What are the one liners or thoughts that you use to prevent you from eating that pastry or piece of candy?
October 30, 2012 7:41 AM   Subscribe

What are the one liners or thoughts that you use to prevent you from eating that pastry or piece of candy?

Whenever I am tempted by that piece of cake or candy I try to use a one liner to prevent myself from eating it, such as:

Once on the lips, forever on the hips.

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

What do you think or say to yourself to keep it on the plate and out of your mouth?
posted by sybarite09 to Health & Fitness (52 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
"When walking, walk. When eating, eat."

I don't say/think this nearly often enough.
posted by headnsouth at 7:48 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

This is a hard one. Sometimes a one-liner won't cut it.

I imagine that I've already eaten it. Frankly, I'll be just as empty after I eat it as before. I have a hard time shutting off the "want, want, want" signal.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:49 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nothing cutesy will ever convince me of anything real. To each their own, though.

I do try to take the time to ask myself "why?" and honestly answer: "because I'm hungry." "because it's there." "because I am not enjoying the thing I'm doing right now and I want a distraction." "because it's chocolatey." "because I want to hold something in my hand while I talk to this person." And if the reason identifies a situation that I can find a healthier way out of, I do that.

So the one-liner: why?
posted by aimedwander at 7:50 AM on October 30, 2012 [16 favorites]

I have a hard time with self control with sweet things, and sweet things tend to be the stuff people bring to the office or for gifts or for the holidays. One thing that I think that has been helpful in the past is, "Would I have gone out to buy this and eat it, or am I just eating it because it is here?" Usually that stops me and or at least makes me pickier about what I eat that I hadn't planned on.
posted by shortyJBot at 7:52 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My one liner is just "remember that it doesn't taste as good as you think it does".
posted by ldthomps at 7:52 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

"Is this something special?"

I hate the "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" saying. I might be overweight but I'm feeling great these days and dammit, I deserve a treat sometimes. Asking myself if what I'm about to eat is something special helps me put down the random candy and boxed cookies, but allows me to say OH HELL YES! to gourmet/homemade goodies once in a while.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:54 AM on October 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

I've had the most success with nope, as in: I want to eat that. Nope! I could just have a lit--NOPE. When is the next time I will see a fun-size Snickers ba--Nope.
posted by kate blank at 7:54 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I intentionally think of a very obese family member whose eating habits disgusted me on multiple occasions. If I imagine them eating the thing that I want to eat, it becomes instantly less appealing.

Of course, 'less appealing' does not make it 'not appealing', but often times if I'm eating out of boredom that image will do the trick.
posted by Pieprz at 7:54 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

"Don't do it!!!", usually shouted sarcastically at/to my wife...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2012

It's not a one-liner really, but I always think of calorie creep. An extra 25 calories a day over what you expend adds up to 9125 calories a year, which is over 2 lbs of weight gain.
posted by Fig at 8:00 AM on October 30, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words. And for most people, that picture is them in the mirror of a harshly lit department store changing room, chiding themselves for having zero willpower.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:00 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Thirty seconds from now, it won't have mattered if I eat this now or not, I'll be thinking of something else"

Or somesuch. It's a more stoic approach rather than the guilt-tripping which makes you feel bad; enjoy your vices or don't do them.
posted by monocultured at 8:01 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'll eat that later.....

Like for a snack
Or when I'm actually hungry
Or after I eat a piece of fruit
Or drink a glass of water
Or finish folding these towels

Etc etc etc
posted by aetg at 8:02 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Start to look at examples of accurate portion sizes online. Try to keep them in mind when eating.

I also like to think of how strong and in control I feel when I can resist my base, unhealthy desires using only willpower. It's quite empowering once you have succeeded.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:03 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

"It's just sitting there. It's not going to jump into your mouth." This reminds me of the hand to mouth agency of eating bad-for-you food.
posted by sweetkid at 8:06 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Do I need that?"
posted by CrystalDave at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have noticed that, if I really think about how a really junky treat tastes, I find I don't really like it all that much -- most chips make me feel greasy, doughnuts make me ill after a bit, most popular chocolate is waxy, acidic, and nasty, and soft drinks are alien tasting. So I try to notice this and then remind myself -- yeah you want this, but you will regret it later, and you won't even like it right now! That often does the trick for me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:10 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Tangentially (on preview, a lot of people have beaten me here): I hate these "don't eat, fatso"-style one liners. "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels" is a super-common pro-ana motto, plus a lot of them are phrased harshly, implying that you can never ever taste anything delicious lest you instantly balloon up. Not to mention that I personally find putting an emphasis on thinness counterproductive. On top of that, a fuckload of things taste way better than being thin feels. Especially if it's the kind of thin where you're feeling a little unhealthy and constantly paranoid about gaining weight. That feels about as good as five-day-old leftovers.

That said, two things keep my snackiness in check:

First, the realization that junk food is delicious and it's human nature to want to eat it. This reframes my desire to eat, say, an entire sleeve of Oreos as normal and not monstrous or shameful. It's easier to feel okay about a human urge than a seemingly-abnormal one. And if I feel okay about it, I can more easily master it.

