I work full time 42h+ and an studying my masters and I find that I compulsively go to the cupboard for snacks. Its not because I am hungry in any way. It is totally do with procrastination and stress with my workload. I have to study almost all of the time that I am not working or training. I will even snack if I am already full.
Has anyone else overcome mental snack related eating disorder or MSRED for short?
Update - The food I snack on doesn't have to be snack food, I will eat anything. All the food in my house is healthy, so it's not really too much of a problem from a health perspective, more a self control issue. Snacks = anything edible. Its not about the food, it's the distraction from working.
When I found myself gravitating toward the fridge in such situations, I used to drop down and pump out 10 push ups, go to the sink have a big glass of water and get back to it, funny how that takes your mind off whatever urge was propelling you towards the fridge.
sit ups, squats, burpees, divebomber etc also, do the trick.
This isn't exactly the answer to your problem but I found it very interesting when I learned about stress. When you are under stress, your prefrontal cortex becomes deactivated (the degree of which depends on how much stress you are under). Your prefrontal cortex is basically the responsible part of your brain (the part that tells you not to eat a whole cake, take showers, wash your clothes, etc. things that aren't necessary for survival). In a stress situation (this would be something like encountering a predator) your prefrontal cortex is not only unnecessary, but it might even get in the way of acting effectively, so all of your energy is shifted away from your prefrontal cortex (and your digestive system, too). So when you find yourself lacking will to not eat unhealthy foods or to stop eating and you're in a stressful situation, it's because the "willpower" part of your brain is essentially deactivated (at least to some extent, depending on how stressed you are of course).
Food also acts as a drug (functioning likely as an antidepressant).
I used to do the same. My solution? Don’t buy anything snackable. First off, eat everything snackable in your cupboard over the next few weeks – it’ll save you money (versus throwing it out), but it’ll also make you feel like crap and realize why you can’t have snacks around. From then on, only buy foods that you have to cook as part of a meal. That way you can’t even be tempted to snack.
I have similar issues. I however cannot throw out all snack type things from my house, since I have athletic children at home who need these things. I have found that L gutamine (1000mg 2x a day) is very helpful with the anxiousness and controls the cravings quite a bit.
Take the words, "I am not hungry" in large bold letters and print onto a full sheet of paper. Tape onto fridge / pantry / &tc.
It gives you at least a jolt into mindfulness that might make you turn around and walk away.
[I have to put a "step away from the almonds" sticker on my jar of them. I know they're relatively healthy but they can turn into a comlpete domino food if I let them.]
This is going to require some discipline for a few weeks as you retrain yourself to feel the difference between hunger and other emotions such as boredom. Grabbing a glass of water and knocking out some pushups, sit ups, or air squats is a great way to refocus your attention. It's much easier to focus your energy towards something else then to try to not think about eating.
The other suggestion I have for you is to set specific meal times. If you set rules for yourself where you can only eat 2 or 3 times a day at specific times then this should help retrain your mind to stop thinking about food. It's somewhat antipaleo to set specific meal times but it sounds like this will be a necessary step to let your mind focus on other tasks when it's not time to eat.
I used to be a compulsive eater and still am due to work stress. I'm abstinent right now BUT back in the day, I'd do a lot of snacking. It evolved into chewing and spitting out of the junk foods that helped me to cope with stress and depression. It wasn't really coping though. It made things worse in the long run. I would suggest trying EFT, emotional freedom technique in addition to the exercise diversions. Also, consider reading some overeater's anonymous material. You sound really overwhelmed and perhaps have too many irons in the fire.
Well the good news is that you are grabbing for healthy foods, but the bad news is that you need to catch yourself and stop yourself in the act.
I also catch myself doing the same thing occasionally, it's definitely a bad habit, but the first step is noticing it, this helps to change it.
Eat something with high fat, I tend to go for avocado with some evoo and Dijon. If that doesn't do it, I have frozen servings of primal muffins, Lara bars, chocolate bars. Give yourself the chance to get full from the fat, and stop there, hopefully that's enough. If not, I'd prepare a full meal and make yourself eat it until full. Retraining yourself to eat a meal.
I solved this problem with roast beef and provolone. It was my only snack. And you just can't eat too much of this combination. The general takeaway is probably that snacking with high fat high protein foods is the best way to stop yourself from more snacking.
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