I can no longer lie down on my comfy couch and read a book. Covered in a chenille afghan, taking advantage of the afternoon sun or squinting by the dim light of a compact florescent bulb, with a bestselling novel or a book club selection. Because if I do, one of two things happens: I fall asleep… or I mindlessly eat. Now the first option isn’t always so bad because if I’m napping I can’t be nibbling. But if I’m nibbling I’m eating to excess. And, as you can imagine, my snacks of choice are rarely healthy. Some afternoons I would mindlessly munch so much that I wasn’t hungry for dinner. And to be totally honest here, I sometimes noshed my way to a stomachache. Being mindless about what one puts in their mouth can do that to a person.
I don’t know what it is about being supine in this particular location that sets me off. And unfortunately it is my favorite position in which to read – and I love to read. An interesting book can keep me engrossed for hours. But my mind is distracted from what I’m reading just long enough to think about what I’m craving. Open mouth, insert food, repeat. Salty leads to sweet, crunchy leads to chewy. If there isn’t any junk food in the house I’ll find something else; cereal, bread, semi-sweet baking chips.
So the new and improved me has decided to drastically limit my time spent on the couch. If I want to read, I sit upright in a chair, feet on the ottoman. In this position I can have a drink at hand. (It’s hard to drink when flat on one’s back). Lately, with the cold temperatures, it has been Gingerbread herbal tea. Double bonus points for no calories and more water. But a woman can only drink so much. And not in the evenings before bed.
I have to be careful if I put down the book and pick up the TV remote. Something about my comfy armchair combined with a TV show leads me back to the pantry for another mindless snack. Since my husband and I like to watch together in the evenings, I have resorted to exerting good old-fashioned self-control to not have more than one (okay – sometimes two) snack after dinner. This actually results in much less TV watching. I either retreat to the computer or head to bed early to avoid eating. This technique worked pretty well while most of our shows were on winter hiatus, but pretty soon we’ll have a backlog on the Tivo and I will have to find the willpower that I’m usually missing. Or start chewing a lot more gum.