Hungry as a crock? Maybe, maybe not. As infants we knew when we were hungry. (So did our moms and dads, because we sure let them know it!) Over the years, however, many of us have lost touch with our hunger signals. Eating occasions have become motivated by other circumstances. We eat because we’re bored, stressed, depressed, to celebrate, to socialize or because an advertiser has lured us by way of a food advertisement. And our environment and way-of-life are no help when it comes to reviving our long-lost hunger cues. We eat when we get a chance (e.g. lunchtime at work, in-between appointments, before taking the kids to soccer or dance class). Also, food is ubiquitous, with “weapons of mass expansion” everywhere – fast food establishments/restaurants, vending machines, snack bars, etc.
Become re-acquainted with your hunger signals. Start at home, where you have control of the environment. If you are truly hungry that’s fine, get yourself something to eat. If you’re not, then why are you heading for the fridge or snack cabinet? If it’s boredom, find something to do. Hobbies distract us from food and keep us busy; even sedentary ones like reading. I find that if I’m proactively doing something, I’m focusing on that and not eating. I like playing the drums; this gives me something to focus on and it can definitely burn some calories, particularly when I’m playing to some hard rock! But television doesn’t count. It is not very proactive, plus there are the ubiquitous food commercials that tempt our taste buds. You get the idea. There’s a time and place for everything. We just need to be careful that eating doesn’t consume more of our time and consciousness than it needs to. And if you don’t want to eat those cookies, don’t bring them home. If someone else in the family brings them home, store them out of sight. Then put the fruit bowl front and center!