Friday, June 19, 2009

Shutting Down The Autopilot

So I'm sitting on the couch last night and before I even realized it, I had half-empty bag of Veggie Crunchers in front of me. Something switched on the autopilot and I have to admit it was hard to shut it down. When I woke from the fog and realized what I was doing, I was really upset because unconscious eating is one of my biggest issues and I've been having some good successes working on dealing with it. What can I do about it and how can I keep that autopilot disconnected?

Know your triggers!
After I put the bag back in the pantry, I shut the telly and sat down to have a think about what triggered this bout of emotional eating. My husband used to travel so much for work and food was my biggest companion. When he changed jobs, the traveling became much more sporadic. But these past two weeks he's had business trips and I found myself snacking out of loneliness/boredom like I hadn't done in a long time. Last Sunday with the pistachios and last night with the Veggie Crunchers.

I was also stressing about telling Blake (the personal trainer from you know where) that I need him to dial the the leg workouts back because I was just too sore and it felt like a set back. Confrontation is hard but I resolved to call him and let him know where I stand. I did that just now and feel so much lighter because of it.

Eating feelings away does not work. They only stay away for a minute and then what? I still have to deal with them so they don't paralyze my life. Awareness of feelings and dealing with them is half the battle.

Know your trigger foods!
Healthy snack foods can be a problem if the portion gets out of control. I need to move the measuring cup into the pantry near where I keep my nuts and snacks to remind me to measure my portion into a bowl and NOT eat out of the bag. I used to keep huge bags of peanut M n' M's hidden in the couch cushions. Can't go back to that counter-productive behavior.

Have a back up plan!
Feel a snack attack coming on? Do something else. I should have asked myself why I wanted food and thought about it for a moment. What do I really want/need instead of this snack? And then redirected myself away from the pantry. Maybe brushed my teeth or put on a face mask, gone outside to talk to the garden and listen to the sounds of the trees, called my mother (well maybe not), called someone (my husband was on a plane at the time), got my journal out, made a cup of tea, practiced my relaxation technique. You see where I'm going with this.

This was a hard post. Accountability isn't always easy but it's working for me.


  1. This was a great post to read. I am very guilty of unconscious eating and my problem foods are always fried, salty, and fatty. You're definitely a huge inspiration to making the right kind of changes.

  2. Andra, it's interesting you mentioned "I should have...brushed my teeth..." Lately I've been finding that to be a very simple but effective way to curb my snacking. It never occurred to me before that I'd begin snacking when my mouth had that dry, dirt-cave feeling...and I'd want to put something savory or sweet in there to make my tastebuds happy again. Now, instead, I go brush my teeth. I love the clean feeling in my mouth afterwards and it makes me want to keep that clean feeling, hence it curbs the snack attack. Plus, it can only do good things for my teeth! double bonus! cheers.

  3. I am horrible when it comes to "bored" eating. Even when I stop myself and realize I'm just bored and not hungry, I still can't kick the craving. I've taken to painting my nails or doing a mini facial when this happens, usually by the time I'm done, the worst is over. I just wish there was a way to STOP it from happening, rather than dealing with it once it does. But, c'est la vie, at least I'm realizing HOW to deal with it! :)