Second, telling myself that I can always eat it later. There will always be kazillions of Oreos if I want them. Even if it's something that isn't easily accessible, like a birthday cake, it's not like cake is going extinct anytime soon. This allows me the option of eating junk from time to time, instead of totally forbidding it (and thus making me think "argh I can't take it just this once"), and it allows me to defer the option until I really want it.

The "why?" question as aimedwander mentioned helps immensely, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:15 AM on October 30, 2012 [16 favorites]

I don't use one liners, but as a chocoholic who's trying to loose weight, I always drink a glass (or two) of water, wait 20 minutes, and see if I still am actually hungry for that sweet treat. Usually the answer is no.

If you find yourself craving sweets, work a small serving into your daily eating plan. Sweets don't hurt if you eat small amounts and make sure you keep them within your daily calorie budget.
posted by sgo at 8:16 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding "Do I Need This?"
posted by Aquaman at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2012

"Be kind to your future self."

What I say to my kid when he asks if there's anything to eat is, "Are you asking because you're hungry or because you're bored?"
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Do you really want to be just another fat American?"
posted by scratch at 8:21 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm the "nope" camp. Or "Just going there." I do find myself saying these out loud on occasion. The guys at the corner bodega think I'm a little nuts.
posted by idest at 8:22 AM on October 30, 2012

I have had some success with eating sweets only on days that are divisible by 3. (So, the third of the month, the 6th of the month, the 9th of the month, etc.) It's not a blanket prohibition, but at the same time it is a hard and fast rule with no ambiguity, which is a combination that works well for me.

Even on a day that is a multiple of three, sometimes just stopping to check the date and do the mental calculation sometimes is enough to make me go, "Wait, I don't even want that."
posted by BrashTech at 8:31 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I just discovered something incredibly easy for these situations; it boggles my mind that it hasn't occurred to me before. When I want some junky food or to do something not great for me, I tell myself, "All you have to do is not do it."

There are so many things I do for myself that I have to actively talk myself into doing—running 18 miles on a Sunday morning, going swimming before the crack of dawn, getting motivated enough to do X or Y positive or necessary thing—that it's almost a treat when doing something good for yourself requires nothing but inaction.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:41 AM on October 30, 2012 [14 favorites]

In addition to why, sometimes I ask myself "will it satisfy me?" After I eat the treat, will I feel like I really enjoyed it, or not? That way, I can say yes sometimes.

For instance, today I had to choose between cake and cereal for breakfast. Would the cake add more in enjoyment and satisfaction than in calories? Today, yes!
posted by that's how you get ants at 8:43 AM on October 30, 2012

I do three things

- calorie creep math - "ten extra candy bars and you've gained a pound, ten fewer candy bars and you've lost one" I write down everything I eat so this is a crystal clear effect to watch. If I've been doing exercise a lot I am more lenient, but I don't go crazy thinking that because I walked a mile I can eat a brownie sundae
- the "is it special?" question - if I'm just tense or otherwise mindlessly snacking that's a larger problem, if it's birthday cake, that's self-limiting and I'm okay with the occasional treat, emphasis on occasional
- substitutions - I'll eat a cough drop or a carrot or make some really good coffee instead of having something more junky and more calorie rich

Ultimately for me weight loss is a bit of a process and anything I do that is not "with the program" just impedes my progress towards a specific goal. So, again, I was totally fine with having birthday cake and being relaxed about what I was eating over my birthday but it was also with the idea clearly in mind that it would set back my progress by a week or two just for one or two days of unregulated snacking.
posted by jessamyn at 8:51 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I read somewhere -- either Slate or the New York Times, I believe -- that scientists figured out saying "I don't want that" was effective.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:10 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

For left overs: Better to waste than to the waist.
posted by ethidda at 9:32 AM on October 30, 2012

In Food Rules, Michael Pollan says if you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, you're not hungry.
posted by piyushnz at 9:37 AM on October 30, 2012 [8 favorites]

I do not actually rely on one-liners like this to keep me away from snacks. Honestly, the days I do better in this regard are the days that I am not hungry because I have fed myself good, healthy food in a timely fashion. I have a stash of single serving cookie packs in my drawer for hunger attacks, and I don't have to talk myself out of eating them all at one go because I'm not hungry. I just feel like my body deserves more than fat-shaming, negative thoughts, or unhealthy preoccupation with thinness to get it out of unhealthy eating habits. If I've taken care of myself and my body is happy, it doesn't need junky food to soothe it.
posted by Ziggy500 at 9:44 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

'Your body is not a trash can.' When deciding whether to eat something or throw it away.
posted by bq at 9:52 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think about Dr. Fuhrman's info in Eat to Live, and in particular I ask myself if I really need to risk diabetes, cancer, heart disease . . .

I must add, though, that eating per Eat to Live has also killed my desire to eat sweets, to my own surprise. I never thought anything would conquer my sweet tooth. (My family used to refer to me as The Ant.)
posted by bearwife at 10:13 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

During my work day, it works like this: I pack my lunch box. It has a snack, my lunch with a dessert, and another snack. If it's not in the lunch box, I don't eat it. Granted, this is only during my work day, but it gets me through. (Since I started doing this on Labor Day, I'm down 29 lb.)
posted by Doohickie at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Skinny is as skinny eats. (Or for the more politically correct version, "healthy is as healthy eats".)
posted by anaelith at 10:23 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lots of good advice here.

