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A good strategy to curb mindless eating

PHOTO: Even if the snack is a healthful one, the rule is it must be eaten off a plate while sitting at a dining table. | LARRY CROWE~AP

While talking to Dawn Jackson Blatner, the Chicago registered dietitian who is appearing on the new ABC show “My Diet Is Better Than Yours,” she mentioned her approach for curbing mindless eating.

But I had so much other information, I didn’t have room to include it when I wrote about Blatner and the new show last week. (You can read that here. The show airs tonight and the remaining Thursdays in January.)

With food so readily available, it is easy to grab a handful of this or stop for a quick snack of that. Blatner pointed out that even if the choices are healthful ones, you can rack up unnecessary calories.

Her recommendation: if you are going to eat something, you must do it with the food on a plate while you are seated at your kitchen table.

I work out of a home office now, and it’s way too easy for me to grab a handful of walnuts or stand by the kitchen counter and slice off a chunk of cheese — and then another. So I thought Blatner’s strategy would put a stop to some of my mindless eating I knew I must be doing. I decided I’d try it for a week and pay attention to my behavior.

Well, it’s been an eye-opener and a little tougher than I thought. If I was doing something in another room, I had to stop and get whatever I wanted to eat and sit myself down at the table. But I’m busy, I’d think, but I made myself take a seat at the kitchen table. Well, I can’t stop and do this too often, I told myself the second day.

It also showed me how often in a day I could have a little nibble of something. Talk about mindless eating!

And here’s the real beauty of it: one night while watching TV the thought popped in my head this might be a good time for a snack. But things were really heating up in the show I was watching and I didn’t want to hit pause. So I had to decide: snack or TV? Well, TV won out. Was I really hungry? Apparently not. (Sometimes what you think is hunger actually is thirst. I drank water and the urge to have a snack that night disappeared.)

Oh, and BTW, without changing anything else I lost a pound during the week I did this. Interestingly, Blatner’s contestant on the show talked in the first episode about how now that she’s at home she finds herself doing a lot of mindless eating. (Watch the show and you’ll see how Blatner’s eating plan worked for her.)

I liked this advice from Blatner so much I’m going to keep it up. If you think mindless eating might be a problem for you, consider giving this approach a try.