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Creative ways to quit

How We Broke Our Eating Out Habit In 9 Steps

Toddler Ardi Rizal stunned the world when it was revealed he had a a-day smoking habit but was two. The youngster was discovered in a poor village in Sumatra, Indonesia, puffing on a cigarette while riding his tricycle.

Now Aldi has picked up a new addiction - to food. His huge appetite has seen him gorge on junk food and fatty snacks. The outcry led to the Indonesian government launching a campaign to tackle the problem of children smoking and organising special rehabilitation treatment to help Aldi quit.

Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his a-day habit and learn to be a normal toddler for the first time. A new documentary series revisits the family two years on to find out how Aldi is getting on and reveals he has managed to stay off the cigarettes, but is still dangerously unhealthy.

During his rehabilitation treatment, Aldi saw psychiatrists who encouraged his mother to keep him busy with playing and taught her about the dangers of smoking.

One of them - Dr Kak Seto - still sees Aldi and his family at regular intervals to ensure he is not falling back into old habits. His mother Diane Rizal, 28, said: He says "I love Kak Seto. He would be sad if I started smoking again and made myself ill. Aldi weighs nearly four stone, double what he should be for a child his age, and medics have urged his mother to put her son on a diet. Trying to be normal: Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his a-day habit.

Aldi's addiction to fatty foods sees him drinking three cans of condensed milk a day he is pictured centre. However, Mrs Rizal is now worried about her son's weight, as he developed food cravings while quitting smoking, and now has a big appetite. Mrs Rizal said the strong-willed little boy now demands food in the same way he used to beg for cigarettes, and the family struggles not to give in to his tantrums.

Aldi's mother Diane Rizal, 28, says people still offer her son cigarettes even though he has kicked the habit. That's why I get him cigarettes in the first place - because of his temper and his crying. With so many people living in the house it's hard to stop him from getting food. Aldi also helps his mother and father Mohamed out on their market stall, where his bright bubbly character and cheekiness wins him lots of attention.

It makes me feel like they are accusing me of being a bad parent. Mr and Mrs Rizal decided to take Aldi to a nutritionist for medical checks and now they've been given advice on how to put him on a healthier diet so he can start to lose some weight. The mother says Aldi is a spoilt kid. If Diana wants to forbid him eating, it will be hard. One obvious thing is they let him have too much condensed milk. He drinks three cans a day and eats too many carbohydrates. Paediatric specialist Dr William Nawawi is also concerned that smoking at an early age has made Aldi more likely to suffer weight issues.

This condition can cause resistance to insulin. This will make Aldi become bigger and bigger. Now, Aldi is back at home in his fishing village and is on a strict diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and smaller portions. Mrs Rizal must also persuade Aldi's siblings and the rest of the family not to give in and provide him with junk food when she is not around. Doctors hope that if Aldi can lose around half a stone to a stone, his weight will eventually even out as he starts to grow taller.

It is thought one-third of children in Indonesia try smoking before the age of ten. The Government has launched efforts to tackle the problem. When behaviors are repeated in a consistent context, there is an incremental increase in the link between the context and the action.

This increases the automaticity of the behavior in that context. Habit formation is the process by which a behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual. This is modelled as an increase in automaticity with number of repetitions up to an asymptote.

As the habit is forming, it can be analysed in three parts: The cue is the thing that causes the habit to come about, the trigger of the habitual behavior. This could be anything that one's mind associates with that habit and one will automatically let a habit come to the surface. The behavior is the actual habit that one exhibits, and the reward, a positive feeling, therefore continues the "habit loop".

A variety of digital tools, online or mobile apps, have been introduced that are designed to support habit formation. For example, Habitica is a system that uses gamification , implementing strategies found in video games to real life tasks by adding rewards such as experience and gold.

Shopping habits are particularly vulnerable to change at "major life moments" like graduation, marriage, birth of first child, moving to a new home, and divorce. Some stores use purchase data to try to detect these events and take advantage of the marketing opportunity. Some habits are known as "keystone habits", and these influence the formation of other habits. For example, identifying as the type of person who takes care of their body and is in the habit of exercising regularly, can also influence eating better and using credit cards less.

