Recently, a girlfriend and I were talking careers, jobs and future projects, which eventually led us to the topic of money and saving.
“I’m trying to save-up, but I just can’t figure out where all my cash keeps going” she said.
But after some digging and tracking of her spending habits, she realized that she was mindlessly spending small amounts every day (amounts that seemed insignificant to her at the time) but that quickly added up. In fact, had she been more mindful by considering the usefulness of these tiny splurges on wants rather than needs, it would have been easier to save a little money in the bank.
This conversation got me thinking about a similar situation I had experienced with a client who couldn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing results despite her efforts. She was exercising regularly, her meals were well balanced and serving sizes were in check. It was after doing a little digging, that she realized she was mindlessly eating small amounts of food, amounts that seemed insignificant at the time, but that quickly added up…
Here are 3 examples of mindless munching that can add-up
Finishing the food on the kids’ plates when clearing the dinner table. I have found this one to be VERY common. More often that not, parents don’t even realize they’re doing it. They just feel caught between wasting food or eating food after having completed a full meal.
Solution: If you’re satisfied at the end of your meal, it’s important to train yourself to not go beyond this point. So, see if you can salvage any of the remaining food on your kids’ plate to use as leftovers for the next day. If your kids constantly leave food behind, down-size their portion and provide them with seconds if need be. We want to try to avoid food waste in general.
Eating while preparing supper. So you’re prepping supper, feeling starved since lunch, and although you’re only minutes out from your meal, out come the crackers, the cheese along with a few containers of last night’s leftovers that you start plowing through as you wait.
Solution: First, you want to make sure you aren’t skipping that mid-afternoon snack. This will help to tame the appetite, and the plowing. Second, if you feel the need to graze on something right before your meal, make it veggies. You don’t want to have supper… before supper.
Over-tasting the food while preparing the meal. I watch enough food network to know that TAYO (tasting as you go) is extremely important when it comes to cooking. Over-tasting happens when you’ve already decided that you’re happy with the flavor of the dish, but continue taking forkfuls from the pan or baking tray.
Solution: Put it on a plate. Make yourself a separate tasting bowl or dish. Once you’re done with it and are satisfied with the flavor, it will give you a signal to stop.
So what’s the moral of this story? Well for one, small things add-up. Second, we need to bring more mindfulness to our eating (and our shopping).
Until we brought awareness to both of these scenarios by tracking the habits, the details were difficult to see. Fact is, we’ve all been there. Whether you suspect yourself as a mindless shopper or mindless eater, the best way to zone-in on unconscious splurges and bring awareness to the problem is to track it. So get journaling!
Are you a mindless shopper? Do any of these examples resonate with you?
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