You’d think that it would be difficult to just eat mindlessly without regard to what you are doing, but I know from personal experience that it is all too easy to eat and eat and eat without consciously paying attention to how much you are consuming.
Case in point: I was notorious for finishing off food from the bottom of chip bags, leftovers in the refrigerator and even the kid’s birthday and holiday candy. There were many occasions where John or my oldest daughter would say, “Where are the ______?” I’d exclaim that I had no idea when I was feeling particularly honest or just fudge the truth and say, “I threw them away because they were old.” Both would look at my skeptically, as even my 6 year old knew that the brownies I had just made the day before weren’t already old.
I also was terrible about sitting down to watch television or fold laundry with a bag or box of food in my lap. I’d rip open the box lid, uncrinkle the waxed paper surrounding the cookies or crackers and begin eating one after another. Sometimes I’d glance into the bag or box and be surprised by how little was left. Then I’d tell myself, “That’s it.” I’m done. But before I knew it, my hand would be back in the bag for more.
Time after time I was surprised that I had eaten so much food throughout the day. Mountains of cookies would disappear without a trace, except for chocolate crumbs on the carpet and another pound on the scale. I spent countless dollars trying to replace food that I shouldn’t have eaten and didn’t want John to find out about. If I realized I had eaten the two bags of sour cream ‘n onion potato chips, I’d load the kids into the car to buy two new bags before John got home so he wouldn’t think I was a pig.
You would think that I would have learned not to take the chip bag with me around the house, but no. I just carted the food with me, munching as I went, leaving crumbs like Hansel and Gretel.
When I tried good programs like Weight Watchers, the leaders talked about mindless eating. I’d nod my head in agreement with her wise words and then promptly forget them that evening before the television.
The time I finally lost weight was the time I got a good handle on the mindless eating. Sure, getting rid of the chips and not buying cookies helped – but what helped more was being aware of what I was doing. There were times when I would find myself munching on food without counting the cost. Instead of continuing to eat, I’d put the food away and remind myself I wasn’t hungry right then.
This time of year in particular, it is very easy to mindlessly eat. A handful of chips here or two or three pieces of candy there can add up to some serious calories when taken regularly over the whole season. I’m still wary of mindless eating, as it is such an easy habit to get into, and a difficult habit to break and keep broken.
How do you do at mindless eating? Is it harder this time of year? Diane