Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Habitual eating

Last week I talked about emotional eating - eating to compensate for something that's lacking in our lives or to comfort ourselves. But we often eat from habit, too. Actually, I'm not talking about eating as in eating a well balanced meal (as in breakfast or lunch - both of which I hope are established habits in your day), but eating as in snacks and treats.

If you think about it carefully, you will probably realise that there are rituals associated with your in-between meal snacks and treats. Perhaps you habitually have a couple of biscuits with your tea or coffee: always munch on chips while you read a book; usually eat sweets while driving; reward yourself with chocolate for a job completed.

Habits can be difficult to break. So maybe try modifying the habit instead - have only one plain biscuit, and only with your afternoon tea or coffee: munch on grapes while you read: sing along to the radio or CD while you drive (good for coping with traffic stress, too): move on to the next challenge when you've completed the job (or tick the job off your to-do list). These new strategies are wiser choices for your mental health and your waistline. It is really not a good idea to eat anything while you are doing something else anyway. Your attention is diverted, and you consume far more than you realise.

We should be aware of every morsel that passes out lips - do we really need it? Definitely not. Do we really want it? Probably not.

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