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Old 03-20-2014, 01:58 AM   #1
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Default Impulsive Eating

How do you curb impulsive eating? I'm realizing that this is a huge problem for me....When faced with food right in front of me, I'm often eating it before I realize that I am...Or I just don't have the willpower to NOT eat it...This happens in so many situations that I'm realizing it's either lack of willpower or impulsivity and I do think it's impulsiveness really...Because if I stop to THINK, I will almost always make a better choice (put it down, throw it away, walk away, decline the offer, make a healthier choice, etc)

One huge example is at my work, I prepare breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack for 50 kids daily and serve it so I'm exposed to ALOT of unhealthy (for me) choices...It's also available to staff so it's not like I'm eating food that I shouldn't be....Everyone eats with the kids...And I find myself just eating so much more than I would if I wasn't in that environment...because it's in my mouth before I even stop to think about it

Most of my life is very structured and I need it that way....I love to be busy, I love to multitask, and I love to be involved with lots of things going on...Sitting down and relaxing sounds like mental torture LOL....

So this probably is all fairly random because I don't have my thoughts sorted out...I've tried having gum in my mouth but I have texture issues with that...I've tried making sure I'm full and I've tried making sure I have healthy choices around...which mitigates some of the damage....but the biggest problem is just impulsively putting food in my mouth and resisting the smell of all the sugar and carbs that surround me

I do better when I'm not the person preparing and serving all of this daily but I'm often the only one that will get it done....*sigh*

Any ideas/suggestions on curbing this impulsivity is appreciated! Vitamins, supplements, anything that will help me slow down long enough to consistently make good choices....I don't know...I'm grasping at straws lol
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:45 AM   #2
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I know the problem! Accept that this happens, face up to it and make contingency plans. Sometimes we feel hungry when in fact, we are thirsty so have a big glass of water before you sit down with the kids. You know better than me which healthy choices to make, after all, you've lost a huge 50lbs already. Look how committed you are. This is a blip on the path to a new you. You can do it. If I had lost 50lbs I'd be doing cartwheels I would be so happy. Mind you, I'd fracture something for sure
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:26 AM   #3
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For me, calorie counting religiously. Every morsel that goes in my mouth gets logged on myfitnesspal, whether it's a full plate of food or a tiny goldfish cracker crumb. It makes me think before eating something about how I'm going to log it, if it's worth it, etc. Not perfect, but it has many times kept me from just finishing my son's lunch, etc.

Former maintainer, now losing again in 2014 after my second baby.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:29 AM   #4
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Since I started IE this compulsive feeling to eat comes much easier. It helps me stay in tune with what I want, rather than the external cues to eat. We cannot control those external cues, they will always be there which is a big problem in our society. So tuning in to my true hunger, I have learned to be a lot more relaxed around food and triggering situations.

"If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you are eating, when you've had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:38 AM   #5
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Well i am not sure i could cope with being around all that food all the time. I think i'd want to eat it.

I'd have to get another job.

I mean do you put drugs in the path of a recovering drug user.
Should smokers quitting hang around with others smoking.
Is it ok for recovering alcoholics to be at the pub.

I think you have an impossible situation and its beyond the ability of most of us i would think to ignore all that food if its the sort of stuff we love to eat.

So apart from making sure you have no appetite before you get near their food because you have already eaten plenty, and have mentally prepared yourself to not eat each and every time you have to work at it, i'd say the best advice i can think of is to ask your bosses to not have to do this job at all.

Negotiate a different job.

To enable me to be successful, i stay away from my tempting foods as much as possible. I don't walk down the sweets or ice-cream aisles at the supermarket, i turn away from any food that looks tempting as soon as i notice it. Of course i wouldn't dream of cooking a cake or biscuits of anything like that since I'm quitting it. I just make sure all that stuff is far away from be because its simply too tempting and i find being tempted painful. Its hard.

You have to be a very strong person or someone who just does not care for that sort of food to ignore it.

In your situation the only thing i can think of that would save me is to not have to work with the food at all.

There are no vitamins or supplements that would address the issue. There is no magic bullet.

Last edited by Pattience; 03-20-2014 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
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I was going to suggest gum, but you've tried it! How about strong mints (like altoids sugar free) while you're feeling at risk for eating. I tend to do that when I'm afraid I'll pick at something in front of me. Serve your plate with your appropriate portions, then take your plate away from the serving line to eat. When it's done, have more mints.

It sounds silly, but I swear it works well.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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I work with a lady who brushes her teeth several times a day. It curbs her desire to eat all the food and candy in our workplace environment. Just an idea?
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:00 AM   #8
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I understand completely, as I work in a deli/bakery in the winter, and am a pastry baker in the summer. I understand also that changing your job is not simply a choice sometimes.