My other recommendation (as a recovering fattie and sometimes-emotional-eater) is to keep trigger foods out of your house.

It's much easier to not eat something that isn't there than to have to spend mental energy resisting temptations that are within arms reach.

Love Oreos a little too much? Don't keep them in the house.

It's easier to stay out than to get out.
posted by softlord at 10:25 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

These are all great answers. Thanks!
posted by sybarite09 at 10:44 AM on October 30, 2012

"This isn't my last chance to eat ______. I can have it another time instead of now."
posted by Kololo at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2012

My grandfather quit smoking by keeping one cigarette in his pocket, and every time he wanted one, he'd take it out, look at it and tell it he was stronger, then put it away. So I have been known to look at that bag of kettle corn in the cupboard and tell it off. "No WAY bag of popcorn. You SAY I'll only eat a few, but you KNOW that I'll be pouring your crumbles and dust down my throat in five minutes if I have even one kernel and the child will have no treats for lunch. F*&* you, you sweet and salty lying temptress - the answer is NONE for me."
posted by peagood at 10:49 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Is this going to crash my blood sugar? How will I feel in 2 hours?"
posted by Turkey Glue at 10:55 AM on October 30, 2012

I imagine eating it. Then I drink a mug of hot tea. Then I pretend I ate the food with the tea. 10-15 minutes after the fact, there's almost no difference between having snacked + tea, or having just had tea, except that I dodged the calories.
posted by nile_red at 11:24 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not a liner, but I find chewing a piece of that dessert flavored Extra gum works to kill snacky/sweets cravings. Especially the apple pie flavor.
posted by asockpuppet at 11:39 AM on October 30, 2012

Be a snob about it. "I'm not into recreational eating. *sniff*"
posted by homodachi at 12:07 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The H.A.L.T. method has been helping me lately. When you're craving eating more than you need, ask yourself:

H: do I want this because I've let myself get too Hungry (in which case, eat a healthy meal instead)
A: am I Angry? (in which case, food won't help. I need to deal with my anger)
L: am I Lonely? (again, food won't help. Maybe call/text a friend)
T: am I Tired (maybe take a nap or a break instead).
posted by oceanview at 12:16 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would rather have waste/garbage outside of me than inside of me.
posted by ramenopres at 3:26 PM on October 30, 2012

Something that helped me -- especially with passing up the inevitable treats in the office -- as a larger triathlete, was to tell myself that "in August, at [my next big race], I won't regret not having this cookie today," and although it wasn't part of the explicit one-liner, the subtext was "but I might regret it if I do." It was more powerful for me to shift the focus from the immediate desire to have the cookie (because it's there! And if I don't eat it, someone else will! And then I can't have any cookies! THERE MIGHT NEVER BE ANOTHER COOKIE.) to looking farther ahead, to a time when I would have forgotten all about the cookie. Once my line of thought was on that future date, kind of visualizing my future state, the cookie was so much easier to say no to.

Also, I told myself and others that I don't eat sweets/sugar. (It's a total lie, but it works great!)
posted by sldownard at 4:46 PM on October 30, 2012

A colleague has a mug with the saying "Fridge pickers wear bigger knickers". Don't know if it is effective or not!
posted by Jabberwocky at 4:57 PM on October 30, 2012

Whenever I'm in this situation, I picture one of my friends from China whom we could *never* get to eat any kind of sweets. Every time we'd offer, she'd shake her head and say simply, "Bad for health." Saying it to myself usually works.

I admit, sometimes I find myself saying "Bad for health" with my mouth full of that morsel I just couldn't resist, but most of the time it at least gives me pause.
posted by Rykey at 5:58 PM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

I tell myself I'm really just thirsty and need a glass of water.
I drink a full glass and then get on with something else.
posted by Under the Sea at 6:24 PM on October 30, 2012

One of my patients recently told me me that what has worked remarkably well for them is "I can do that later if I really must", and in the meanwhile, drinking a glass of water, a cup of tea or snacking on a bit of veg. Usually the urge dissipates by the time it's "later". I found this method very insightful.

IME many people find it frustrating to continuously deny themselves something, which I can understand very well since everybody's life is already so full of obligations, limitations and self control that it's easy to instinctively want to respond to yet another "don't do it" with "oh, to hell with it". So for some, delaying and substituting can be a kinder, gentler way to do it. (Also, if possible, keeping the temptations away from home. It gets really hard if you have to have this conversation with yourself every time you go near the pantry.)
posted by sively at 1:08 AM on October 31, 2012

Just remembering, my former stepmother had a pig shaped magnet with this: "Those who indulge, bulge."
posted by nile_red at 5:14 PM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Grateful, healthy, joyous" reminds me of what I want my life to be.

"That doesn't work for me" is another. And as a last resort, "I'll have it tomorrow."
posted by walkthewalk at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2012

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