I cut little pieces off bars and sweets. What can I do to stop?

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I cut little pieces off bars and sweets. I feel like I’m not really eating as much, but I know I end up eating a lot. It bugs my mom. What can I do?

You realize that you do have a problem and that is a good start. I would suggest you learn some behavior modification techniques to help you change your eating habits.

You are correct in assuming you eat more when cutting off little pieces of food. But there is more to it. A lot of people deny they are eating much when eating small pieces. Also, this eating behavior may happen more often when you are bored, angry, tired, frustrated or just because the food is easily available and it’s socially acceptable. To just depend on willpower within that same food atmosphere, would not help.

You stated that it bugs your mom, but you didn’t say how you feel. Most people feel guilty about eating “forbidden foods” such as cakes, cookies, and sweets. Because they feel bad after the first piece, they eat more because eating is pleasurable and gives comfort. They express the attitude of “Well, as long as I had one piece, I might as well have more because I blew my diet anyway. I’ll just start my diet again tomorrow.”

The most successful long-term changes in eating habits result from using behavior modification techniques. First, you need to know what environmental and mental factors cause your current eating habit. Is food placed in your kitchen in your sight and reach? What time of day are you more likely to eat little pieces of food? What room are you in when eating? Are you standing, sitting or lying down? Are you alone? Does your eating accompany another activity like watching television? What is your mood? Are you actually feeling hungry or are you eating for other reasons?

The answers to these questions would help you identify the environment in which you eat inappropriately. This record would also reveal your other food habits. Once identified, you can change your food environment to change your eating habits. A dietitian would be able to give you meaningful suggestions in steps to achieve a change. Also, alternative activities need to be planned by you so that when you are tired or frustrated, you can do something other than eating.