eat with a forkLast July program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill, committed to do a weekly challenge for a year to improve their health and lifestyle. Vicki and Bill decided to tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being because there is always room for improvement. Hopefully, over the past year some of the challenges have inspired you to make healthy changes.


Challenge #51 Fork it over

As our year of weekly challenges draws to an end I think about what started this adventure, and an adventure it has been. What, when, and why was the seed planted to take on this lengthy experiment?

In December of 2013, I read about the HapiFork to help slow down your eating. If you take two bites within 10 seconds, the fork will vibrate in your mouth like an electric toothbrush. But what happens when you eat hand-held food? The fork can’t help with that. Think about how many foods you eat with your hands. I challenged myself to track not so much what I ate, but how I ate it. At the end of the eight days, I consumed hand held foods 53% of the time. One day I ate everything with my hands! When I looked at all the foods I ate with my hands, I was aware of my grab-and-go eating, eating too fast, and a bit of unconscious eating.

The next part of my challenge in January of 2014 was to eat as many foods as possible with a utensil, including foods you would not normally eat with a utensil. At the end of seven days I ate almost 70% of my foods with a utensil. Some of the foods I ate with my hands were foods that I inadvertently tossed into my mouth without thinking, such as a couple of croutons while making salad. (There it is again, eating while standing up.)

After this first experiment I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I do something every week?” I recruited Bill to join me and the challenges began. And so our challenge this week brings us full circle, eat everything with a fork or a spoon. (We excluded beverages). I have to say I had an advantage because Bill was not in the original experiment so this was his first go-around. We continued with our cocktail-sized forks and spoons because they are here to stay.

Vicki’s observations:
• Well this was much, much easier the second time around. Because I have been working on the small bites, counting chews, slowing it down, and eating only while sitting, I was already much more aware of how I was eating.
• Yes, you can eat cherries with a fork. Just stab the cherry, put it in your mouth and pull off the stem. We both did slip up a couple of times with the cherries.
• It was easy to do this at home and at work when I was in my usual environment. It’s easier to manage your eating when you have a routine.
• We slipped a couple of times when we were eating out because we were out of our normal environment. We were out for dinner and I picked up a piece of bread and started to eat it. Bill quickly reminded me to use my fork so we cut up our bread with the knife and ate it with a fork. One night we went to the ElDorado and they had nuts on the counter. We both ate those with our hands without a thought until we left. I had small spoons in my purse so we could have used those.
• On the last day of our challenge we went to visit Bill’s family. They were making sandwiches for lunch. We decided we would continue with our plan and we ate our entire lunch with our little forks. Bill’s niece follows along with our challenges so we knew it wouldn’t be a problem. We passed on the chips because they were too much of a hassle to eat with the fork. That was not a bad thing.

Bill’s observations:
• I feel really good about this challenge. I had a few slip-ups but overall I believe I did quite well. I enjoy eating with a small fork and spoon. It has become second nature for me and when I go out to a restaurant and see the gigantic utensils they provide it is scary. They look like small shovels. Thank God Vicki always has the small forks and spoons in her purse. I don’t ever see myself going back to the normal size utensils.
• There are a few things that I eat everyday so I had to be a bit creative. I normally eat a banana and one protein bar per day. I did cut up my banana and eat it with a fork but after one day of cutting up my bar I did not eat one the rest of the week because it was too much trouble to cut it up. I didn’t miss it.
• When I was visiting my niece and her children she offered me a bag of goldfish crackers. I reached in and took a handful and then I realized I was not going to eat them with a fork so I gave them to my grand-nephew.
• As you all know I usually have some ice dream after dinner. I had bought some really tasty cookies at the farmers’ market from our friend Fausta, the cookie lady, and I had to crumble them up and put them on my ice cream as I did not want to eat them with a fork. If there is a will there is a way.
• The challenges are coming to an end but I will always continue to eat my food with a small fork and spoon. This habit will be with me for a long time.

Believe me, if you eat EVERYTHING with a fork or a spoon you will eat less and it will take you longer to eat. As we found out, you really can eat everything with a fork or a spoon. It may be inconvenient but if you make it inconvenient you are less likely to eat it as Bill found out with his bars and you may eat smarter.

Yes, there will be a post next week. Check in as we reflect on the past year and find out our plans for the next year. Are we finished or not? Hmmmm.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.comp=2583
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections.
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking.
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber.
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule.
Challenge #29 Feel Good Week.
Challenge #30 Try one new healthy food a day.
Challenge #31 It’s a stretch.
Challenge #32 TLC for heart health.
Challenge #33 The sounds of silence.
Challenge #34 10,000 steps a day.
Challenge #35  35/350.
Challenge #36 Have a super week.
Challenge #37 Stress buster.
Challenge #38 Walking the tightrope.
Challenge #39 The 7PM cut off.
Challenge #40 Primary eating.

Challenge #41 We’re gluten free.
Challenge #42 Do what you gotta do.

Challenge #43 Fighting sitting disease.
Challenge #44 Slowing down mealtime.
Challenge #45 Practice makes better.
Challenge #46 Tiptoe through the tulips with Miss Vicki.
Challenge #47 DASH your way to better health.
Challenge #48 First leg of our Triple Crown.
Challenge #49 Second leg of our Triple Crown  
Challenge #50 Third leg of our Triple Crown

Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.” Contact Vicki at vbovee@westernsurgical.