Many people are guilty of passing by the fridge or pantry and mindlessly grabbing something to eat even when they’re not hungry.
Here is a short list of why we eat when we’re not hungry:
- Someone said we must eat three meals plus snacks daily or die.
- We have nothing else to do, so we eat.
- We’re addicted to sugar, and we eat more sugar.
- Comfort food is yummy.
- To deal with our stuff.
- To be social – someone took the time to make something, so I better eat it.
- The clock said so.
- We love the crunchy, salty, savory, and sugary feel and taste.
- Mom said to clean your plate.
- Free samples at Costco.
What do all of these have in common? They are related to habits. A Duke University study says at least 45% of our waking behavior is habitual. While we’d like to believe “we’re in charge, ” our subconscious or unconscious mind drives us. It’s incredible and yet disturbing. To build an effective NEW habit, you need five essential components:
- A compelling reason
- A trigger
- A new micro-habit,
- Effective practice
- A plan
Easy stuff, right? Yeah, right!
I used to be a serious grazer, especially at night. I can look back at that time and know the trigger was sitting at the kitchen table after dinner and watching mindless TV.
My compelling reason was to improve my overall health. I now know the snacking did nothing except trigger an insulin response telling my body to store the excess as fat, which it did flawlessly!
The trigger was staying at the kitchen table after dinner. I wanted the crunchy, salty, savory, or sweet something.
My new micro habit was to leave the table. I would go read, meditate, and write, but I left the table. How simple was that? Holy cow.
I’d practice in small chunks. Then, after leaving the table, I would find the new habit like reading about new places to go on our next RV adventure or watching a YouTube video about RV maintenance.
Occasionally, when I’d stay at the table after dinner, I wouldn’t beat myself up and say I was a loser; I know I’m resilient and will do better the next day. Beating yourself up with shame and guilt is something so many people do. Just let it go.
When you put all this together, you’ve created a new habit. Voila! This stuff is simple but not easy. It’s hard to change your lifelong behaviors, and it takes courage to make a change. Go easy on yourself.