In business, safety can be a keystone habit that influences other habits that result in greater productivity. A recent study by Adriaanse et al.

The habit—goal interface or interaction is constrained by the particular manner in which habits are learned and represented in memory. Specifically, the associative learning underlying habits is characterized by the slow, incremental accrual of information over time in procedural memory.

Goals guide habits by providing the initial outcome-oriented motivation for response repetition. In this sense, habits are often a trace of past goal pursuit. Behavior prediction is also derived from goals. Behavior prediction is to acknowledge the likelihood that a habit will form, but in order to form that habit, a goal must have been initially present. The influence of goals on habits is what makes a habit different from other automatic processes in the mind.

It Depends which demonstrates the difference between goal-directed and habitual behavior:. A series of elegant experiments [21] conducted by Anthony Dickinson and colleagues in the early s at the University of Cambridge in England clearly exposes the behavioral differences between goal-directed and habitual processes. Basically, in the training phase, a rat was trained to press a lever in order to receive some food.

Then, in a second phase, the rat was placed in a different cage without a lever and was given the food, but it was made ill whenever it ate the food. This caused the rat to "devalue" the food, because it associated the food with being ill, without directly associating the action of pressing the lever with being ill.

And that was all she wrote. Also, I would say that reading restaurant inspection reports helps. Coffee is always a must ;. Talk about a deterrent! We probably eat out or get takeout twice a month, and my husband and I go out for a nice dinner every other month.

You have to add the cost of a babysitter in, too. I create a meal plan every week, cook at home, and use leftovers. I shudder to think of how much I used to toss before I got serious about food waste. Sadly, the 2 year old is better at it than the older boy! I have you both beat—Mr. Amy—sounds like you have a good system in place for enjoying meals out occasionally but still keeping costs low.

We eat out so rarely anymore — for a few reasons really. The other main reason is due to finances and health. The health aspect is somewhat self-explanatory. You make great points about health and the hassle of going out with kids. Eating at home is just easier, healthier and cheaper all around.

Vermont is a big supporter of locally-owned businesses, but chains are moving in more and more. Like you, my husband is a good cook and does all of our cooking at home, and he enjoys it. We eat leftovers for lunch every day, and we also prefer that. I always liked that here. Definitely real maple syrup! I believe the key is planning, meal planning, shopping, and having the emergency meal or quick meals on hand when pressed for time.

You are so correct- preparedness staves off impulse meal purchasing. Another go- to for me…Costco frozen veggie burritos Cedar Lane brand, I believe One gram of fat per burrito…accompanied by several Sriracha squirts-has saved me many a trip to the hospital cafeteria!

Currently we eat out about twice per month. I like that concept—eating out as an event, not just as a default. Mmmm frozen veggie burritos do sound pretty good! But I love my pizza: These are great tips. My husband and I never enacted a formal eating-out ban, but we eat out drastically less than we used to. We also had a restaurant meal usually once a week or so, plus happy hours with friends after work several times a month.

Thanks, as always, for the inspiration! Sounds like you two have a good system going with the dinner leftover for lunch! I know, I too shudder to think of how much money we wasted eating out over the years.

The frugal is our future: This is my situation! We still eat out way too much but it is something we are actively working on. Great job on paying for eating out just twice in the past 15 months. Do you invite them over?

Has it altered any relationships? Just curious how you mange that. Agreed, I would love to see a post about the social aspect of living the frugal life. Or when someone invites us to see a movie in the theater, or check out a new brewery, or go to a music festival. Great questions on the socializing aspect of frugality. I think for us, there are a few different factors at play.

Our strategy with restaurant invites is to counter with an invite to our home. Another factor for us is that a lot of our friends are frugal as well. We host board game nights, potlucks, BBQs, etc. I wonder if your ability to do that will change as you become parents and getting your kid to sleep and to stay sleeping becomes a priority. I will be reading with great curiosity as you become parents.

