Put An End To Compulsive, Mindless Eating

The Rolling Stones were right; about life, when they commented, “you can’t always get what you want”, but when it comes to over-eating, people usually succeed, and indulge in their favorite foods with a vengeance. 

But are you really getting “what you need”?  If you can answer that question, you’re helping yourself put an end to compulsive, mindless eating

5.1 min read

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Sometimes You May Find, You’ll Get What You Need”The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were right; about life, when they commented, “you can’t always get what you want”, but when it comes to over-eating, people usually succeed, and indulge in their favorite foods with a vengeance.  But are you really getting “what you need”?  If you can answer that question, you’re helping yourself put an end to compulsive, mindless eating.

Start to learn about your psyche; it’s a worthwhile investment in your health portfolio.  Knowing what’s on your mind, how you feel, and what you need in your life, will help you stay on track with Pritikin’s eating plan.

Build in a five minute pause when you get the urge to splurge and take out a notebook; It’s a good idea to journal about your ideas, feelings, and progress with your lifestyle goals.

When you find yourself reaching for sweets, chips, a drink, or anything to eat (even another piece of fruit!) when you know you’re not really hungry, ask yourself these two questions and write down your thoughts:

  • What’s Eating You?
  • What Are You Really Hungry for?

Consider writing these questions down on a small piece of paper and taping it to your fridge, freezer, pantry, or wherever it is that the craving takes you. When we feel stressed, it is very difficult – in the moment – to think about anything other than what is stressing us out, and that we want to relieve the stress as soon as possible. If our brain has learned that food “works” (in the short-term), it will take you straight to the food. So it helps to have a “note to self” right there in your face, as a reminder that food probably won’t really satisfy your feeling.

You may have heard these questions before and thought “How clever. Yes, it’s true.  How I feel has something to do with my unhealthy eating”. Now’s the time to take the next step and come up with answers; they’ll help you overcome bad habits and establish positive behaviors.

For example, you might think, “Everything’s fine.  I just need more ‘willpower”.  Nothing’s bothering me”.  And you might be partially correct.  Maybe you don’t have any significant challenges in your life right now, but are you feeling bored?  Perhaps you’re up too late, as you are most nights, watching TV programs you recorded but don’t really care about.  This might be your typical way of de-stressing, but boredom isn’t a pleasant emotion, and can create more stress (you might be thinking, “Who comes up with this stuff?  And why am I paying for 100 channels when none of them have any quality programs?”).  Before you know it, you’re off the couch, sampling the goodies in the fridge instead of the prime time offerings.

When this happens, it’s so important to think about what you’re really craving.  It could be as simple as sleep, or you might desire more intimacy with your partner. If you stuff yourself, you’ll stuff the feelings and not only gain weight, but also lose the opportunity to learn what you need and to go for it!

Dr. Kristen Farrell-Turner, a licensed psychologist and educator at the Pritikin Center, shares, “A Pritikin guest once told me that, when she feels stressed and has a craving and finds herself opening her fridge, she tells herself, “It’s not in there.” Meaning: what I really need right now cannot be found in my fridge.

So remember, before you indulge: pause, reflect, and satisfy yourself with self-knowledge instead of food.


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