Why do you eat? For years, I ate for a variety of reasons including boredom, convenience, “because it’s noon,” and, once or twice, as a part of a challenge. None of these are reasons why we should eat, but too many times, they are the reasons why we do eat. Part of this journey includes learning to identify these spurious triggers and disarm them. I’m currently working on boredom.
On a typical work day, I have breakfast around 7:30 or 7:45 am. I don’t feel hungry again until 11:45 am or noon. After eating lunch, I usually feel hungry again around 3:00 pm, at which time I have a snack. If I get hungry before 6:00 pm, I’ll have one meal replacement at that time and another before 9:00 pm. If I get hungry after 6:00 pm, I’ll have two meal replacements at once. There’s plenty of food to satisfy me on a work day.
On a weekend, I usually wake up later than on most weekdays and have breakfast by 9:00 am. By 10:30 am, my stomach rumbles like I’m hungry. It’s not the thought of being hungry, but a physiological response. Consciously, I know that I have consumed the same amount of food that satisfied me yesterday, but somewhere along the way the message is lost. This often happens when I’m bored.
I’ve developed a couple of ways to handle this situation. First, I try to keep from getting bored. If it’s a nice day outside, I go walking. If it’s not a nice day, I’ll do some work for one of my classes or research and write a blog post. When I was a kid, I learned never to tell my grandfather that I was bored. Now, when my body tells me it’s bored, I go do something productive. It’s impossible to clean the toilet too frequently.
On days that I can’t distract the hunger, I eat earlier than usual. More times than not, it all works out by the end of the day. Instead of having two meal replacements for dinner, I’ll just have one. If you’re up to fruits and vegetables, baby carrots make a great healthy snack. When possible, I work to overcome the trigger rather than eat in response to it. I’m still working on it, and I imagine I always will be.