- Are you eating the wrong stuff for the wrong reasons? When your lunch ends up being something you wolf down while standing in a 7-11 while chugging a Big Gulp, there may be a problem.
- When you find that you are drinking an energy drink (like Red Bull) more than once a week in order to finish a shift or complete some other required task, there may be a problem.
- When you are so hungry that you will eat the first food that you stumble across - even if you don't like it, there may a problem.
- When you find yourself frequently eating food that is round, food that you snatched out of a paper bag or food that someone handed you through a car window, there may be a problem.
If your mother would describe your regular pattern as being desperation eating, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. There is almost certainly a problem.
Would you wait to look for gasoline until your car was sputtering and nearly dead on the roadside? Of course not! Then, why are you willing to do that to your body? Damage done to your personal wellbeing cannot be repaired with a mechanic's wrench.
What to Do
It starts with what is in your head. You will get in shape mentally first; then your body will follow. Making a behavior change is tough. Most people fail. Then again, most people lack the mettle and intestinal fortitude to be a cop. We are different. We fight and fight hard when the need arises. Now is the time.
Planning. Start thinking a few hours ahead of yourself when it comes to food. At the beginning of each day, think about what you expect your food intake to be like - in general terms.
Eating is critically important. You might think that skipping a meal is no big deal, right? Put it in this light: the next time the urge strikes to head for the bathroom, just skip it. Put it on hold. Wait until tomorrow. After all, if skipping a meal is OK, skipping a bathroom visit must be OK, too.
Rely on your intuition. It is quite likely that you learned all you needed to know about eating when you were very young. Phrases like: eat all of your vegetables, no snacks before dinner, only two cookies, etc. were all messages that you received from the adults in your life. It was for your own good. It still is. Listen to what your inner voice is telling you.
Avoid the extremes. Living life with moderate choices will probably be best. Having lost 100 lbs some twenty years ago (and kept it off), I have heard more stories about diets than I care to remember. There is the grapefruit and celery diet. There is the no carbohydrate diet. We must include those outfits that want to ship your meals to you by FedEx. I wonder how much that will cost for the rest of your life?
"I can't eat desserts anymore," followed by, "I gave up beer until I lose the weight," which, of course, leads to "I couldn't stand it any longer. I really blew my diet last weekend." Are phrases that you hear from dieters.
Diets don't work. They never have and they never will. The reason is simple: once the weight is lost, the diet ends and the person reverts to their old eating habits. You know where it goes from there.
Stay in the middle. Identify the foods you truly want. For me, it is peanut M&M candy. I used to eat them by the bucket-full. Now, they are a treat. I have a reasonable portion a couple of times a week. I don't feel deprived, nor do I judge that I have cheated on a diet. They are just part of my eating plan. No, I cannot have M&Ms every day. But then, I don't want them and I certainly don't need them that often.
Be sensible. You need to be hydrated. News Flash: neither Red Bull nor diet soda-pop will properly hydrate you. They are not a meal replacement, either.
When you report for work, try not to arrive starved. Have some idea of where you can get food that won't hurt you. Remember the rule about avoiding anything that is handed to you through your car window. When I report for a shift, I bring a couple of protein bars and something to drink. Some guys that I have worked with bring a small cooler.
Have a plan B for when everything else fails. On those occasions where I have screwed up by not having any food with me and I am hungry enough to eat an ox, I hit the convenience store. The choice for me: peanut M&Ms. Why? Because I like them; because the fat and protein in the nuts will take away my hunger; because the sugar and caffeine in the chocolate will give me a short term energy burst. I only get a small package because that is all I need.
Give it some thought.