What is “impulse eating” and why is it public enemy number one in the crime called “the fattening of America”?
I refer to anything I eat, that isn’t planned or scheduled, as impulse or impulsive eating.
It works something like this: I see food, I eat it. I see food on the counter, in the kitchen. I eat it. I walk past the cookie jar and I grab a cookie. I walk past the cabinet that holds the crackers and I grab the box and the peanut butter job.
I also works like this: I’m driving home. I’ve worked a bit late. I know there’s a plate waiting for me at home. I pull up to the drive-in window of McDonalds or Wendy’s or Taco Bell and “order a snack” – just to get me home, to take the edge off – or worse, I order what amounts to a meal. Then, to not offend my wife or to conceal my bad behavior, I eat whatever was set aside for me for dinner.
Do you impulse eat? Late at night? Open the peanut butter jar and smear it on some bread? Open the freezer and pull out the ice cream? Eat “just half a bagel”?
I’ve found the solutions to this issue, which probably accounts for a great deal of “not losing weight”, is to plan for the impulse: pack a healthy snack (fruit, nuts, V-8), look away when passing McD’s, whimper a little if I must to get me past the impulse.
The problem with dealing with impulse eating is that we live in denial. We act or think or try to convince ourselves that we are in control or that we can stop it, we don’t do it – it’s just a matter of will.
I’m sorry, but as best I can tell, not eating between meals or not impulse eating IS possible but that possibility is a matter of well trained discipline. And probably just having the brain chemistry that goes along with the practice of the discipline.
I’d like to suggest that you and I (I am) start with a “work around” the issue of impulse eating: planned snacking between meals. Decide to snack between meals. Choose to snack. Make snacking a part of your diet plan.
Anticipate the twinge in the stomach. Admit that something happens between meals that has you reaching for the cabinet.
And schedule that snack, whatever healthy snack that is. Pack an apple. Pack a can of V-8 juice. Pack a bag of almonds. Then eat it at 3:00 P.M. or 4:00, 9:00 or 10:00 P.M. or whatever time it is that YOU KNOW you tend to be vulnerable, when you give in to cravings.
Do yourself a favor and start working on your discipline of weight reduction by admitting your failings and bad behaviors. Don’t deny the behavior. Don’t deny the impulse.
Give in to it, in a disciplined way.