Ask Yourself Before Eating

Hit the Pause Button with These Questions to Ask Yourself Before Eating Off Track

June 20, 2022

Before eating off track, give yourself a moment of pause first so you don’t eat impulsively. You're not alone if you've regained weight after your surgery, but find yourself returning to old habits or being tempted by foods you know won't help you reach your weight loss goal or to lose weight regain.

Don't be too hard on yourself. It is common to experience weight regain after bariatric surgery. Fortunately, a little mindfulness may go a long way toward assisting you in developing a more deliberate mentality and staying on track with your dietary choices. So, if you're prone to "falling off the wagon" and mindlessly ingesting unhealthy meals, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

Pause and Ask Yourself these Questions

  1. Are you considering emotionally eating?
  2. Feeling bored?
  3. Are you angry or upset with a person or situation?
  4. Are you physically hungry?
Change your Relationship with Food

These are crucial questions, since adequate nourishment may significantly impact your energy level, mood, and outcomes.

Questions to Answer Before Eating Off Track

Is it possible that I'm thirsty?

This one may seem self-evident. However, if you've been off track for a long time and have lost touch with some of your internal cues, you could be misinterpreting your body's thirst signals as hunger. When hungry or thirsty, our bodies send us the same signals. During the day, we often get this signal and misinterpret it as a hunger signal when, in fact, we need water.

How hungry am I right now?

With everyone's hectic schedules, it's easy to go into autopilot mode and eat out of habit rather than need. Alternatively, we may wait too long to eat, at which point our hunger has taken over, and we are more prone to overeat or make unhealthy decisions.

How am I feeling on a personal level?

If you're not hungry yet feel compelled to eat, consider your mental state. What need are you attempting to satisfy with food? Are you tired of being bored? Sad? Anxious? Do you find yourself putting off something you don't want to do?

Food, especially sweet and fatty meals, can be soothing, and many of us have learned to deal with emotional distress by eating for pleasure or diversion since we were children. As a side note, this is a regular occurrence for which there is no need to feel guilty or humiliated. We may also eat to express happy feelings, such as enjoying a particular event or interacting with people.

Is there any way for me to address this need?

If you’ve done all of the above and realized you have head hunger and are just hungry for a salty afternoon snack because you're bored, find something to do to keep yourself occupied.

How will consuming this affect my physical well-being?

Perhaps you've had that salty afternoon snack before and recall feeling bloated and unhappy. Perhaps you've observed that having a huge meal in the afternoon at work makes you sluggish and unproductive. Before you act, think about whether you're ready to risk feeling that way again.

Is it worth it?

Holiday traditions, celebrations, and vacation experiences are just a few instances of when you might believe it's worth it to deviate from your healthy eating plan and indulge in a unique, uncommon, and long-awaited pleasure. Make sure you eat mindfully by eating slowly. Alternatively, you may conclude that the daily doughnuts sent to your workplace, or the so-so dessert in the break room, aren't worth the calories. Save it for something you'll get a lot more enjoyment out of.

Will eating this stuff satisfy my hunger?

You know yourself better than anybody else, so think about whether or not consuming this food choice will genuinely scratch that itch, whet your appetite, or cause you to go off track for a longer period of time. If you discover that consuming a certain unhealthy meal makes you desire more, divert yourself to something else.

Is my eating plan too restrictive?

Consider if your overall food intake is to blame yourself and beat yourself up if you often slip off the wagon. Excessively restricted diets have increased cravings and obsessive thinking about the items we "can't" eat, sabotaging your health.

Why am I eating in the first place? Why do I consider myself hungry?

Is it because it seems like it's time to re-nourish my body? How long has it been since I ate? Is it because I'm bored, lonely, worried, nervous, depressed, or just because there's food in front of me that I'm eating?

What food does my body prefer? Why?

Do I have a sweet tooth? Are my blood sugars low because I haven't eaten in a while? Do I have a strong desire for carbohydrates? Is it necessary for me to give my intellect a boost? Finding out what your body is saying via food may provide good insights to you about your nutritional requirements, emotional needs, and mental condition.

Instead, what could I be eating?

Consider the food you want to consume and what it is composed of when you ask yourself this question. Is there a lot of sugar in it? Couldn't you eat some berries? Is there a lot of salt in it? Could you consume a handful of mixed nuts? Consider how you might meet your physical and emotional requirements while remaining on track and developing healthy behaviors.

Is it more important to lose weight via diet or exercise?

Overall, your weight is governed by the number of calories you consume vs. the number of calories you expend. While exercising helps you burn more calories, it doesn't permit us to eat anything we want, whenever we want. As a result, we must consume fewer calories to tip the "weight loss equation" in our favor. A calorie deficit is what this is known as. Finally, it is this calorie deficit that will aid you in achieving the optimum outcomes.

Is it possible to lose weight while drinking alcohol, soda, sweet tea, or juice?

Drinking these beverages isn’t a good source of nutrition. Don’t waste your daily allocation of calories by drinking them. If you consume the appropriate number of calories to lose weight but drink wine, soda, sweet tea, juice, or other beverages, those liquid calories still count, even if they don't fill you up. Those calories keep you from losing weight or making you gain weight.

Consider fast-forwarding to think about how you feel, physically and mentally, when you’ve eaten off track before. Ask yourself if these food choices are worth it.

Ask Yourself Before Eating

Tammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999, helping members and professionals alike. Tammy wears many hats at ObesityHelp, she works as an author, editor, and account manager. Read more articles by Tammy!