Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Diet Like an Anthropologist: The Fly on the Wall Method to Melting Fat

A huge part of shedding pounds and maintaining my ideal weight has been making conscious choices about what I eat. In many cases I use Take Shape for Life co-founder Dr. Wayne Andersen's  Stop, Challenge and Choose method (more about that here), which forces me to push my pause button, ask myself questions, and make a choice that leads to optimal health.
Channel your inner Margaret Mead

I also have another weapon up my sleeve that I call "going into anthropologist mode."

Part of the reason we overeat or eat suboptimal foods is that we get caught up in the moment and do not think before we act. Our hand grabs the cookie and stuffs it into our mouth before we even realize what we have done.

That's where having an inner anthropologist comes in handy.

Instead of being part of whatever situation I'm in, I take a step back and become an observer. Like a modern day Margaret Mead, I watch how others are behaving around food and describe it to myself. Not only does that distract me from eating, it makes me realize how automatically other people help themselves to foods they had not planned on eating just because it is set before them. (Think chips at a Mexican restaurant.)

Yesterday at work I was tempted by three of my favorite foods: pie, pizza and fudge, none of which I had planned on eating before I left the house. In the old days, before Medifast, I would probably have eaten all three since fattening food that magically appears was like winning the Lottery, an unexpected prize to perk up my day.

Instead, I tapped into my inner Margaret and watched other people eat the food, which made me lose the desire to eat it myself. In fact, the thought of eating the food just because it was there seemed absurd and, ultimately, unappealing.

Though I usually prefer to feel like a part of whatever group I'm around, sometimes it is better to distance myself when the group is doing something that deters me from my goals. Being an introvert, it is easy for me to become a fly on the wall and observe others. And, when you think about it, when was the last time you saw a fat fly?

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