How to shut your mouth off for the day

After this week’s News-Sentinel column on “engine run-on” — that tendency to keep eating after you thought you’d shut your mouth off for the day — my friend Barbara Elliott noted that she uses a tooth brush to get her mouth’s attention.

“I brush my teeth early and don’t want to get them crummy again before bed time and that keeps me from eating junk food,” she wrote on my Facebook page.

That’s a great tip. Here’s another strategy I’ve been experimenting with: Lately when I want to stop eating for the day, I step on the scale. Then I remind myself if I put nothing else in my mouth the rest of the day — no food, no liquids — it will be impossible for that number to be any higher the next morning. In fact, I will almost certainly weigh at least 1 pound less, based on recent experiments.

PLEASE NOTE THAT I’M NOT ENCOURAGING ANYONE TO RISK DEHYDRATION! Because I usually don’t do this until a few hours before I go to bed, it’s not like I’m putting myself in danger.

The certainty of this lower-weight guarantee is extremely liberating after a lifetime of wondering “what will the scale say tomorrow?” It shuts my mouth off more firmly than any other strategy I’ve ever tried.

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