The reason why you're eating junk food and how to stop
Sarah, an MBT client, wrote in her report last night, “I don’t know why I ate crap at the mall. I wasn’t even particularly hungry.”
This is worth exploring.
This doesn’t only apply to eating crap at the mall. It applies to indulging whenever, wherever: home, school, at a party, work, etc.
We can all learn a lot by exploring why Sarah ate what she did.
Let’s say Sarah does the right things:
–She eats a MBT approved meal before she goes to the mall so she’s not hungry.
–She packs a healthy snack, in case she winds up spending more time there than expected.
Ah! I’m so proud!
Sarah is kicking butt shopping. She’s buying for everyone on her list one by one. This is after she deals with the nightmare of parking and all of the excitement that comes with it.
So already she might be on edge. (Maybe not though. Sarah might love going to the mall and all of the energy it has. I’m not sure.)
Regardless, she’s f.o.c.u.s.e.d…
She’s crossing things off her list one by one. “Hmm, would he like this?” “Hey sir, can I hold this shirt up to you. Yeah, he’s about that size. Perfect. It’ll work!”
After a little while of this, she decides to go to another store but first she’s lucky enough to pass the intoxicating smell of all sorts of fat, sugar and salt filling the air on the way to the next store…
Immediately, these smells and sights trigger memories and feelings. They trigger feelings of calmness, peace, tastiness, and ultimately, pleasure.
But she’s not hungry! She already ate and she has work to do.
“Focus Sarah! Lots of people to buy gifts for!” she says to herself.
She gets back into it.
She goes into the next store looking for the perfect gift for the next person on her list. “I have no idea if she’ll like this but I think it looks kinda cool. Eh, not sure….Ah, this is it. She’ll love this!”
After this song and dance for about 45 minutes, it’s time to venture back out into the mall.
This time, she’s a tad agitated, tired, and stressed. As much fun as it is to shop for others, it’s starting to become a little annoying.
And this time she passes the hot dog place. “Oh, I love hot dogs,” Sarah thinks to herself.
“No, I don’t want this!” “Ugh, it looks and smells so good.” “I know I’m going to regret eating it.” “Fine, let’s just take a look at the menu. But you’re not getting anything!” “I don’t want this, I’m not even hungry!”
“Hi, can I have a hot dog and fries please?”
DJ TURN THE MUSIC OFF!!!
Rrrrrr – this is when the record comes to a screeching halt.
As soon we realize we’re having this negotiation with ourselves, it’s time to think about something else. Very rarely does our long term, rational mind win a negotiation.
As soon as we’re about to negotiate with ourselves, change the channel. Focus on something else. Go to Sharper Image and sit in one of their amazing massage chairs and focus on that.
This is also at the height of the discomfort I often talk and write about. We’re in battle baby. In the midst of a strong urge. But it’s important to remember it will pass on by. Like clouds, they always do.
The best way to get through it as quickly as possible is to focus on something else as intensely as we do on the urge.
THE REAL REASON WHY YOU WANT TO INDULGE
Whether it’s at the mall, work, party, or home…
The underlying challenge is that is we feel entitled to reward ourselves because we’ve been working so hard for everyone else. “What about me?!”
Or maybe you’ve just been working so damn hard…
As a parent.
Here in lies the real reason:
We view food as a reward for all of our hard work.
Sure, the dopamine squirt we get from eating sugar, salt and fat is pleasurable. Sometimes, it might even feel like pure bliss.
Unfortunately, though, it’s extremely fleeting. It literally goes away the moment we’re done eating it. And then all sorts of negative feelings come into play.
So how else can Sarah reward herself?
Here are five ideas for her to use next time:
1. On the way home she can stop and get a massage or her nails done.
2. She can buy herself something as well. But only once she’s done buying for everyone else.
3. She can buy that book/magazine she’s been wanting to read.
4. She can indulge on healthy food. Why not stop at a healthy place and pick up food? (It’s fascinating how when we have a strong craving we don’t think twice about spending good money on junk food — yet, when we’re focused and on point, we question whether it’s worth spending good money on good food. More on this soon.)
5. She can watch one of her favorite shows and relax with a warm cup of tea later on.
Food is only food. It’s not our best friend. It’s not our worst enemy.
That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy food. Food is a pleasure. However, food isn’t a reward. Big difference.
HOW TO MAKE ANYONE UPSET…
Take away their rewards. If someone is used to getting rewarded with a gold star, and you suddenly take it away, they’ll get upset. Perhaps even cranky and edgy — especially, if that’s the only way they get rewarded.
If food is the only way you reward yourself the key question to answer is:
How else can you reward yourself?
This is only the tip if the iceberg when it comes to what you’ll learn as an MBT client. And that’s the key thing: Learning. Too many programs rely solely on willpower. That’s why they get harder with time. You’re ‘willing’ yourself to eat well, until you lose steam and just can’t take it anymore.
MBT helps you understand why you’re doing certain things. Because when you understand why, it’s a lot easier to change what you do. It teaches you how to change your relationship with food. It changes the way you think and react to food. It helps you develop habits that are sustainable. It changes your mindset. That’s why our clients are able to not only get into amazing shape, but stay in amazing shape.