We need to eat when we are hungry. That is the correct time to actually put food in your mouth. If you reflect on your daily life, however, you will likely find that you eat for many more reasons other than hunger. Falling into these traps is all too easy, and the influx of unnecessary calories can quickly add up to excess fat.
To help you identify areas where you might need to make some changes, consider the following list that outlines some of the situations that may cue you to load up on calories when you aren’t actually hungry. Once you’re able to identify these problem areas, you can insert an alternate routine to help you turn your Habit of Disease into a Habit of Health.
- Food as a Habit: Eating without paying attention
- Food as a Stress Reliever
- Food as a Reward
- Food as a Boredom Reliever
- Food as a Social Facilitator
- Food as Love
- Food as...Because it’s There!
If you’re like most of us, you have several, creating a compounding effect that results in a massive influx of unnecessary calories. In a given day, you might absentmindedly eat a few M&Ms from your officemate’s candy bowl. You might eat an extra snack while you dig through that intense project. After work, you might drop into a happy hour to celebrate the completion of a big initiative. While you’re there, you eat an appetizer and have a beer as you talk with friends. At home, you might eat an extra piece of cake because you had an argument with a family member. Late at night, you might grab a few extra bites of that same cake because, well, it’s there.
Which of these are your Achilles’ heels? Plug into the community of support and share yours and you will connect with others who are struggling with the same challenge but who are finding ways to overcome it!
eHealth Challenge Tip: Ask for help
Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself! Get your family and friends into the game by assigning tasks for everyone. Send your spouse to the store (with a very specific list!) while the kids clean assigned areas of the house. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to bring a dish for all to enjoy.
Here is a three step approach to help you as you prepare for an upcoming event:
- Identify a specific concern or potential struggle you will face this holiday season. Is it Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family? An upcoming holiday dinner event at work? Or a cookie exchange with the neighbors? Pick one event you want to focus on.
- Visualize the event or situation. Think through each specific step of the event as if it were a story. What happens when you first arrive? Who will be there? What do you see and smell? What happens next? Work your way through the entire event, and be sure to include all of the little details.
- Once you’ve thought through your event, highlight the specific challenges at the event you are most concerned about. Develop a plan for addressing those challenges. Brainstorm ideas on how you can overcome them, and commit to one or two that you think will work best for you.