Sunday, March 02, 2008

Leaving the worst till last

Anyone who knows me at last a little will know that I've been waging a battle with my weight for years now that has to all intents and purposes been something of a stalemate so far. Being the analytical type I'm always on the lookout for new techniques and strategies that might enable me to win that one battle that will put me on the road to victory.

The obvious answer is of course "eat less food", but that's something that is easier said than done. It's the psychology behind it that I need to explore.

One of my biggest problems is that when I eat I feel compelled to clear my plate, and often do so even when I'm beyond the point of being "full" (a big problem in the US where portion sizes are often immense). I've always put this down to being brought up to clear my plate, as many other people will have been too, but I recently discovered another (related) reason that is entirely self-inflicted.

For as long as I can remember, I've been pretty obsessive about saving "the best till last" on my plate. It's actually quite hard to justify when I think about it, but it's something I've always done. I think it has something to do with savouring the best taste to the end, or getting the "bad stuff" out of the way so I can get on with enjoying the "good stuff".

So say I'm eating some chicken tenders and fries (hardly weight-loss food but it's a simple example), my usual strategy will be to start with the scrappy fries and smaller, more battery chicken tender. I'll end up with the biggest and nicest fries and tenders at the end. Now, imagine at that point I feel full already: I'm there with a full belly but the best part of my meal is still left there on the plate. What am I supposed to do? :)

This all came to light when someone pointed out the weird way in which I eat burgers: I always eat the outside first, leaving the middle to eat at the end. I've always though it quite normal, but apparently other people think it's weird. :) It occurred to me that I do that because the middle is the best part because it has the greatest concentration of all of the ingredients.

So, my new plan is to force myself to reverse this tendency and eat the best part of every meal first. I tried this last night at Joe's Crab Shack (somewhere I've not eaten at before) where I ordered a Blackened Mahi Sandwich with fries.

I started out with the nicest looking fry on the plate, and then attacked the sandwich from the site that has the thickest amount of fish, and resolved to not eat around the sides.

The result was that I finished the meal with a number of scrappy fries and part of the sandwich left on the plate. Definitely an improvement. I remember looking down and not feeling particularly fussed about what was left there at all, so it wasn't a major effort on my part to leave what was there.

Of course, I need to work on my food selection too. But for me, this is another battle won. Here's hoping it turns the tide in the war...


p3k4y said...

I will be interested to see how one eats the middle part of a burger before the outside.... especially if you don't have a knife and fork to hand ;)

Stuart Grimshaw said...

Russ, get yerself signed up to traineo, then have people call you tubby when you havn't lost any weight for a while