Managing Your Weight: Sensible & Lasting Weight Reduction: Part 3

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Paul was what we might call “an automatic eater. ” Many times he would snack on something while on the phone, watching TV, driving in the car, reading the newspaper, or when studying for an exam. Much of the time he seemed to be deriving little, if any, pleasure from the food because his attention was elsewhere. But the calories mounted up.


In order to lose weight and keep it off, we have stressed how important it is to eat three low-calorie but well-balanced meals a day, to increase your activity output, to avoid temptation by cutting down on food-triggering environmental cues, and to keep junk food and needlessly fattening edibles out of your house.

Now we will provide more behavioral tips. First, let’s emphasize that whenever and wherever you eat:

• Make sure that you are not distracted by some other activity.

Be careful not to eat while reading the newspaper, talking on the phone, watching TV or at the movies, or while driving your car. The reason is that you need to be totally aware of your eating. The more distracted you are, the more you will be inclined to eat. Worse still, you won’t even really enjoy the extra food you are consuming.

You want to avoid habitual-automatic forms of eating. When you have a meal:

• Eat slowly and make sure that you are seated.

By concentrating on what you are doing, you will minimize the chances of old, bad habits sneaking in and causing you to eat more than you had planned. Let us emphasize again that the two most basic ingredients of sensible and lasting weight loss are to:

• Reduce the number of calories you consume

• Increase your amount of physical activity.

Don’t be taken in by fad diets. Don’t fall for those plans that dwell on one or two foods to the exclusion of others. Avoid magical thinking!

• While keeping calories low, introduce variability into your diet.

Don’t stick to the same boring food every day. By the way, the importance of eating slowly is that you are most likely to become satiated and not want to eat more and more. In Part 4 we will talk about the thoughts and feelings that are an important part of learning to regulate your own weight. We hope that this brief series will drive home the fact that sensible and lasting weight control requires and involves more than simply going on a diet.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus and Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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