This was my week to get myself back on a regular schedule for sleep/wake, meals, working, writing, etc. Though I allowed myself to sleep in Wednesday morning (until after 10:30), I’ve been really good about sticking to it every other day this week.
Monday: Walked 1 mile
Tuesday: Walked 1 mile
Thursday: Walked 1 mile (even though I didn’t feel like it when I woke up to see that yesterday’s absolutely perfect 72-degree, sunny weather had given way to gray skies and 50-degree temps)
Actually, I’ve been meaning to post this since the WW meeting Sunday, but, like with other things, just didn’t have time built into my schedule to get around to it until now.
One of the WW Healthy Habits is “Manage Your Feelings.” The topic of discussion at our meeting last week was about this habit, titled “Why Would I Do That?” Or, in other words, why am I eating when I’m not hungry? Why am I sabotaging myself? (I had the munchies last night and know I ate way more than I should have—but at least I ignored the cravings for pizza/fast food.)
When we get to the point where we’re eating ourselves out of house and home—grazing our way through the fridge and pantry or even making a special trip to the grocery store or our favorite/convenient fast-food joint—we’re usually not really hungry. We’re trying to fill some kind of emotional hole with the physical act of eating, because eating is the one thing we’ve always turned to for comfort.
Why would I eat something if I’m not hungry? Think about “naturally” skinny people. While it seems like they can eat anything and not gain weight (which some people really can do), most of them would look at us on one of those munchies-binges and ask us that question: why are you eating if you’re not really hungry? They don’t understand the emotional rush we get when that food first touches our tongues, the satisfaction from the crunchiness and saltiness of our favorite chips, the sweet seduction of chocolate or ice cream. For those of us who are food addicts, there is a very real physiological reaction to the activity of eating—just like when the junkie who’s starting to enter withdrawal gets another hit of heroin. Food actually calms us, satisfies us, placates us, relaxes us. . .because we’ve trained our brains to react to it that way over many, many years of turning to food to fill those emotional holes. It releases endorphins in our brains that make us feel like everything’s going to be okay.
So we have to retrain ourselves to seek those endorphins, that emotional release, elsewhere. We can start by asking ourselves:
Why do I want food?
How long has it been since I last ate?
Is my stomach growling?
Do I need food for sustenance or just something to munch on?
Am I bored?
What can I do instead of eating to distract myself and see if I’m really hungry or just bored?
Drink something (many times, we’re actually thirsty, not hungry)
Take a walk
Get out from in front of the TV (away from all those food commercials!)
Go to the library
Call a friend
Play a game
Read ::gasp:: books
Straightening up/cleaning a room or closet
Cleaning the kitchen
What non-food behaviors will give me the emotional boost/relief/support I need?
Talking to a loved-one/asking for help or advice
Doing something emotionally/mentally stimulating or challenging
Volunteering/helping someone else
Listening to music
Removing one or more sources of stress from my life
What about YOU?
Why are you sabotaging yourself?
What can you do to keep from giving into the munchies-cravings?
What new behaviors can you try over the next week to try to be more healthy and eat only when you’re truly physically hungry?