The Feel-Good System
Phase II: Assert & Attack
What do you do when you’re bored, restless, and home alone? The whole house awaits you, full of goodies, with no one to catch you if you cheat. You keep walking into the kitchen—not because you’re hungry—but because you’re looking for something interesting to do, AKA something tasty to eat. Is that banana bread sitting on the counter? Or how about some healthy fruit? And then there’s always last night’s cookie-dough ice cream, waiting for you in the freezer. It’s mid-afternoon, not lunch, nor dinner, or snack time, and yet there you are, about to stuff your face with everything your body doesn’t actually need or want.
How do you stop yourself from falling into this trap, from filling yourself with frustration and regret as soon as the taste fades from your tongue?
You fight. Instead of wandering naively through this danger zone, you take it by storm. You don’t sit back and take it. You ATTACK. Here’s how:
1. Focus on Something Other than Food
-What do you want to accomplish? What are you excited about? Set up goals for the day, work, play—everything that does not include food. You could read a book, do some homework, watch TV, call your friend on the phone. Focus on those things and make them the focus, not the food.
-Make food a means to an end (being adequately energized to complete all your other goals) rather than an end in itself. You don’t eat for the sake of eating. You eat to be energized, and then you move on.
-Here’s a good strategy. When you feel like eating, work out. Get down and do ten push-ups, right now. Blast your favourite music and get to it. Working out not only makes you feel good about yourself, it takes your mind off of food and reminds you what you’re fighting for. It makes you feel sexy, just like you should feel, not bloated and frustrated.
2. Know Your Weaknesses
-Do you go weak in the knees at the sight of that leftover strawberry shortcake sitting in the fridge? Are the chips on the counter calling your name when you’re trying to study?
-Take action. You know what trips you up, so get rid of it. Move that cake into the downstairs fridge instead so you don’t have to see it. Put those chips into an airtight container and pack them away into a cupboard. Out of sight out of mind. Don’t lead yourself into unnecessary temptations. If you can make things easier on yourself, do it.
-Try and understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. Get to the crux of your Root Needs. Is mid-afternoon usually a difficult time for you because that’s when you’re most tired and vulnerable? What’s been happening in your life, and how are you feeling about it? Is there something you can do to make yourself feel better that doesn’t involve food? Take care of yourself. Help yourself.
3. Stick to Your Plan
-Know what you’re going to eat. Don’t just wander into the kitchen at every whim. And reward yourself. If you stick to your eating plan for the day, give yourself a treat. Maybe have a handful of chips. A sliver of that cake. At least this way, it’ll be planned, it won’t be “snacked”. And planning is always better than snacking.
-This will help you avoid the dangers of Recreational Eating, when you’re no longer hungry but are still interested in eating. It’s when you’ve hit the First Gate, but you keep going, asking, “Hmmm, what else can I eat?” That is a dangerous statement. Remember, food is fuel, not entertainment.
-So know what your battle plan is. Assess the situation and come up with a strategy. Be prepared for the dangers ahead. Because you can handle it. Food can only ever have as much control over you as you give it.
Food is a wonderful thing, but it should always be in the background. So next time you’re home alone, bored, or just feel like eating everything you see, take heart. You have all the weapons you need to win this battle. And every battle brings you closer to winning the war.