Audit your day and figure out when impulse eating is most likely to hit. Make the necessary changes such that these impulse moments can be avoided. When they cannot be avoided, develop an action plan for when these impulse moments come. Impulse eating can derail the best weight loss efforts. Read on to find out how managing impulse eating is critical for successful weight management.
Being overweight is often associated with lack of self-control. However, I assert that this is not the case all the time. You are out of control only at specific times and I call them impulse eating moments. Take some time out now, sit back and run through your day in your mind. And with a paper and pen list your vulnerable moments. Note that these moments often do not last more than a few minutes when you give in to your urge to binge or overeat. Usually these moments are triggered by certain cues in your environment, some persistent thoughts or feelings you have or get activated in response to certain crisis or situations.
For example, your list may look something like this:
- I cannot resist buying a croissant every morning when I walk pass the bakery on my way to work, it smells so good!
- I am frustrated and angry with my manager at work, work conflict exhausts me and I look for comfort foods like hamburger and French fries with a coke at lunch time just to give myself a treat so that I feel better after lunch break when I get back to work. Heaven knows I deserve a treat.
- When I get home from work I am often ravenous and I walk right into the kitchen and start picking every edible morsel from the refrigerator indiscriminately. To be totally honest, I end up having two dinners each night.
- When everyone is in bed, I stay up feeling sad and turn to the pantry for comfort. I binge in secret when no one is looking; that way I will not be judged. What they do not see, they do not know. I loathe being a closet eater but I do not know how else to do this discretely.
I have listed 4 common impulse eating moments in the day. Here are some of the “anti-dotes” for handling those impulse moments:
- Explore another route to work! Do not walk pass the bakery so you do not have to wrestle the impulse to buy that croissant.
- Manage the conflict there and then and learn to be fully self-expressed. It takes courage to speak up and stand up for yourself. No doubt you may put yourself at risk but you may also resolve the bitterness and have more peace in your life. Imagine what your life would look like if you could be a powerful and confident communicator. New doors may open for you and accelerate your progress on your career path. You may even get a new level of respect previously absent from your manager! You will be pleasantly surprised.
- Have something to eat at afternoon tea so that you will not be ravenous when you get home. And if you are still hungry when you get home, eat an apple at least 20 minutes before dinner. It takes a fair bit of chewing to get through an apple; I would be surprised if you could still eat a full dinner.
- What is making you feel sad? Do you feel trapped in your life, at work, at home, or all of the above? Is your inability to stand up for yourself and believe in yourself affecting all areas of your life? Is the festering unhappiness turning into all-out self-destruction through bingeing? Could you perhaps at some level be committed to your own annihilation? Quit looking to food for answers to your emotional pain. I hate to say this but the answers lie within you; only you have the power to heal your painful feelings. No amount of food can do that for you. It takes great courage to change jobs or end a relationship. Sometimes you may have to consider those possibilities to transform your life. However, first and foremost, look within for answers.
I repeat, impulse moments go almost as quickly as they come. So if you have a plan in place to engage in an activity to interrupt that impulse moment, you can win, and lose weight fast. Preferably this activity has to be something you enjoy doing that consumes all your attention and takes the focus away from food. For some it could be a game of tennis, calling a friend, going to the movies, playing a game of chess, going for a swim, painting, quilting or cutting your own home movie.
What are your impulse eating moments? What is your game plan for dealing with them?