I’ve noticed that with the holidays coming at us, magazines are publishing articles about how to stop or get to “the root” of mindless snacking, or what some writers these days call “unconscious” snacking.
I’ve been out of the diet loop for years, but if there is something I STILL DO these days…it is mindless snacking. Basically, I don’t always eat mindfully and that’s ok. But I do have so many other things I DO besides “mindless snacking” now that food lost its power in my life, now that my weight has stabilized to a weight that is easy for me to sustain without dieting, restricting, or messing with my metabolism and my brain, and now that I have sanity around food.
My point is that not always eating mindfully is perfectly normal. That’s one of the things that happen when you stop thinking in black or white around food.
The problems really begin we we start judging these eating behaviors and wanting to get to “the root” of them.
The problems begin when we believe we are damaged emotionally just because we might snack while riding the subway or while standing up, or while relaxing with the T.V on, or while doing lunch coverage with 5th graders (my life!! heh).
I’m not saying that “mindless snacking” is the best way to eat, at all. I’m saying that life is full of imperfect behaviors around food, and the less power we give it by making it a non-issue, the sooner we might find broader coping tools besides “mindless snacking.”
De-brainwashing ourselves from years of diet mentality is a practice.
It’s a practice of de-brainwashing ourselves also, from perfectionism and false hopes of control. Life is full of imperfect choices and imperfect meals. As we separate those choices and behaviors from our own toxic diet thoughts, we stand a chance of food NOT having power over us. We stand a chance of reconnecting to our intuitive wants and desires around food AND life again, and that’s a pretty liberating process.
It’s time to look at certain food behaviors such as “unconscious snacking” as something that isn’t good or bad. It’s just snacking.
The problem begins when, for example, we are snacking and while at it keep thinking…
“this is bad,”
“why can’t I control myself around food!”
“I’ll stop snacking tomorrow and get on a structured food plan,”
Those are the thoughts that might trigger even more emotional eating, over-eating, or a binge in the long run. Because these thoughts put us in “last supper mentality” and we enter a state of scarcity mentality around food were “we better grab it now before it’s gone!”
“Normal” eaters on the other hand, (people who eat what they like, stop when they are full, and move on with life without thinking about food much) snack unconsciously all the time and because they don’t attach judgements to what they eat or their food behaviors, they can stop eating when they feel full, and move on with the next thing.
So, you find yourself judging certain food behaviors…What to do instead?
I DON’T recommend eliminating all snacks from your life just so that you can feel “in control,” because this unconsciously puts us in “scarcity mentality” around food, and we might develop a tunnel focused mentality were all we think about is what has been taken away from us ( in this case, the snacks). This mentality can invite even more snacking and emotional eating in the long run.
Try and work on being less judgmental around food behaviors, and add more real foods and whole, healthy snacks to our daily routine. The emotional eating and “mindless snacking” goes away or stops being a problem as the food issues begin to heal.