Impulse eating is described as eating in reaction to an emotion or a situation. It happens quickly, sometimes feeling almost violent and is often very mindless. Impulse eating can be in any amount and happen at any time. You may end up in a full blown binge, or just realize you finished an entire box of crackers without noticing.
You might be an impulsive eater if you’ve ever experienced something similar to one of these situations:
- You’re on the phone with someone who is upsetting you or stressing you out and before you know it you’re head first in the refrigerator looking for something to eat.
- You just received a stressful email and immediately head to the break room or office candy bowl to get something to eat.
- You’ve responded to bad news by turning in to a fast food drive through or 7-11 (or yet again head for the fridge).
- You’re disappointed by someone or some thing and without thinking grab the nearest food item you can find.
These situations may be described as or even sound like hunger to your brain if you don’t take a few moments to pause and figure out what’s going on. Here are some tips I use for how to decrease the frequency or the volume of impulse eating:
- Recognize your most vulnerable times: do you impulse eat when you’re tired? At work? Perhaps it happens when you encounter a certain person or environment.
- Set yourself up for success in advance by taking a minute to think about how you want to react in your most vulnerable times. When you’re feeling neutral, think about how you plan to respond when work gets stressful or the next time you’re upset by someone in a way that doesn’t require you to use food to cope.
- If you’re trying to change your relationship with food or trying to decrease your impulse eating, consider joining the Intuitive Eating Online Community for support and more information. It’s free to join and is “a safe and nurturing place, free from “diet talk”, “fat talk” and body-bashing.
To get started with personalized counseling contact me today. I can work with you in-person in the LA area or via Skype. Don’t wait or try another diet hoping it will be your magic answer. Real change requires tools, support and practice.