No Fast Food Challenge Days #9 and #10 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No Fast Food Challenge Days #9 and #10

We're wrapping up the end of the challenge today. We combined days because we didn't post on Sunday and got a day behind. One of the other bad habits I had that often caused me to slip up is boredom. According to Dr. Susan Carnell in Psychology Today,

Eating out of boredom, on the other hand, is generally pointless. It almost always happens when we're not in physiological need of food, there's usually something much more useful we could be getting on with, and after the first couple of bites it's not even that satisfying as we weren't really hungry in the first place.

So why do we do it? At the risk of demonizing one of my favorite neurotransmitters, I'm going to go ahead and level my accusation at dopamine. Neuroscientists are still figuring out what this clever little chemical messenger does, but current thinking is that it's crucial to the experience of motivation and drive.
no fast food challenge
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Probably my worst offenses have been during that down time, when I would drop off the kids for a lesson and have to wait until it was over. If my daughter had a music lesson, I'd grab something from a fast food drive through while I was waiting. It wasn't logical to want something to eat at 3 PM, it was just a way to fill the time I was waiting.

A much stronger strategy would again be to plan ahead for that down time. Bring a book to read, know where you can take a walk during that time, catch up on phone calls. Anything to fill that time with activity so you won't be tempted to eat. I even have done knitting, but honestly, I no longer have anyone left who needs more scarves, myself included. Time on your hands need not mean food in your mouth.

The second part of this challenge is boredom at home, which I combat in two ways. I brush my teeth because food always tastes funny when your teeth are freshly brushed or I play with my dog, who seems to have boundless energy. And frankly, at least in my house, there is not a lot of boredom. There is always laundry to fold or something to clean. I try to reward myself by turning up music only I like or putting the television on a show that only I like. (I have an irrational fondness for reality television, instead of junk food, it's junk programming).  

Lastly, learn to allow boredom or as I prefer to think, silence, into your world. Allow quiet time to exist. Embrace opportunities to stop and reflect. We are a busy world and sometimes busy-ness leads to mindlessness. Practice mindfulness in all activities and before long, you'll be filling your inner self with satisfaction that has nothing to do with putting unhealthy food into your body.

How've you done? Did you take the challenge? Do you have new strategies for avoiding fast food binges?
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