Wednesday, March 31

Examining Our Motivations

As you commit to making changes in your eating habits, you’ll need to take some time to examine your motivations when you eat. There are many reasons we eat, and the below list by no means covers them all:

Hunger – You eat because your body is telling you it needs energy.

Emotion – You eat because you have trained yourself to eat when you have particular emotion (like anger or excitement), or you eat because you are avoiding dealing with an emotion (like disappointment or depression).

Addiction – You eat because your body is craving the “feel-good” chemicals your body releases by certain foods.

Habit – You eat because you have trained your body to automatically take certain actions (like drinking coffee in the morning or eating during a movie).

Social – You eat because you automatically eat with people (like a celebration or dinner with friends).

Let’s face it: we rarely eat just because we’re hungry. For me, I was addicted to sugar and sweets. Every time I wanted to eat something I had to make myself stop and ask, “Am I hungry?” Sometimes, even after I answered my own question I had to ask, “Really? Am I actually hungry?” For a long while the answer was “no.”

I found that my “hunger” wasn’t actually connected to any one event or time or person, but that I just wanted to taste something sweet at the moment. I knew I could force that “feel-good” feeling and I couldn’t fool myself any longer. If I wasn’t smart and hadn’t rid my entire house of all sweets and temptations, simply walking into my kitchen would have been like sending an alcoholic into a bar.

Take some time to think about the times you eat, the places, the people you’re with, the frequency, the types of food you’re eating. Look for patterns! You may not figure out what your motivations are right away, but keep it in the back of your mind. One of these days you’ll be reaching for a cookie and it’ll hit you like lightning.

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