Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Munchies

Often, when I am home and the kids are in school, I get a mad case of the munchies. It happens in the evenings, too. I used to get BAD cravings and pace around looking in the cabinets wanting to eat. I used to whip up batches of cookie dough, eat half, then bake the rest and eat half of THOSE before setting aside 2 or 3 for each kid (so generous of me).

These days, I'm more likely to grab a light string cheese or some sugar free jello, but I still get the munchies. I'm not *hungry* and not even really craving anything. I just feel like eating. I finish lunch, am satisfied, but my mouth wants more fun and games. I drink a diet soda, but I still feel like I want something else. I end up eating random things that are low cal and on plan, like a dill pickle spear, a bit of light cheese, a celery stalk with light peanut butter. And I just keep wanting.

The munchies are really just a symptom of boredom or avoidance, for me. When I start doing that, it means I have *stuff* I should be doing (maybe laundry, phone calls, paperwork, or cleaning) but I don't really want to do it. It doesn't have to be done *tomorrow* so I put it off. It happens often. It's a shadow of my past behaviors, when I used to procrastinate to the point of trying to write a 10 page research paper the day before it's due or waiting until an hour before company is coming to frantically vacuum and mop and dust. I have always done that... put things off til the last minute. Not a great habit, I know. And now that I am older I don't have the energy to stay up all night doing the taxes on April 14th or to dash around cleaning and organizing and fixing stuff all day before visitors come. I really have to do things ahead.

But yet, there's that stuff that doesn't seem urgent and I don't feel like doing it, so instead, I wander the kitchen in search of taste bud entertainment. Bad habit.

I want to change that behavior, but in the past my lists of "things to do instead of eating" went all things that made me groan and roll my eyes. So now I am finding things I enjoy that might even feel a bit indulgent that I can do to entertain myself or relax or whatever when I am in avoidance mode. (That's part of the process for me; moving back the time frame in which I actually *do* things that need to be done is another thing I am working on, but avoidance mode is almost a default mode for me sometimes, so I want to use something other than food as avoidance. Even if it is watching mindless TV for 30 minutes.)

I think the little stuff we do to change our behaviors adds up. Over time I will eliminate the behaviors I don't like from my life and add in more productive and healthy ones.

And now, instead of eating another pickle spear, I am going to try and finish setting up those weights in my new home gym!

26 comments:

D. said...

This happens to me constantly now. It's been driving me mad. I'm trying to clean instead, or work in extra credit stuff for school to avoid eating. So far it's worked, but the stupid cravings are being particularly annoying this week.

Lanie Painie said...

GET OUTTA MY HEAD, woman! If you figure out how to get some self-discipline in this respect let me know. I've been considering FLYlady.net again but . . .well, I'm skeeered!

Ginny Moffett said...

Have read you Blog for some time now and love your honesty and food ideas. I also am great at procrastination and putting jobs off until tomorrow or whenever, so I can empathize with you.
A thought, IF any foods, snacks or diet drinks you consume have High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS) or Spenda in them, they act in the body like a toxin and don't metabolize well. HFCS makes you hungrier after consuming, and you will never feel satisfied. It also damages the Liver and other organs. Spenda is chemically altered with clorine...and is only ONE molecule of sugar. Some people have severe reactions to it. You can Google the dangers of Spenda. Regular sugar is better than that stuff,... or use Stevia, honey, maple syrup, or molasses. The artificial sweetners are basically poison to the system.

Liway said...

Wow Lyn...you've given me another AHA moment!! This is what I'm talking about!!! :) I always do this too - but never really put two and two together and realized I was filling my face by putting off doing the stuff I "should" be doing (but can wait till tomorrow!!) UGH!!! TOTAL LIGHTBULB MOMENT HERE!! Thank you!!! Oh...and the cookie dough thing....soooo me too...only I am too lazy to make it - so I just grab the Pilsbury already made stuff - or the frozen cookie dough from M&Ms. Yes, I know....so pathetic!! I'm working on it!! :)

The Fat Mom said...

I often wonder why does it seem that everytime I walk into the kitchen, I feel like you must eat something. Anything within reach is game. I HATE that feeling. And everytime I rationally know that I'm not hungry or could be doing something else....I still stuff something in my mouth. Oh the joys!

I hope you overcome the munchies! And if you do, please tell your secret!

Splurgie said...

"I just feel like eating. I finish lunch, am satisfied, but my mouth wants more fun and games."

I love the way you phrased that. That's how I feel at the end of every meal. Walking away or turning down more is like a muscle. The more you do it, the more second nature it becomes.

Bonnie said...

Oh, I am sooo guilty of doing this too! I have a stationary bike that I sat right near the kitchen. My goal is to hop on it for just a couple minutes at least to get rid of the urge to graze. If I'm trying to avoid doing something it relieves the tension and gives me some energy to tackle the task.

Jennifer said...

