Taming Your Eating Triggers

I’m sitting here at home on a rare Portland, Oregon snow day, and it’s cold. Yesterday the weather man said it was 20 degrees but “felt like four.” I had to laugh. That’s putting it in plain English I guess. Instead of saying, “The Wind Chill factor is 4,” they tell us what it “feels like.” Can you tell the difference between 20 degrees and 4? Neither can I.

So, I’m cold – I’m usually cold, so this is nothing new, but it’s especially cold to me. I’ve got on layers, two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts, and I’m still feeling brrrrr, shivering cold. I’d put the heater higher but my husband likes this arctic chill, so I’m compromising. Being chilled I suddenly thought about getting something to eat. Not because I’m hungry, but simply because I’m cold. Moving around would feel nice, eating would warm me too – that’s the thought that ran through my mind, and it makes sense. Eating stokes the metabolic fire, after all.

Discover Your Eating Triggers

So, there I’ve just discovered an eating trigger for me. Being cold makes me want to eat something – not a bowl of cereal, or a sandwich. I was thinking along the lines of chocolates, or nuts – something simple I could just pop in my mouth and commence chewing. Ah, but then I remember, today is the second day of my big plan to eat a “clean diet.” I’ve been talking about it for a month – letting people who know me in on the plan in an effort to help me do it. I eat a pretty healthy diet but I’ve let my weight creep up this winter, so I need to nip it in the bud right now.

Now nuts are okay on a clean diet, but the salted peanuts we have in the house are greasy and very high fat (raw almonds would be a better choice), and I know I’m not really hungry, so no amount of nuts is going to satisfy me. I just want to chew. It’s one of those, “eat until they are gone” type of hungers. So my new goal for this week is to wait for real hunger before eating. That’s all – just wait until I’m hungry first.

So I did a couple quick rounds of EFT: (Remember, if you need EFT instruction, here are no-cost materials to help.

“Even though I’m ultra cold, and I want to eat something, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

I always start on the P.R. point (side of the hand – karate chop point) and say the set-up three times. Then I do a series on the usual tapping points with the shortened words: “too cold.”

“Even though I don’t want to wait until I’m hungry, I deeply and completely accept myself and will wait anyway.”

“Don’t want to wait.”

Notice how you can add any words you like at the end of your statement? Go ahead and embellish the wording, speak to yourself in a kind manner, and the words will come to you.

While tapping I was thinking about my issue – how being cold is making me want to eat. Is that true, or was I just having a knee jerk reaction? I remember being offered hot chocolate as a child, with those little marshmallows on top, “Here, have some nice cocoa, it’ll make you feel better.” Smiling grandma fades out. So many memories intertwined with food.

There’s nothing wrong with having memories around food – food is an important part of our lives, and I’m not advocating stopping that practice – no way. I am interested in discovering my triggers though: those times I absentmindedly put something in my mouth because of a triggering event, such as the cold feeling in my body. Being cold is not the same as being hungry.

How to Wait for Hunger

Waiting for hunger isn’t so difficult but the hunger itself can be elusive and you may wish it would come sooner. The more nutritious food choices you make, the less often you’ll feel true hunger. Waiting for hunger isn’t so difficult, you just need to find something else to do when the urge to eat strikes without hunger. I’m busy working, so that’s no problem.

You’d be shocked if you waited for real hunger – assuming you eat nutritious food when you eat, that is. I ate breakfast at around 7 AM, nice big bowl of oatmeal and raisins with a sprinkling of brown sugar and non-fat milk. Around 10 AM I decided to eat an apple. Nice, sweet, juicy apple. Crunchy, excellent snack, IMO. So, now it’s likely I won’t be hungry again for another couple of hours.

Oops, I wandered off in the middle of writing this and ended up peeling and eating a Clementine while standing in the kitchen admiring the snow (a Clementine is a type of seedless tangerine, I think). Anyway, it was good. So I wasn’t hungry just then, that’s okay. I’m not a robot – it’s a plan, not a life sentence.

The nice thing about waiting for hunger is you can estimate it – so if I want to plan for lunch, I know sometime between noon and 1 PM will probably be when I’ll get hungry. Unless I’m busy doing something, in which case I might decide to wait. My husband just offered to make me some soup and a sandwich and I said, “No, thanks. I just ate an apple.” I could eat a sandwich, but today, I’m going to wait for hunger. Try it yourself, and see what happens. You may be surprised.

From now on I know that if I’m cold I may want to eat something, so I’m going to wait for hunger. Simple. It’s about being aware, that’s all. Notice what’s going on around you, and use EFT for the obstacles.