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The Ritual of Eating

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

So after doing SO GREAT while traveling, I get home and struggle. It's still the evening stuff. I have had the habit of waiting until my hubby goes and gets a snack, because my thought is that it must be "normal" to snack at that time since he is. He would notice "what" I'm eating since I have told him the things I try to stay away from. But he doesn't pay attention to how much I'm eating, so I can happily throw back way more than I should if I desire. For some reason, I DESIRE that stuff around 7:00 pm. So as always, I think about it....

I decided that I'm dealing more with the RITUAL of eating, than the actual eating. For me, that's primarily about an established routine, a habit. I think the reason I'm NOT having an issue while I'm on the road is because from the gate, I established a routine of having a portion-controlled, healthy snack at the evening time. I also DON'T take anything to the room that I know is one of those "trigger" foods. It's working. At home, I've already established the routine of eating different, so I'm REALLY noticing it since I have something else to measure it by now. I've identified some "rituals":

1. I like certain foods more than others. Well, duh....but it's not just about the taste. It's about how it feels in my mouth or even how it "pings" off certain places in my tongue. No lie. Things with ranch flavoring do that. Creamy things like cream cheese (or any kind of "cheesy" sauce) do that. Chips or any kind of "crunchy" (even if it's a healthy choice - it can make me want the whole bag) do that. I could be really starving and I'd never binge on corn on the cob (even though I really like the taste) or even a key lime pie. They just don't have that "mouth satisfaction" that I so crave.

2. I like to eat alone. Yep...still. It's for a few reasons. The first was always because I could eat as much as I want and no one would see. Now, even if I'm eating a controlled portion, I still have the thought that "they are going to THINK I'm overeating" even if I'm not. Or they are going to THINK why is she eating that? that much? etc. I also still like to "pair" it with watching a movie, reading a book, etc. It's the "zone out" effect - the numbing I've done all my life to escape.... well, ME, I guess.

So in thinking about those things, I think the most important thing is to ESTABLISH NEW RITUALS. That's hard to do in the same environment where you already hard-wired yourself to behave a certain way. I'll have to do it the same way I already established my other habits. Lord knows I NEVER in a million years thought I'd be a regular exerciser! But here I am. I can do this.

One thing I did yesterday was preparing breakfast. I was making a small bagel with cream cheese. My "ritual" has always been to slather on a ton of butter even before I put on the cream cheese. Yep, it's mouth joy. But yesterday I put just a tiny bit on one side only, and then I put on the cream cheese. I told my silly brain, "See, it's OK. Eat the side without butter first. Then you'll get the side with butter. No, it's not as much as you usually have, but see? It's there and you'll be able to feel it." Not taste it, FEEL it. I think it's important that I know the difference. Guess what? It worked. I enjoyed the bagel just as much as I ever would, and I enjoyed the feeling of control even more! I have to be MINDFUL as I eat, to figure out all the rituals in my head and counteract them. I'm going to emulate what I do on the road and get some sugar free cookies and portion them out for my evening snack.

Now to figure out why the heck I have these rituals... but until then, I'm going to learn new ones. It's a constant process of learning and changing. But isn't that what life is all about anyway? Have a great day everyone!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MAYIE53
    Wow, you really think things through. I still just shovel or alternately, deprive myself. No routine. No balance. Sometimes go without eating until I feel/hear my stomach growling. And by then anything will do. I know it isn't healthy but for now it's where I'm at.
    You have got this!
    723 days ago
    Your last sentence regarding changing habits is the key for all of us. If we want better health we have to change some "less than perfect" habits. You are doing great! emoticon
    724 days ago
    I've been able to make some wonderful changes to my eating habits over the years, but there are some die hard ones that instead of coming up with 'new' habits to replace those... do better with just a tweak. Enough to make a difference but not too much that my mouth or tongue wants to rebel. I wish us both a successful journey in establishing new rituals and congrats on exercising regularly... something that I also need to 'reestablish' in my life.
    725 days ago
    You are doing an awesome job of analyzing things so you can establish new, healthy rituals! Good for you.
    725 days ago
    725 days ago
    Changing habits takes a long time.
    It is a complex process as you have described.
    I still eat more than necessary in the evenings only my food choices have changed to apples, pawpaw or berries.
    While that is significant progress it still bugs me that evening eating is still a habit that I struggle to change. if my food choices become poor ones then i am setting myself up for weight gain.
    I have identified that this eating pattern goes back to my childhood when I comfort ate during a sustained period of bullying.
    The bullying finished long ago but the behaviour is still with me!
    So glad you have identified that the mouthfeel of food is your pay off.
    Totally agree with you that understanding the why behind the action and that mindful eating are essential for addressing evening eating behaviours.
    emoticon emoticon
    725 days ago
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