L-O-V-E Bonnie's graze avoidance strategy. I know that when I exercise, I feel like I need healthy food for performance. Instead, this week I chose chocolate and cursed every last morsel tonight while I was huffing and puffing my way through my workout. Ok, mire like gasping for air and hoping I survive it. Good Luck to you! Your blog is in my top 2!! Love your writings.

theantijared said...

I do enjoy a pickle!

Steelers6 said...

I have tried to sip water when I feel all munchy munch..like I just want to eat mindlessly while I read or something. Sometimes it helps...
=)

Chrissy

Reitmans Fat Girl said...

thanks for getting me out of my slump! I really, really appreciate it.

Diz said...

I'm the queen of the munchies...luckily I've found that popping in a piece of gum usually distracts me. Have you tried the new Extra dessert flavors? They're not the best- but it's a nice change from your typical spearmint or peppermint flavors. ;) Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Great post ! That´s the habit I am having too. And I hate it.
I hope you can have your new excercise room ready soon. That sounds like fun.

I Will Lay Down My Idols said...

Can you plan for some sort of extra calories in the evening? What makes me say that is that I'm a morning eater - I think about food a lot in the morning & want to eat. But craving stuff in the am somehow isn't as dangerous as in the pm (chips at 7am anyone??)...I tend to want real food in the am. But I've found that if I allow more calories at that time, it helps me. I wonder if you had more calories in the evening, if that would help? Of course, that being said, if it's not really HUNGER that's talking... :)
D

Dinah Soar said...

All of us who are masters at avoidance are also great with the excuses. We excuse our behavior and try to find solutions, skirting around the real issue.

Maybe we ought to administer some tough love to ourselves and say to self "cut the crap and get off your butt".

Being a mature adult means doing the things that fall to us and not behaving like children trying to get out of doing it.

We need to tell ourselves 'grow up'.

NewMe said...

You're not alone, my girl.

BTW, I love the expression "taste bud entertainment". If I use it, I'll definitely credit you!

Anonymous said...

For me, it goes far deeper than wanting a party in my mouth. It goes back to old conditioning, decades of conditioning.

So.

Now I observe the *hunger* or whatever it is, without judgement. I don't make it into my problem, or into an internal drama of any kind. It just is.

Soon, inevitably, I notice it is gone.

Sincerely,
Z.

Raych said...

I use gum. It doesn't help much with hunger, but when I know I'm not hungry and I just need to chew on something because I like it, I chew gum which has very few calories and is sugar-free and certain types are good for your teeth too :) My favorite is Orbit Spearmint. Unfortunately, it contains aspartame, but I'm fairly certain it's in very small amounts. And let's face it: most of the diet stuff we eat contains some sort of aspartame or phenylalanine.

Raych said...

Oh, also, I saw a comment about the dangers of Splenda somewhere up there. And here's my personal opinion. There have only been 6 studies done on Splenda and not a single one has proven actual human toxicity. Some people have bad reactions to it, yes. But many people have bad reactions to peanuts. Allergies. Everyone's body reacts differently to things. I have been using Splenda for six years and despite being 200 lbs because I didn't exercise enough and ate too many carbs, I am otherwise very healthy. Being overweight isn't good for you either and sugar contributes to that.

Sorry for the rant! Hope some of my stuff helps.

Princess Dieter said...

Just to say I was browsing Amazon and came across a book that reminded me of some of the stuff you've written since getting into your lower numbers:

http://www.amazon.com/Joining-Thin-Club-Trimmed-ebook/dp/B001PSEQ7E/ref=sr_1_54?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1285879008&sr=1-54

Wishing you a beautifully healthy day, babe. Onward!

Claire said...

Man, I could have written those words EXACTLY! I was out doing errands today, came home, took out a piece of sourdough, buttered it and started eating. I set it down and said to my kids, "I am not at all hungry, but for some reason whenever I come home from somewhere, I want to eat." I took one bite and threw the rest away. A few minutes later, I was dipping into the pita chips and hummus. I stopped myself again, and got busy doing the things I had to do.

Reading "Breaking Free from Emotional Eating" by Geneen Roth is really helping me be cognizant of these habits I've developed over the years. I actually think instead of just eat!

screwdestiny said...

I could have written this post, just not as well. Bored eating has been the only problem I've ever had with eating, but it's kind of a big one! I'm much better at avoiding it now, but that's not to say I don't still think, "I'm bored, I could go for some food right now." And yes, I'm usually avoiding actually stuff I should be doing as well. If I insist on still being lazy but don't want to eat, I'll usually do something like read or take a bubble bath. I don't like to eat while doing either of those things, so it works. :)

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog for a very long time... Now that you're feeling great about yourself and you're looking awesome, it would be nice for you to be able to get out there and have a social life filled with good friends. you deserve it! best, Patti

Low Carb Daily said...

Thanks for helping me realize that I do this too!

Stephanie Hill said...

One thing that helps me avoid the munchies is sugar free chewing gum. I often pop it into my mouth after I finish a light meal. It makes my body think I've eaten more.

Babycakes said...

Great idea from some of the commenters, chewing gum, had never thought of that