We have a wonderfully vibrant community of friends who all had kids at around the same time, and we never eat out together anymore! We also live in a very high cost of living area. Only three of the families in our friend group have houses big enough to entertain in, so we all take turns hosting dinner at these three houses.

We used to do a lot of backpacking together but those days are over for a while. Sounds cheesy, but it allows us to spend time together being creative, surprising one another, and allows us to expand our culinary skills with one another!

We look for fried chicken sandwiches. Mmmm, a fried chicken sandwich sounds pretty tasty to me: Yes to advance prep! FW cooks batches of stuff for us on the weekend to cut down on his weeknight prep time.

Makes such a huge difference! In fact, it comes out of our entertainment budget. A new thing I have tried is mystery shopping. I actually did a shop yesterday at fancy schmancy restaurant. This helps our budget and lets us still enjoy eating out especially at restaurants I would never actually pay their ridiculous prices.

I totally just started mystery shopping! This was a great post! I find our eating out goes in fits and spurts. Pre-frugal days, it was a LOT. Then we had kids and at the age of , eating out with children is no fun. I found that when we are stressed, we tend to do it more often. Eating out is a slippery slope, and my 9 year old would do it all the time and then complain that we NEVER go out. There are challenges though.

I cook all the meals. On top of a full time job. We do love the Costco pizza same kind you have for emergency meals. On the weekend I am ruthlessly prepping for the week. So prepared foods from the grocery store are for sure okay in my house. Added to that, my work schedule just changed and I work until 6 pm 3x a week. My spouse has a tendency to fall back on eating out. Last week our older son was in camp and he took him out to lunch at least twice.

I find that not eating out, however, is a bit isolating. My friends like to eat out a fair bit. So now two of my friends have found each other — they go out together a lot as families , and I feel a bit excluded. Good luck with the eating out ban! I wish you all the very best! Interested to hear how you handle social occasions involving eating out. Like a good friend is having a going away happy hour or a dear colleague is having a birthday brunch, etc.

Works well for us and we get to see our friends without the expense. Hope that helps—feel free to shoot me more questions! Great strategies to cut out the eating out habit! I find what you said about making sure to have some frozen, pre-made dinners on hand that require minimal prep to be key in not eating out as much.

Social obligations kill me! I hear ya on that! The last three years, though, we have really focused on our home cooking and meal planning and now we are at the point where we hate to eat out. Makes all the difference! We were just visiting friends in Rochester yesterday and ate at a Turkish place for lunch.

After a few days of not particularly flavorful food with in the in-laws, having some falafel wraps was definitely, super worth it. Like the baked goods they are selling in Colorado now? You know, I just put similar post on my start-up blog today — I investigated savings achieved by replacing lunches at the office cantine with homemade food.

It happens to us all! Maybe for you the post-game beers are a budgeted treat, and you cut back in other areas to make up for it. But I bet you could drastically reduce your post-game spending and still get all of the social fun. Maybe bring a snack to eat on the way from the game to the bar?

And nurse those beers! That is for a family of five. One major thing we did was focus only on places whee kids eat free. That was a HUGE savings over paying for two kids meals the youngest only has two teeth so far so she does not get one. My wife just started doing mystery shopping. She jumps on the opportunities to evaluate restaurants. I do know plenty of folks who just bring a tupperware of food for the little ones to avoid both the ingredients and price of the kids meals.

Expense account meals are the best. Thanks so much for entertaining us, while you educate us. LOVE the Frugalhound pics too. Also, in addition to the frozen pizzas, I used to really really try hard to make sure I had leftovers for Friday. I have failed lately, but at least this last Friday we had scrambled egg tacos. This coming Friday is a date night. So we are paying for a babysitter. That meal was disappointing.

The more we cook, the more disappointing meals out are — I noticed that for sure. The cheapest was a quick burger and a free movie my spouse traded blood donation points for movie tix. This Friday I think we are going even cheaper, and will aim for a picnic on the beach. We eat out more than I would like—a few times a month, perhaps.

