Saturday, October 20, 2007

External Cues

I have probably posted about this in the past because I swear I have to repeat things about 10,000 times before I learn my lesson. But that I've been trying to stop and check out my motivation every time I'm tempted to eat but I'm not hungry, I've realized more and more how often I'm triggered by external cues -- especially seeing other people eat. I can walk by the cookies in the break room 25 times, but if I see someone stop and take one, I want to take one too. It gives me "permission" to eat. At home, I've found the same triggers. If I come home and see T eating something, I immediately want to eat. If I give the girls breakfast, I find it difficult not to eat something, even if I've already eaten breakfast.

I'm fairly certain it all dates back to the good old "family of origin", as Retrouvaille calls it. At home we couldn't eat between meals, so I never had "permission" to eat unless it was mealtime. I remember sneaking food with my siblings after arriving home from school feeling ravenous. Of course, we never had junk food, so often we'd eat half a loaf of bread -- just bread with nothing on it. Partly because we didn't have anything exciting to put on it, but partly because we were trying to eat it as quickly as possible so we didn't get caught.

Yesterday I had the day off and went out to breakfast with friends. I started the day feeling jittery because I woke up really hungry and ate breakfast between walking the dog and hopping on the exercise bike. I was afraid I wouldn't be hungry for breakfast out and was berating myself for eating too much at 5:30am. When the time came, however, I was quite hungry and ordered french toast. It was a yummy casserole sort of thing made with challah bread baked in a springform pan. So I got a wedge of it with butter, syrup, and fresh strawberries. I ate almost the whole thing and left feeing pleasantly full. Lunchtime came and went and I wasn't hungry yet. I started feeling nervous that I wouldn't get hungry for lunch. I was home alone which can be dangerous for me, but I didn't allow myself to get bored and didn't force myself to do things I didn't really want to do. I did some floor-scrubbing (is there anything more satisfying than seeing how clean a floor is when you've scrubbed it on hands and knees?) and cleaned out a closet, but as soon as I found myself looking in the cupboard, I stopped what I was doing and went downstairs to work on my scrapbooking stuff. I was able to stay busy and convince myself when I got hungry, I'd eat. I finally ate lunch at 3pm and kept it small enough that I was hungry for dinner at 6pm. Amazingly, we had family movie night and I didn't want any of the popcorn dh made or the hot chocolate I made for the girls. It wasn't even a struggle to say no -- I just didn't want any. Perhaps it has a connection to allowing myself the french toast I wanted earlier.

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