Can you dive deeper to explore more emotions that might be occurring when you want to eat, but are not physically hungry?
In your exploration you might discover times when you are not physically hungry, but you can’t identify or pinpoint the feeling. You might also find that you know you are not physically hungry, but also not ready to dive in and process the emotion that you discovered. Both situations are okay and with practice you will be able to identify the emotion and start to explore it further.
One of the most challenging times you might face in deciphering your physical hunger is when you’re not sure. Could be yes, could be no. Can I get a maybe? One tip: if you are not sure, chances are high that you are not actually physically hungry.
In wading through the yes, no or maybe, I suggest making a list of your top three “go-tos” to engage you while you wait to be sure of hunger. They have to be quick, accessible and easy. The idea is to first hydrate yourself, so you cover the possibility of only being thirsty, then busy yourself with something fun and stimulating for a few minutes.
If your stomach interrupts the activity you choose, there’s a good chance you are definitely physically hungry. Remember it has to be something you like to do. It’s easy to want a break when doing un-fun chores. I imagine I would want a break if I were vacuuming, for instance!
I’m encouraging you to take a fun break instead of turning to food, even when all the work isn’t done. Here’s my list of go-tos:
1. Drink 16oz or more of water. Yes, I pee a TON and have no sympathy for you!
2. Search something fun, non-work related on the internet. Pop culture fascinates me as it distracts me from reality and lets me fantasize about being discovered by a celebrity.
3. Search fun, new accounts to follow on Instagram.
There are so many things you can allow yourself, or reward yourself with, without turning to food. I’ve given you my list. What would you do for 5-10 minutes if you had nothing to do? If all your responsibilities were taken care of and your work was done?
Here’s another way I reward myself. I love magazines — I love the pictures, the articles, the quotes, the colors, the different fonts, the clothes (especially those), the ads, the whole spread. I love them. I try to set boundaries for myself around this activity. Before I indulge, I try to be reasonably caught up on work and things around the house. There are always things I can do. Is reading the magazines a waste of time? Perhaps. But it brings me a bit of frivolous joy.
Maybe frivolous joy to you includes some of the things I’ve mentioned above or it’s a bubble bath, pedicure, zoning out with Netflix, coloring, knitting or a simple game on your phone. Okay, some of these take more than 10 minutes. My point is these little pleasures are not frivolous. Think of them as how you recover from the demands of your life, how you refuel yourself emotionally and give yourself a little present for doing the best you can.
Many people often use food as the frivolous joy; a little food present as a reward. However, some of the side effects of eating more than you need are not rewarding! If you are in the habit of eating when you are not hungry, as a way of managing your life, to have a little “party in your mouth” as stimulation, wouldn’t it be better to allow yourself 5-10 minutes of non-food frivolous joy? Even if everything else isn’t done? You feel me?