Changing Bad Habits
by Patti Helsten Petrella
One of the most common bad habits is eating too fast. When you eat too fast, you almost always
consume a large amount of calories in a very short period of time.
The reason is simple. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to let your brain know that it is full. If you
eat fast, you are on your second helping before the brain even knows that you have overeaten.
You have to learn to slow down:
• Take a drink of water in between every bite that you take.
• Put less food on your fork.
• Chew thoroughly.
• Wait 15 minutes before you decide on seconds.
• Take time to notice the flavor, smell and texture of the food.
The next obstacle has to do with the oversized portions that you find in almost every restaurant. It
is common for us to have been lectured by our parents about not wasting food So, we have to learn
to order less food or learn to leave leftovers on the plate.
One way to handle this is to decide ahead of time that you are going to take half of it home for
lunch the next day, or simply order an appetizer and a salad. If you are with a significant other or
friend, you could order an extra salad and split an entrée.
While we have already covered eating while watching TV, it is a good idea to look at some other
things we do while eating. Surfing the Internet, standing in kitchen, talking on the phone, reading,
etc. are all common eating triggers.
Sometimes you just have to make some rules such as: I will not eat while doing other things. If that
is too difficult of a transition, limit your snacks to celery, carrots, lettuce or some other extremely low
Late night eating could be controlled by setting a rule of no food after 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., and make
sure that you brush your teeth at that time to remind yourself that you are not going to eat anymore.
It’s up to you to find the reactive eating patterns in your life and make the necessary substitutions of
behaviors, activities and food selections to stay in control.
Using the visualization technique of imagining the “perfect you” will help you stay on track whenever
you are tempted to return to your old habits. Remember, if you can break these habits for a month,
you will be amazed at how easy it is to continue choosing your new constructive habits.
Give yourself a chance to enjoy the payoffs from your positive behavior. See how much better you
feel and look. Your self-esteem will soar from knowing that you have the character and strength to
break out of self-destructive behaviors.
Each day that you go through without overeating and eating the wrong things will boost your self-
confidence to make it easier the next day, week or month. Soon you will have the new behaviors
deeply ingrained into your life, with a new thinner you to enjoy life, any way you choose, without
being a slave to food.
You have to think about the present design of your life and have the courage to behave differently,
and you must have a plan. It won’t just happen. Use this information, to build a new system of
responses to combat old eating triggers and bad eating behavior.
This is a sample of what your food for the day might look like. (Changes daily)
Vegetarians will substitute beans, soy products, tofu, tempeh, seitan, or other vegetable proteins
for any meat used in the sample diet.
Breakfast: bran cereal, with fruit and milk, coffee with fat-free creamer = 1 carb, 1 dairy, 1 fruit
Snack: apple with fat-free cheese dip = 1 fruit, 1 dairy
Lunch: tomato soup, salad, and grilled cheese on whole-wheat bread with low-fat cheese = 2
veg., 2 carb
Snack: chicken breast and grapes = 1 protein, 1 fruit
Dinner: grilled salmon, salad, small, potato, and black-eyed peas = 1 protein 2 veg, 1 carb
Total = 2 proteins, 4 carbs (starchy), 4 veg., 3 fruits, 2 dairy
This is meant as a sample.
For Your Spirit:
The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it,
through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its
generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of
physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all
your faculties and powers become directed to that end.
~ Claude M. Bristol