metabolism has changed. Sigh….it’s hard to break those old eating habits, especially when you have a sweet tooth!!