The 5 Biggest Mistakes Firefighters Make Related to their Health – Mistake #4: Eating Because It’s There [Part 5 of 6]
I’m not a firefighter myself but I spend a lot of time at firehouses. I see the cookies, cakes, and muffins that community members deliver to the firefighters. Sometimes I just want to put up a sign that says “don’t feed the firefighters.”
Now I certainly don’t want to take away from the fact that people bring you all treats because they are trying to show their appreciation. But do they stand there and watch to make sure you eat their token of appreciation? Of course not! Furthermore, we all know that your fans are not the only ones bringing treats to the firehouse. Please, I know you have a steady stream of ice cream coming in all because of the oh-so important “tradition” for someone to pay up when they’ve been in the news.
You don’t have to eat it just because it’s there. If it’s a veggie plate, go ahead, eat it because it’s there. But, honestly, you don’t want to take the decision to eat a treat lightly. These are high calorie, high sugar, high fat, little morsels. You could have just run on the treadmill for an hour, and then eat the same number of calories that you burned in one bowl of ice cream. But listen, I’m not telling you to never eat treats; I eat treats too! Rather, consciously choose when you really want something, and if you could take it or leave it…leave it!
The eating-because-it’s-there phenomenon applies to shift meals too. Just because there’s a lot of food doesn’t mean it all needs to be eaten! I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a member of the clean-your-plate-club. One thing that has helped me, especially when eating out, is to stop and ask myself: “if there was no food left on my plate would I be full?” If the answer is yes, then I know I’m only still eating because it’s in front of me. So now I get a to-go box and enjoy it again the next day.
A few years ago I observed this phenomenon at one of my local stations where I do nutrition and exercise consulting. I dropped by in the evening and walked into the kitchen to discover three guys who had just finished a packaged ice cream treat (and it was one of the worst kinds). The thing was, they had each eaten TWO of these treats, so there were SIX wrappers all spread out among them. The guilty look on these grown men’s faces is still something we all laugh about.
See, if they had only consumed one treat each (and there were none left), would they have been satisfied? Of course they would have. So why did they each have another one? Because there were still some left in the B-shift freezer!
The main point here is not to always try and restrict yourself but just be conscious of what you’re taking in. You’re not hurting anyone by avoiding treats, but you are hurting yourself if you’re only eating them because they’re there.