FP likes to do things like go out to lunch as part of a day trip, patronize the excellent taco place across the street, and order pizza. I try to leave leftovers, crockpot food, pasta salad, etc.

I strive for an interesting rotation of easy-to-prepare dinners that Mr. The second part is harder than it sounds! My mother a full-time teacher pretty much raised us on frozen fried chicken and Hamburger Helper, so made-from-scratch, feed-a-family weeknight meals are something I had to mostly figure out for myself.

Instead of precooking and freezing whole dinners, I often freeze components: Then if we keep a couple of boxes of mac and cheese around, we can. Good call on the pre-prepped dinner components! Love all the great ideas and photos! Food is definitely one of the toughest aspects of my budget. Reducing the urges when out and about seems to be one of my biggest problems.

I try to pack food and avoid social hangouts at bars and restaurants. If I do go, I tend to get a water and eat beforehand. That tends to reduce cravings when out and about. Snacking pre-event is definitely key. Eating out is certainly one of the big unnecessary expenses at our house! But I really like the strategies you guys are using to keep things under control. I second the convenience food too.

I like to make batches of pinto bean burgers or bean and cheese burritos to freeze for that very purpose on top of freezing other appropriate leftovers. I keep thinking that someday I should make a few pizzas and freeze them for this exact purpose….

Love this, thank you. Easy meals for week nights is crucial! Your comment the other day on the June Expenses post actually inspired me to write this, so thank you: Best of luck to you with your July meal plan.

I totally agree—easy meals on weeknights are the key! We eat out a lot on the weekends. During the week I am good about cooking dinner and then we take the leftovers for lunch. In fact we have a group of us that formed a monthly dinner club this year. On the last weekend of each month one couple will host dinner at their house for the group. Everyone brings along some adult beverages and we have had quite a variety of excellent food.

I broke my eating out habit in one not-so-easy step: I had a health crisis. I can count on two fingers the number of restaurant meals available in the small city where I live that I consider healthy.

The benefits of eating healthful food prepared at home are far more than merely economic! I think health is a fabulous reason not to eat out. I estimate we hit up a restaurant twice a month and takeout maybe twice a month. Your numbers are quite low! Treat meals definitely help!

I can make a ginormous pot roast on Sunday and we snack on it all week; we have our own laying hens, so I make deviled eggs by the dozen which turn into quick breakfasts, and my all-time favorite: That pre-cooked burger comes out of the freezer and goes into about a zillion things, my favorite being the pressure cooker with a pound of uncooked pasta, jar of pasta sauce, and one pasta-sauce-jar of water or broth, if I happen to have made some recently. We definitely need to get our eating out habit under control!

I will definitely be working with hubby to apply these steps—especially the emergency meal and zero tolerance tips. I love deviled eggs! And, cooking a huge batch on Sundays is a great technique. We do eat out occasionally, but that amount has been greatly reduced as my cooking skills have improved. I totally agree that having a solid plan and a great set of meals that are quick to prepare is crucial, especially when working a full time job outside of the home.

And I think easy weekday meals are the golden ticket! But, there was a time where we were happy to spend that money. I like when this happens. I do cook about every night husband cooks about 1 night a week. But lots of things can derail that plan which honestly stresses me out.

Getting invited to dinner ugh no leftovers! I try to cook in bulk but it always results in about 6 servings max! I did make 2 gallons of curry once, and we got sick of it. Due to the potatoes, it was not a good freezing candidate. Last month we ate out 3x as a couple one was a fun night with 3 other couples , H got breakfast one day, and lunch another day.

That was a high month. Eating out is just easier. It has definitely taken us some time to get into the rhythm of cooking in bulk, etc. And, having super easy weekday dinners has been a lifesaver too. All about that conscious spending: Before we moved to the country we probably ate out times per week. Not only is the new house far from a restaurant like a 30 minute drive but it also has a beautiful kitchen. It has turned my husband into a wonderful cook.

Bury the evidence