Somehow we have to get a grip. I know you have identified the problem, you do know that it helps to not be hungry at the time, and to have your own food/snacks available. I read somewhere here yesterday, someone suggested balling your hands into fists for even 10 seconds and breathing, to help pass that impulsive moment. I haven't tried that yet, I have to go back to work tomorrow so I will have to try it then

THe previous owners of the store did NOT allow employees to eat/taste anything, and I used that, along with pretending that there were hidden cameras watching me, LOL, to never eat anything while working there. Unfortunately the current owners leave me alone all the time, unsupervised around the cookies, and with my resentment towards them, I dive in.

Probably others will suggest some kind of countering action, either physical (the fists; deep breathing; just hold off for one minute; glass of water) or mental images, and positive thoughts, at the moment of impulse.

Please let me know what works, I need it for me too
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:37 PM   #9
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I try and take a multivitamin everyday, the one I'm taking now is Alive 50+, it doesn't bother my stomach as some do, they also have for under 50s

It's an interesting topic you bring up. I've been there not even realizing until after I ate something that I ate it. I've done most if not all of the things suggested, they all have benefits. I tell myself that's not mine or that isn't for me, that helps and thinking about germs on the baked goods that are left out in our snack area definitely helps me .

It's not easy, especially if your a multitasker, intuitive eating or mindful eating is going to be harder to manage, but can be done if you can teach yourself to take a break from the whirlwind for the 15 minutes or so that you actually sit down to eat .

If you're a rule follower, you could make some rules, like no eating while standing up or that you have to put it on a plate, no eating out of a napkin or your hand.

I wish you the best of luck with your challenge, you're a strong woman, you'll conquer this demon
If I'm not willing to put in any more work, then I have to be satisfied with the results I've achieved. If I'm not satisfied with the results I've acheived I have to put in more work. - Kaplods

Thanks to Diana and GardenerJoy for threads that keep me going month after month!

Success leaves clues, look at what the people you admire are doing to succeed.

Quitting does not get you closer to your goals. Do not quit - adapt

Last edited by kelijpa; 03-20-2014 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:45 PM   #10
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I like the idea of the strong mints. My DH has diabetes but he continues to eat sweets. I cannot have sweets in the house that I like because I cannot be trusted. But, I have convinced myself that his sweets are toxic. His sweets are no more toxic than the stuff that I like, but having this in my mind has helped me to stay away from his foods.

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I started my most recent weight loss journey January 2008.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:52 PM   #11
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I think you've already taken the first step which is to diagnose that snack time at work is a problem for you. For me I have to separate the "want to eat" presented to me from external cues and true hunger. There is a book called "Brain Over Binge" that has helped me separate the impulsive thoughts about eating that are generated from the more primitive parts of the brain. Remember that no one, not even your brain, is forcing you to eat. You are making those choices based on a variety of factors. Acknowledge that you want to eat the snacks because they are there but that you are choosing not to.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” - Nelson Mandela
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Diana3271 View Post
I like the idea of the strong mints. My DH has diabetes but he continues to eat sweets. I cannot have sweets in the house that I like because I cannot be trusted. But, I have convinced myself that his sweets are toxic. His sweets are no more toxic than the stuff that I like, but having this in my mind has helped me to stay away from his foods.
If his are the sugar free "artificial sweetener" kind, then to me you're right to view them as toxic! I don't trust artificial sweeteners.
"Giving up because of one setback is like slashing your other 3 tires because you got a flat."
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:15 PM   #13
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What you're describing seems like a habit. You've done the first step to address it: recognizing the problem. IMHO, you're just going to have to white-knuckle it for a few weeks. Keep saying "NO" when you start to put something into your mouth. Sometimes, I like to pretend that I'm a "naturally thin" person (i.e., a person who isn't as compulsive about food as I am). When I adopt that persona, I find it easier to resist. After all, "naturally thin" people do not pick up food every five seconds as they're cooking and/or preparing it, right? So, you---the naturally thin "you," that is---won't do it either. It may seem silly, but it has often worked for me. You need to try whatever strategy you can until you break that habit of eating while you're preparing. Consider the food off-limits----as in, it doesn't "belong" to you. It's not an option to eat it. After you establish the habit of not eating while working, it will eventually become second nature.
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
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I hear ya. Last year I gained many pounds eating compulsively. I am working on turning that around. I find that if I plan out all of my food for the day, and then bring with me what I am going to eat, it is easier to stick to a plan. I simply say to myself, "this is what I am going to eat today, nothing else". So far it is working.

Also, I know that I compulsively eat due to anxiety. I am simply not allowing myself to use anxiety as an excuse for compulsive over eating. It is not easy, but just like an alcoholic has compulsions and can't act on them, I can't use food.

Good luck. Now that you realize what you have been doing, you can figure out a strategy.
My goal for 2014 is Fifty Pounds in Fifty Weeks began Christmas 2013
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:43 PM   #15
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Why don't you cover your mouth with a hygiene mask when you're working in the kitchen preparing food for the children?

That way, you kill 2 birds with one stone - nothing goes into your mouth and nothing comes out of it into the food. [Not being offensive but simply a practical and hygienic thing to do].
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